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Category Archives: ALL ABOUT ME

Minorities Should Express Shame, Not

Only Pride
Dennis Prager TOWNHALL,COM
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gay Pride. Jewish Pride. Black pride. Hispanic Pride.

Multiculturalism.

Ethnic pride. Minority rights vs. tyranny of the majority.

For a generation, America has been awash in the celebration of minorities and minorities celebration of themselves. Just recall Black is Beautiful or I am a woman, I am invincible.

At the same time, the majority group in America — white Christians — has been allowed to celebrate very little. Rather, they have constantly been reminded of what they should be ashamed of — their racism, sexism, homophobia, patriarchy, and xenophobia — real and alleged.

But what about minority shame?

Why does one almost never hear expressions of group shame from members of any American group other than white Christians (specifically, white Christian male heterosexuals)? Are the only evildoers in America white male heterosexual Christians? Is there something inherently wrong about members of minorities expressing anything but group pride? Are there no minority sins worthy of shame? The latter is in fact the argument advanced by many intellectuals concerning black racism, for example. For a generation, college students have been taught that it is impossible for blacks to be racist because only the racial group in power, i.e. whites, can express racism.

Of course, that is nonsense. A black can be a racist just as a white can be one. A minority race might not have the power to implement racist national policies but that hardly means that no minority group, or any individual, can be a racist.

All this came to mind recently when, by coincidence, I read two things about the minority group of which I am a member — Jews. I just completed reading Anthony Beevors The Fall of Berlin 1945, in which the author writes that in the midst of the massive rape of German women (millions of girls and women of all ages) by Red Army troops, Jewish officers in the Red Army were known to be the one group that protected German girls and women. In Beevors words, Red Army officers who were Jewish went out of their way to protect German women and girls.

I fully admit to a sense of Jewish pride when I read that.

The next day I read a news report that because of the objections of one kindergartners mother, a public school in North Carolina had banned the singing of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer because the song contained the word Christmas. I blame the school officials first and foremost for this craven and foolish decision. But when the news report noted that the woman was Jewish, my heart sank. Just as I had read the Beevor report and felt a surge of Jewish pride, I read the North Carolina story and felt a surge of Jewish shame.

It was a surge of Jewish shame that years ago led to one of the largest demonstrations of Israeli Jews in Israel’s history. They were demonstrating against the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon. The killings were committed by Lebanese Christian militias, but they took place while Israel occupied that area of Lebanon.

It would seem, then, that group shame is a good thing.

There are at least three reasons:

1. It is maturing. Only children think only well of themselves. A group that only expresses pride is essentially a group of children.

2. If one expresses group pride, one is morally obligated to express group shame. Obviously, this does not apply to any person who does not identify with, let alone take pride in being a member of, a group.

3. If only the majority group is expected to express shame, then only the majority group is expected to be governed by rules of morality. It is, ironically, the highest moral compliment to Americas white Christians that they are the only American group of whom expressions of shame are expected. It means more is morally expected of them than of anyone else.

The relative absence of expressions of shame in the Muslim world over the atrocities committed in Islam’s name is an example of the above. The labeling of blacks who express shame over disproportionate rates of violent crime and out-of-wedlock births in the black community as Uncle Toms is another. The absence of any expression of shame in the gay community over the current blacklisting — and attempts to economically destroy — anyone who donated to the California proposition defining marriage as between a man and a woman is another example. When Sen. Joseph McCarthy blacklisted people in Hollywood for real or alleged support for the Communist Party, he was finally shut up with the words, Have you no shame, sir?

Expressing group shame when morally necessary is not airing dirty linen or giving solace to ones ideological enemies. It is, rather, one of the highest expressions of moral development. And it is therefore universally applicable. Being a minority doesn’t exempt its members from moral responsibility. It will be a great day for America and the world when minorities begin to express shame as well as pride. In fact, there is real pride in expressing shame. Minorities should give it a try.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

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On Shooting Taggers: Why Conservatives and Liberals Differ
Dennis Prager
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Earlier this month Andrew Sullivan, a well-known writer, once in the center, now on the left, nominated me for what is apparently his lowest badge of distinction for defending citizens who shoot to wound graffiti vandals, or “taggers,” while committing their vandalism.

Under the heading, “Malkin Award Nominee,” Sullivan provides a quote from my radio show:

“‘So you will now say — I hear the voice of an ACLU member — ‘Dennis, do you think that this guy should have shot these people spray painting graffiti on his shop?’ To which my answer is yes. I do. Not to kill. Not to kill. But if he shot them in the legs or in the arms I would have considered the man one of the great advancers of civilization in my time. And that is what divides left from right. Because anybody on the left hearing this would think that this is barbaric whereas I consider not stopping these people in any way that is necessary to be barbaric.’ — Dennis Prager, on his radio show.”

