If we were all the same color, we would find some other difference to distinguish between people and weigh equality of worth. You may remember an episode of the TV series Star Trek in which officers of the Enterprise encountered another race of beings on some faraway planet.
At first they appeared to all look alike, but were continually at odds with one another. One pointed out that he was black on the left and white on the right, while the other was white on the left and black on the right!
We have always had racism and we will always have racism, just like we will always have all the other –isms. No words or arguments will ever change the biases and prejudices each of us harbors. Anyone who thinks he/she has no biases or prejudices is deceiving himself/herself. Biases and prejudices come with being human.
We’re all living with each other regardless of race or other distinguishing characteristics, and as much as possible we need to strive to live together in peace. Did someone do or say something offensive? Well, bless his/her heart. Were you offended? Well, bless your heart. The sun will rise tomorrow.
A friend referred me to a TED Talk on the differences between liberals and conservatives over social issues, “The moral roots of liberals and conservatives” by Jonathan Haidt, an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Haidt and his colleagues identified “five foundations of morality” that distinguish liberals and conservatives: harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, in-group/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity. You can see how you fall on the liberal/conservative spectrum according to these five markers by taking a questionnaire at www.YourMorals.org.
According to Haidt’s research, liberals hold high views of harm/care and fairness/reciprocity, and discount in-group/loyalty, authority/respect and purity/sanctity to the point of believing the last three have “nothing to do with morality.” In other words, according to Haidt and his colleagues’ research, “We can say that liberals have a kind of a two-channel, or two-foundation morality. Conservatives have more of a five-foundation, or five-channel morality.”
What word do parents of two or three year olds use most, other than the child’s name? “NO!” Why? Because parents protect their children from doing things that may harm them. Why did God give the Law to Moses? To set the record straight. This is “right,” and that is “wrong.” Didn’t people already know the difference between right and wrong? Evidently not! And, we see the same thing today. Some things never change.
Any time we see conflict we are compelled to assign “right” or “wrong” to the parties involved. What about accountability and responsibility? President Obama claimed there were no scandals in his administration! (smiley face here) President Trump did not use the words “white supremacists” in his initial comments about the tragedy in Charlottesville. Is either president “right” or “wrong?” Has either president contributed to the divisiveness in America today? Should each be held accountable? Should each accept responsibility? If you are liberal, you likely believe one is right and the other is wrong. Same thing likely goes for conservatives.
We need to be accountable and take responsibility for our own words and actions. If one expects to be offended, he/she will be offended sooner rather than later, and then the sun will rise tomorrow.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. He can be reached at PJandMe2@hotmail.com.