Yes, there is a solution, but the race hustlers of the left would never consider it, because it would put them out of business overnight.
To paraphrase someone, you can't expect the tenured to understand something when their whole livelihood depends on not understanding it -- in this case, a rudimentary grasp of the Golden Rule: I don't want to be reduced to a racial stereotype, therefore I don't depersonalize others in that manner.
Persons are persons, not races. They are, however, male or female. Note that, as usual, the left has it precisely backward and upside-down: they want us to pretend race is of critical importance while denying the cosmic significance of sexual differences. Indeed, the Supreme Court reads this twisted ideology into the Constitution.
Let's stipulate the formerly liberal (and always conservative) principle that a person is an individual and not a racial category. But what is a person?
Conveniently, I just finished a book on this very subject, The Selfhood of the Human Person. It started off very strong, but got a little tedious about midway through. It could have been half the length if the author had fully digested the subject instead of thinking out loud the whole time.
But I suppose that's the way it is with phenomenology. It can get more than a little.... flabby, since it is the opposite of abstract, reductive, aphoristic, etc. It gives you the whole existentialada, literally.
We prefer to look at things through the opposite end of the telescope, which is to say, principial, metaphysical, integral, and synthetic, while never ignoring the universal experience of any- and everyman in every time and place, AKA human nature. I suggest we flip through the book with this in mind, and try to subsume the raw phenomenology into our half-baked noumenology. Whatever that means.
Crosby follows the personalist tradition of John Paul II, which vindicates "that which makes man irreducible to the world." Obviously this flies in the face of all modern forms of scientistic reductionism, but also the postmodern pathologies that so cluelessly deny human nature and essence. You could say that modernism and postmodernism are just two sides of the same worthless metaphysical coin.
Which is not to say there is nothing worthwhile in science, only that it renders itself stupid when it elevates itself to a metaphysic. There is, however, nothing worthwhile in postmodernism, as it is in its essence a doctrine of idiocy when it isn't Satan's own worldview (yes, literally).
This post may be a little random. Or rather, continue to be random. Besides, I'm feeling a little fuzzy this morning, which makes it more challenging to slice through this like the proverbial hammer.
Some things are better seen and recognized when we are deprived of them. Who notices oxygen until we can't breath? Who could begin to understand time if we weren't constantly threatened by finitude?
Similarly, perhaps personhood comes better into focus when we are deprived of it. Why is life in Saudi Arabia or China or Iran or leftist campuses so awful? Because real personhood is not permitted. More ominously, why is our country lurching in this very direction, away from individual freedom and personhood toward leftist conformity, collectivism, and groupthink?
America is founded on the principle that a person is a Who and not a What -- an I and never an It. Lenin and Stalin were correct in reducing politics to the question of Who and Whom. The question is, who qets to be Who, and who is to be treated as a mere Whom, i.e., an object or means to an end? (Hint: all leftists think they will be a Who, and are always surprised when the mob comes for them.)
Note, for example, that rioters and looters are treated with great respect by the left as dignified Whos, while people who wish to protect themselves from rioters and looters -- e.g., the McCloskeys -- are Whoms to be destroyed by the media-state complex.
Am I reducing the mob to a Whom by calling them rioters and looters? Not at all, since I hold them fully responsible as persons for the rioting, looting, thuggery. Damn right they're persons! Now, treat them like it, good and hard. You'll find they won't like it.
Rather, they'll want to hide behind a Whom and say something to the effect that "race made me do it" (or variants such as "structural racism," "white privilege," etc.). I can't help it! I have no agency or free will! I'm depraved on account'a I'm deprived!
Good question: "what do we understand about persons when we understand the moral immaturity of those periods in history in which slavery was taken for granted? What do we understand about persons when we see slavery as radically depersonalizing?"
So easy to tear down statues of our founders, but why is slavery wrong? What are we recognizing when we recognize it as such?
No, we are not recognizing "the equality of races." Suppose science continues to mount evidence for the inequality of races -- for example, that Asian Americans and Ashkenazi Jews on average have higher IQs than Euro- or African-Amercans. Would this justify slavery?
No, because we are persons before we are statistical categories of general intelligence. Slavery is wrong because it is in the nature of a person to have property in himself. A person is his own end, and must never be treated as an object who only exists for the sake of another. Yes, China wants to enslave us, but it would be wrong no matter how many math and engineering majors they produce.
Nor is a person a mere part of a whole, whether it is a race, state, or tribe. Not to belabor the point, but this is why the disgusting ideology of identity politics is at antipodes to the American ideal:
there is no totality that can encompass a person in such a way as to relativize the totality that he or she is. Persons stand in themselves in such a way as to be absolute, that is, unsurpassable, unrelativizable totalities.
In short, a person can never be contained by anything lower than personhood. I'll buy that. But by virtue of what principle? Or relative to whom?
Correct: the divine person, more on whom tomorrow.