Summarizing the Argument
There is no need to stress the fact that, despite numerous democratic endeavors, the gap between the representatives of the Black culture and the White residents of the USA is still huge.
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The reason for this gap to grow, however, is extremely hard to locate, since it presupposes that a thorough analysis of the cultural, political, economical, and social issues has to be carried out. In his interview, D’Souza stated that the phenomenon of social discrimination among the Black population slowly ousts the phenomenon of cultural segregation.
According to D’Souza, neither the idea that the White American culture has blocked the way for the African American people’s way to the top nor the attempt to blame solely the Black population for their reluctance to integrate into the American society holds any water.
As D’Souza makes it clear, the answer to the question why ethical and racial segregation, as well as the split between the Black and the White population of the USA still exists, is far more complex and requires the consideration of a much greater number of factors.
Basing his research on the principles of cultural relativism, or, in D’Souza’s own words, the idea that “all cultures are equal and no culture can judge another by its own standard” (AllanGregg 00:05:25). It is quite peculiar that in his speech, D’Souza promotes the idea of using the family institution as the key to restoring the balance between the Black and White communities.
Another interesting idea that D’Souza is trying to get across is that with the emergence of middle-class social stratum among the Black population, the so-called phenomenon of “Black flight,” which was similar to the “White flight,” occurred, therefore, triggering a rapid and uncompromising social stratification of the Black population into the wealthy and the poor (Massey 5).
Therefore, D’Souza makes it obvious that, without an understanding of how African American culture works, it will be impossible to create a society where Americans and African Americans will live in harmony.
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As the host of the show notices, there is a recurrent pattern with D’Souza’s argument regarding the split in the Black community into the impressively wealthy and incredibly poor members. To support his opinion regarding the social stratification of the African American society, D’Souza often provides an example of a Black cab driver refusing to offer his services to a Black passenger.
As D’Souza explains, at this point, the supposed cab driver can be referred to as a bigot, since he pursues his goal of getting home safely and, therefore, falls prey to the social prejudices regarding the act that Black people are more inclined to commit crimes than the White population of the U.S.
Analyzing D’Soiza’s Claim
I agree with D’Souza’s position because he suggests adding not only the internal but also external factors that make the distinction between the two cultures so obvious to be added to the analysis. It is quite unusual that the researcher does not lay the blame either on the society, or on the Black people themselves, but navigates among the range of social, economical and cultural factors, thus, making an original statement about the Black culture.
Therefore, while I would not claim with the same amount of certainty that D’Souza did that the phenomenon of racism has ceased to exist, I will agree that racial discrimination has taken new forms after the brief contact of the African American culture with the one of the white population.
While giving credit to Souza’s insight on the way in which the Black culture has evolved under the influence of the White one, as well as on the relationships between the representatives of the Black culture, it should be mentioned that the instances of racial profiling towards the African American population does occur on a regular basis, which the recent evidence shows in a very graphic way (Collins 18).
However, the fact that intolerance has taken a new shape cannot be doubted;, due to the social stratification of the African American society and the gap that blocks the communication between its upper and lower classes, their representatives display enmity towards the representatives of the opposing “clan.”
D’Souza’s argument, therefore, seems very compelling in that the researcher manages to define the factors that affect the phenomenon of discrimination between the upper and the lower class of the Black society.
Hence, it is clear that the era of ethnic discrimination is slowly getting to an end, while the new principle of segregation has emerged; with a focus on the social status of the population in question this time, the given principle creates the premises for the development of discriminatory moods among the Black people and may result in an even harsher conflict.
In contrast to the conflict between the Black and the White culture, the new issue, however, revolves around the social status.
One of the details that make the situation regarding the changes in the Black society even more complex concerns the distinction between rationality and morality, as D’Souza (AllanGregg 00:09:00) specifies.
Considering the case above of a Black cab driver refusing to give a lift to a Black person based solely on the dubious statistics regarding the ratio of crimes committed in the African American community to the American one, it should be noted that the driver’s decision can be explained from two different perspectives.
From the position of morality, it would be wrong to make a distinction between a Black and a White person based solely on social prejudices. However, from the position of rationality, it will be reasonable not to take chances and refuse to give a lift to the stranger that may threaten the driver’s life.
This is where the line between self-preservation and social interactions should be drawn. Because of the segregation of the Black society into the wealthy upper class and the neglected and socially dangerous lower class, the African American population is torn between the necessity to fight discrimination towards the latter and the need to provide safety within the community.
The given dilemma can be related to the set of philosophical problems as much as it can be listed in the range of social and cultural ones (Bourdieu 15). On the one hand, the instinct of self-preservation dictates its own rules, and, when having the chance to avoid a possible problem, one will most likely use it.
On the other hand, by displaying the awareness regarding high crime rates among the African American lower class and by showing the unwillingness to contact with the aforementioned social stratum, one is most likely to discourage the part of the low class African American population who want to fight the prejudice and the social stereotype of an aggressive low-income black person.
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Therefore, the issue is yet to be resolved by adopting the approach of cultural and social tolerance.
AllanGregg. “Dinesh D’Souza Says Racism Is not the Cause of Black Failure.” YouTube. 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvFG6jH_ocY>.
Bourdieu, Pierre. “Social Space and Symbolic Power.” Sociological Theory 7.1 (1989), 14–25.
Collins, Randall. “Situational Stratification: A Micro-Macro Theory of Inequality.” Sociological Theory 18.1 (2000), 17–43.
Massey, Douglas S. How Stratification Works. n. d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. <https://www.russellsage.org/sites/all/files/Massey_Chap1_2.pdf>.