The point Davis makes about Elizabeth Martinez’s stance on immigrant and refugee rights since the 1980s caught my attention. The idea that since the 1980s there has been a surge of neoliberalism that complicates racism is fascinating because neoliberalism directly draws on the works of Locke and Adam Smith, both of whom championed free will and individual choice. However, Davis makes the point that reducing regulation and government expenditure hurts minorities. Moreover, these tenets of neoliberalism make the incorrect assumption that free-will and good-nature alone can untangle us from our unsavory racist history. So the things Locke and other Classical Liberals would believe in can actually work as a part of the systemic racism that Davis points out in a world after explicit government endorsement of racism. With this, Davis shows a compelling intersectional viewpoint that strengthens her argument: racism is still present in institutions despite the end of the civil rights era.
I would like to place Davis on a panel with Locke and Marx as I believe they represent an interesting continuum of thought from Classically Liberal to Progressive and Egalitarian.
- What is race? What is class? And what role do they play in society?
- Is human nature inherently benevolent?
- What action (if any) must be taken in the face of an unjust government or other institution?