Ferguson: The Road Not Taken

The riots subsequent to Michael Brown’s shooting were based on multicultural logic.  People know that police arrest and shoot black Americans disproportionately.  They then – incorrectly – assume that culture has nothing to do with it (multiculturalists think all cultures are wonderful and equal).  Then, having no other basis upon which to explain disparities, multiculturalists default to the conclusion that differing arrest rates show 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, blacks failing to take education seriously, and black 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 antisocial messages.  In his rap recordings, Brown spoke about killing people and "smoking weed since 9."  This is poignant 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.  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 in 1989, when his son was 2 years old.  In 2012 a case was brought against him for not paying child support.  Michael, the son, wrote songs about his pain over his father’s lack of financial and emotional support.  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 the 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. 

John K .Press, Ph.D. is a professor at Namseoul University in Korea.  He is the author of the book Culturism: A Word, A Value, Our Futurewww.culturism.us has more information.

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