Mr. Sullivan provides no commentary because, as I predicted in the excerpt he cites, what I said is so obviously morally offensive to him, no commentary is necessary. It is self-indicting.

To those on the left.

Their differing reactions to graffiti vandals further clarify the philosophical differences between liberals and conservatives.

Reactions to graffiti on the cultural left — not necessarily the political left, since liberal politicians must respond to public outrage or they are not re-elected — have generally ranged from support to indifference.

Many on the left have long described graffiti as “urban art” and graffiti vandals as “artists.” Even when not admired or even defended, most liberals regard graffiti in far less negative ways than do conservatives. Conservatives tend to regard graffiti as an assault on society, perpetrated by pathologically narcissistic lowlifes bent on undermining the foundations of higher civilization.

To personalize this for a moment, while I assume that graffiti troubles Sullivan, I strongly doubt it troubles him nearly as much as it troubles me. If it did, the odds are he would not be a man of the left.

Why are so many on the left not as angered by graffiti as most conservatives are? I would like to offer some possible reasons:

One is that liberals find it difficult to condemn the poor, especially poor members of ethnic and racial minorities. If rich white kids spray painted their names on university buildings, there would probably be a liberal outcry.

A second reason is that crimes against property tend to disturb the left less than the right, especially when “no one is hurt”; and graffiti is deemed by many liberals as a classic example of no one being hurt. That is why I suspect that most people on the left would express greater anger toward someone who lit up a cigarette in a mall or a restaurant than toward an inner city kid who spray painted his initials on neighborhood walls and signs.

A third reason is that conservatives tend to view higher civilization as more fragile than the left views it. Conservatives believe the line between civilization and barbarism is under constant assault and is not necessarily enduring. That is one reason the right tends to have a higher regard for the police than does the left. Conservatives see the police as “the thin blue line” that separates civilization from barbarians.

So, it is natural that conservatives would see graffiti as vandalism, as an undermining of the very notion of higher civilization, as a public scorning of the common good, as essentially an “F—- you” to society.

Liberals are far more inclined to see graffiti as a mere nuisance, or even as an example of the downtrodden trying to have a voice in a civilization that oppresses young people who are usually members of historically oppressed minorities.

To the conservative, graffiti is an assault on civilization; to the liberal, graffiti is the result of civilization’s assault on those who paint the graffiti.

For those who share Sullivan’s political and social values, the notion that someone would defend a man who shot and wounded graffiti vandals defacing his property is worthy of derision. Sullivan is so sure his readers have contempt for such a view that he felt it unnecessary to offer a word of commentary on what I said.

That is unfortunate. I would be interested to know how Sullivan regards taggers and what he would suggest be done to them if caught in the act of defacing property. Since most people suspect that calling the police would achieve little, if anything, what should be done?

My first wish is that taggers be arrested and punished. I also wish for world peace and a cure for cancer. But the real-life choice is almost always between taggers getting away with their vandalism and an irate citizen taking action. Given the destructive nature of tagging — the moment one sees graffiti, one knows one has entered a largely lawless and violent environment where thugs terrorize innocents — I prefer something, even if violent, rather than nothing be done.

I have no desire to see a graffiti vandal killed — my position has always been that only those who cause death deserve death (that is why I oppose the death penalty for any crime except murder). But if enough taggers are wounded, their assault on civilization will decline dramatically. And if one accidentally dies? That would be a tragedy. But here is the bottom line: More innocent people will die if tagging is not stopped than if it is. Graffiti unchecked leads to worse crime.

Those who deface private and public property are not otherwise decent kids who are oppressed and not allowed any other form of self-expression. My sense is that the vast majority of graffiti vandals are headed toward, if not already involved in, a life of sociopathology, including violence.

Indeed, increasingly those graffiti vandals do engage in violence. Citizens who so much as flash their headlights or yell at them to stop have been shot and sometimes murdered.

As in so many other areas, with regard to taggers, right and left see life through opposing moral prisms. On the left, the tagger is viewed as society’s victim; on the right, society is viewed as the tagger’s victim.

Copyright © 2008 Salem Web Network. All Rights Reserved.

I WAS BORN IN A LAND FAR FAR AWAY IN A MUCH DIFFERENT DAY AND AGE. I WAS TRANSPLANTED HERE ON EARTH JULY 9 1944. I BELIEVE IN GOD AND COUNTRY AND FAMILY. DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY. DUTY TO THE LAWS OF GOD AND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS FAMILY, FRIENDS AND THOSE LESS FORTUNATE THAN I. CONSERVATIVE IN SOME RESPECTS AND LIBERAL (IN AN OLD FASHIONED WAY) IN OTHERS.

JUST ME IN A PREVIOUS LIFE

JUST ME IN A PREVIOUS LIFE