Getting along with everyone might be simpler if we were all playing by the same rules.
For example, there have been calls for a certain flag to be struck down because it is considered offensive to one segment of society. At the same time, another flag is flown specifically to provoke that exact reaction among a different segment of society.
Are we playing by the same rules now? Of course not. But it’s socially acceptable for some people to be “outside the rules”.
Notice how our moral compass works just fine when some bigot calls for violence — or worse, takes violent action himself — against people with too much pigment in their skin. He’s a monster. Throw the book at him. Let his name rot in infamy.
It is always wrong for light-skinned people to hate darker-skinned people.
Because people are people are people.
Trot out all the arguments about the content of our character being more substantial than the color of our skin. That our accomplishments, not our ancestry, define us. That, internally we are all the same. “If you prick me, do I not bleed…”
Whatever respect or dignity is owed to one person or group of people is owed equally to all groups of people, by the worth and dignity of simply being people.
We believe that. Or we say we do.
Until we add a little asterisk to the end of it.
Until we set groups aside as undeserving of said fair treatment.
Until we ignore the hypocrisy of people like Dan Savage claiming to be an Anti-Bullying advocate, while publicly stating that he wished “all Republicans were [f-ing] dead”.
Until we let people like Farrakhan and Sharpton make a lucrative career of lumping all white people together as an “enemy” worthy of contempt or violence.
Until we throw the border wide open to killers deported three times, while trying to throw out a family that entered legally after being granted political asylum.
Until we bend over backwards making “safe spaces” for people in classroom, while topless protesters write profanity on their bodies to shock and embarrass their political opponents.
Suddenly, the mutual respect, and “people are people are people” principle vanishes.
And what happens when that vanishes? We revert right back to petty tribalism. It can take many forms.
Ultimately, it boils down to “My group is good and their group is bad”.
And this just happens to be the lifeblood of those who want to divide us, and use our divisions to make themselves powerful. Their narrative always contains a villain, and their villains don’t need to be treated with the common courtesy owed to the rest of us.
This is how they dress up their vices to look like virtues.
No you don’t have to treat that guy like a real person. It’s ok to be cruel, or dishonest, or treacherous, or destructive or violent to him, because that guy is the villain. He’s the exception. You aren’t expected to treat him the way you’d treat one of us.
Isn’t that the problem the Civil Rights movement was supposed to have stamped out? We continue to play the same game. We’ve just assigned the roles to different people.
Lets’ see how this plays out in real life.
Remember that Professor from Spokane? Rachel Dolezal? She was the self-styled black activist (and everything else that goes with it), except for that one trivial detail that her parents are both white.
Here’s the question I would ask you.
Suppose we hear that she has uttered the-word-that-shall-not-be-spoken.
What should happen to her?
If she were Chris Rock, the answer is simple. She can say that word as much as she wants. She “owns” it. (Whatever that means.)
If she were Paula Deen, she would face public outrage, and she’d instantly become politically radioactive, whether or not she was ever exonerated in court.
So how should the public react if we were to learn that Ms. Dolezal ever used the dreaded N-word? Mute approval, or mob justice?
By even choosing one of those answers, we have acknowledged that we don’t have one rule for everyone. And as long as we’re all playing by different social rules, how can we possibly expect to get past our differences?
(Related: The best explanation I’ve seen yet for WHY we are so quick to accept these double standards can be found in Doug Wilson’s article “A Mound of Pink Cotton Balls”.)