A Confusing Situation

by Barry King

In certain ambiguous situations of deadly violence, in which a black victim is killed by a white killer but there’s no evidence about whether the killers’ motives included racism, the politically correct thing to say is: that violence was not just “random”; it was an example of (racial) prejudice in action.

On the other hand, in certain less ambiguous cases, in which the motives are clear (such as: “We are Muslims, they were Jews or Christians, and we killed them *because* we are Muslims and *because* they were Jews or Christians), then the politically correct thing to say is: that violence was just “random”; it was not an example of (religious) prejudice in action.

Observations about those situations: 1. Both are different from what you might expect if the position statements were derived rationally from the available evidence, and 2. The premises and logic underlying each position contradict the premises and logic of the other, which is not a situation one should expect if both were derived rationally.
Tentative conclusions: 1. neither of those politically correct positions is rationally determined. 2. One person’s “bigotry” can sometimes be another person’s “righteous indignation”, and that sword can cut both ways. 3. If people are to be invited to get off their “high horses”, that invitation will be most irenic if it is addressed broadly rather than narrowly.


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