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Dennis Prager
Dennis Prager
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We Have a Moral Divide, Not a Racial One

Comment

As we await protests and riots scheduled for Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere if a grand jury in Missouri does not indict the white officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager, a little moral clarity is called for.

For decades now, we have been told that there is a black-white divide in America. The problem with this belief that is that it renders moral judgment — of white police, of black crime and black incarceration rates, of white judges and jurors, and of black riots and protests - impossible.

It is, we are told over and over, all about "perceptions" — a "black-white divide" in the way each race perceives racial matters. This is how it works:

Many blacks see racism almost everywhere — especially in arrest, conviction and incarceration rates, and in white police interactions with blacks. On the other hand, whites (specifically, whites who are not on the left) think that white racism has largely been conquered, and therefore blacks' disproportionately high arrest and conviction rates are the result of black behavior, particularly the high out-of-wedlock birth rate that has deprived the great majority of black children of fathers, not white racism.

According to the "black-white divide" way of thinking, these are simply two conflicting perceptions.

It is difficult to overstate how damaging this is.

It denies the very existence of the two pillars of civilization — objective truth and moral truth.

For every black and every white unwilling to condemn the protests over Michael Brown's killing that took place before any relevant facts came out — their half-hearted condemnation of the riots notwithstanding — truth doesn't matter. The protests, riots and liberal condemnations of the white officer began when no one knew anything about the killing.

There is, then, some validity to this notion of blacks and whites having different perceptions. But when the truth is knowable, one of the "perceptions" has to be wrong. Two distinct ethnic or cultural groups may have different perceptions of musical beauty or of what foods they like.

But this is not the case regarding truth, which is based on facts. In Ferguson, either the black (and left-wing whites') "perception" is not truth-based or the (non-Left) white (and black) "perception" isn't.

Once the facts comes out, we are no longer speaking of "perceptions." We are speaking of truth and falsehood.

The other victim of this "black-white divide" explanation is moral truth.

If the truth here accords with what the police officer said, he did not commit an immoral act when he shot Michael Brown. On the other hand, if he shot the young man for no good reason, he committed an immoral act.

But according to the it's-all-a-matter-of-perceptions view, there is no moral truth, only black perceptions and white perceptions.

This all accords with the left's views of truth and morality. Neither exists. Visit any university to confirm this.

The left is philosophically deconstructionist. Shakespeare doesn't say what he wrote, Shakespeare says what the reader perceives. The notion of "original intent" as applied to the Constitution is, to the left, farcical. We cannot know the original intent. It's all a matter of individual perception — or, more precisely, the perception of different socioeconomic classes, different genders and different races.

And, of course, for the left there is no moral truth. Morality is entirely subjective. "Good" and "evil" are individual or societal preferences. No more, no less.

Like truth, morality is just a perception, one determined by an individual's race, gender, and/or class. That is why, for the left, no man can judge any abortion, no matter how late in pregnancy and no matter the reason — because men do not possess a uterus.

So who are you, white man, to condemn black protests? You have your perceptions and they have theirs. What you have to do is what the Los Angeles Times did during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, during which 53 people died as a result of black rioting — including 41 by shooting, four in fires, three by beating and two in stabbings. The Times titled its special section each day of the riots "Understanding the Riots."

So, if there are riots following the Ferguson's Grand Jury decision, we'll know how to behave: no judgment, just understanding. After all, there is no truth; there are only perceptions.

Dennis Prager's latest book, "Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph," was published by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.com.

