I’ve always thought that conservatives should simply bite the bullet and admit that there are racists among self-described conservatives, and moreover, that these conservatives’ racism is an evitable (that is, unwarranted) extension of the mainstream conservative position on race. But this is true in the same way it is true that there are communists among self-described liberals, and that their communism is an evitable (that is, unwarranted) extension of the mainstream liberal position on political economy. To put this even more forcefully, we have to yield that there is something to it when liberal trolls snark about how tough it can be to distinguish a conservative from a racist. The fact is that both conservatives and racists think that considerations about race should play a much smaller part in our political discourse.
As a person with what I believe to be deep conservative sympathies, I read something like this and think, Well, I guess I’m not a conservative at all, then. In what sense, and for what reasons, is it intrinsic to conservatism to believe that “considerations about race should play a much smaller part in out political discourse”? What’s conservative about that view? Notice that Foster is not even saying that conservatives have to hold a particular view about race, only a view about how much race is discussed. Are we not supposed to discuss it very much because racism is not and never has been a big problem in America? Or because racism used to be a big problem but now it has been effectively solved? Or what? Someone please explain to me what makes talking about race in America incompatible with conservatism.