From Rage to Responsibility: Black Conservative Jesse Lee Peterson and America Today

By Jesse Lee Peterson; Brad Stetson | Go to book overview

Appendix I
A Declaration of Racial Commonsense

The hardest activity in human life is to love the stranger. We all tend to be wary of those who are different from us, whether those differences be religious, cultural or racial. Yet, it is undeniably a necessary prerequisite for any just society that we resist this inclination, and that people not be judged by what they look like. Rather, they must be judged by how they act.

Martin Luther King, Jr., stated it with simple eloquence and moral power when he adjured us to treat each other on the basis of the content of our character, and not the color of our skin. Too often this phrase is dismissed as only platitudinous, but it has yet to truly be tried in this country. We wholeheartedly affirm this simple but essential ethical imperative, and recommend it anew to our rending national fabric. We must know each other as we are, and interact on that basis alone, not according to how we imagine one another to be, or to how politically self-serving special interest groups portray those different from us.

We must recall and recite the humanizing and politically emancipating lesson learned by the great Jewish psychiatrist and writer Viktor Frankl, who upon emerging from the horrors of Auschwitz, said that there were really only two groups of people in this world: the decent and the indecent. The ethnic cheerleading and groupidentification that dominates American politics today is the absolute opposite of this principle, and ought to be completely rejected by men and women of goodwill.

To all but the most stubborn Utopians it long ago became apparent that one of the greatest hindrances to the fostering of social cooperation is human nature itself. James Madison put it well when he said “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Human beings are capable of great and redemptive

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