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Comments

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Sir;...You are correct that there is no truth, at least from the perspective of right white part of the population. And if you want to talk morals, and you must since I am here to call you on it; you must say: whose. There is no over arching morality in the whole world. Look at the closeness of Ethics, to Ethnic. and you may immediately grasp my point. The Jews and Palestinian are both moral people, but morals are community, and determine ones relationship to ones community. If you want to try to blow a lot of sand in every ess in America about a common American morality, then I will call you on it as a lie.
There is a black community, not well defined, but sort of hard to escape. There is a white community which thinks its morality is above reproach, but it is false to its core. What many whites feel, they will tell you plainly. Many would not piss on a Black Man if he were on fire. And where I grew up, black people were very rare, and even as a child I heard whites say they hated Nickers. On what evidence? Don't you have to know your first one to hate them all?
There was enough contact with the outside world through military service, or work that some people got to know some black people, and on that slight knowledge judged them all, and they were happy to spread their prejudice as far as it would slide. That was before integration, and things haven't changes so much since. Familiarity can breed contempt; but the worst part about it is that there is not much serious attempt to bring the subculture of blacks into the larger white culture. White kids who are little inclined to respect their own culture can easily be sucked into black culture because it, like so many of them, is defiant. And it is always defiant to defend the value of your culture even when it is in many respects, defective.
There is a dominant white culture that is nearly homogenious. The black culture- which often is defiant- is not one culture, but many. Under the pressure of passage, of slavery, reconstruction, the northern exodus, the fight for equality and the resignation to inequality all have fractured the black community and multiplyed it cultures.
You have some republican opinionists who are black and nearly share the dominant white culture to the point of showing contempt of blacks. I personally hold a lot of contempt for black culture, but I only know some parts of black culture for comparison. I don't want to say black people are like a box of chocolates, but you never know what your have until you trouble to get to know them. Some are dangerous. Some are not. Some are sullen and some are not. Some against all odds are upbeat, and positive in their outlook, and some are not. Some are stupid, and some are well educated and more cultured than your average white person. Some are friendly, kind, giving, and trusting; and some will scare you right to death. If you say black community, you must specify which one- to begin to grasp their culture. I will tell you that the experience of the old and the adults in their lives certainly dispossess them to a certain prejudices against us, and I mean all of us.
If I can make it personal for you; I was not raised to be prejudiced. When my family lived lived Battle Creek, my father brought me to a black barber. There was back then before integration had taken hold a thriving middle class of blacks who served the needs of the black community. Later, and where I mostly grew up, the televised struggle for equality and integration struck my child eyes with violence. Some of the heroes of the black community became heroes to me as well. I stood in a very long line to bid Rosa Parks farewell, and I have her picture where I can see it now. Courage is essential to all human activity and I honor her courage. I am not saying I am not prejudiced. I am only saying I am open to individual black people proving my doubts about them wrong.
I am sixty one, and have had an unique experience of blacks which might have been far different if I had lived nearer to them. I had one friend who had a paper route in Detroit. The blacks laid for him on collection day, and they would corner him, and if he could not get away they would beat him silly. So he hates black people, and every single one of them. I have another friend who worked hard back breaking work all day to be screwed by Jewish people too many times, and he hates Jews, and wouldn't trust one of them. Blacks and Jews have their reasons to distrust us, and hate us too. Just because we think we whites are the cat's ass doesn't mean they have to agree with us. I can tell you how bad it was in my day in that place were blacks were seldom seen. Try to remember that I am a libertine, and what I want I also allow.
A fellow Ironworker once told me on a coffee break that the knife he was using to cut slices of cucumber killed two nickers. He proceeded to tell me how his uncle who was a middleweight boxer lived in the Carolinas and worked at a greasy spoon truck stop on the edge of town. And they had a big sign on the way into town saying Nicker, don't let the sun set on you here. And past midnight here come these two bucks into the restaraunt. And this cook running the place said: Didn't you nickers see that sign? And these two young men start sassing him, and he just reach over that counter and knocked out the first one, jumped the counter, and caught the second one at the door. He grabbed that man around his face and cut his throat. Then he cut the throat of the one laying knocked out. He called the owner who said: My God; what have you done! None the less she handed him the keys to her brand new Ford, and he stayed gone for a year. They gave all the credit for the deed to some stranger who stopped a hold up; but everybody knew. And now you know too. That was long before integration. Back in the late forties was before my time. The man was old, and not much of an ironworker. I can understand such people trying to preserve their social privilage. Those memories hold on in the black communities. Those memories are refreshed constantly. And; it is not only in the Courts that black people should have the presumption of innocence, but on the street, and they do not.
Do you not agree that laws should be a reflection of morality; because these officers are officers of the court? They are not to try cases on their own and find people guilty and execute them. Nothing that kid did no matter how stupid rated a death sentence. Kids are always so wrong that they should have the right to be wrong, legally wrong, at least a couple of time. Cops have to expect trouble without looking for it. They should meet the threat of force with overwhelming force, but should only meet deadly danger with deadly force. Obviously, and the statistics bear this out, too many cops are trigger happy. Too many are jaded and trapped in their prejudice. Still law does not mandate killing, and if laws existed making stupidity a capital offense we could take out most of the cops too.
As another personal note, I have friend, black, educated, intelligent, and moral. He was once an actor, and I am certain he could do it well; but the only rolls he was offered was of a criminal, or a thug. Do you get how the supposedly liberal entertainment industry perpetuates steriotypes? He could not do it. The rolls were personally demeaning to him.
Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:12 PM
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