Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ferguson: The Culturist Road Not Taken

The riots subsequent to Michael Brown’s shooting were based on multicultural logic.  Multiculturalists know police arrest and shoot black Americans more than any other group.  But, as they hold that all cultures are wonderful and equal, they cannot attribute differing arrest records to culture. So, having no other basis upon which to explain disparities, multiculturalists conclude that differing arrest rates indicate that police and society are racist. 

President Obama publicized this narrative after Brown’s death.  Suppose the President instead acknowledged that the inner city black culture is broken.  What if he said, “Blacks killing blacks, failing to take education seriously, and family breakdown need to be halted.”  Blacks would have then had to look upon their educational, criminal, and economic disparities as sources of shame, rather than justifications for resentment.

Michael Brown would have made an exemplary platform for culturist analysis. We must confront Rap music’s anti-social messages.  In his rap recordings, Brown spoke about killing people and 'smoking weed since 9.’  This is pertinent because Brown had marijuana in his system when he died.  At the same time, Brown graduated from high school via a credit recovery program and enrolled in a vocational education program.[i]  Brown personified the impact of cultural choices.

Brown’s “father” could have highlight the breakdown of the black family. Michael Brown Sr. left the family when his son was 2 years old.  In 2012 a case was brought against him for not paying child support.[ii]  Michael, the son, wrote songs about his pain over his father’s lack of financial and emotional support.  Thus the son’s anger at being abandoned could have brought sympathetic attention to the connection between fatherlessness and crime in black America.

Being both black and President, Obama would have been the perfect person to lead this culturist discussion; he could highlight the fact that discussing cultural diversity is not racist.  And, as all Americans need to scrutinize their cultures relative to American standards, such a speech could have united all of us in a common mission of cultural elevation. Instead Obama chose to frame Brown’s death in racial terms and fuel black resentment.  I hope our next President has the stomach to launch discussions about culture, the achievement of communities, and the fate of nations. 

[i] Elgen, John, Michael Brown Spent Last Weeks Grappling with Problems and Promise, New York Times, 8/24/14,
[ii] Collins, Laura, Daily Mail, Who was the real Michael Brown, . . . 11/27/14,

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