Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The irony of moral relativism

The other day I heard on someone's vlog (as in video log: an online journal similar to a blog (weblog), but on film rather than in print) that there was a major uproar in the online community about a Microsoft print ad. In the ad, there was an Asian man, a black man, and a white woman. The ad was run in Poland also, but the head of the black man was cropped out and replaced by the head of a white man. I'm not sure the exact reason for this, but my suspicion is that the country does not have a large black community and a white man would seem more appropriate to the context. It does not seem likely that Microsoft is racist, since the original ad would probably have not been created in the first place if that were true.

After doing a little research on wikipedia, I discovered that almost 97% of people in Poland consider themselves to be ethnically Polish, meaning among other things, white. The remaining 3% seem to be mostly white also. Therefore, in order to create an ad which is representative of Polish people, a white person was added. This however, does not account for the fact that one of the remaining people in the ad is of Asian descent. Perhaps they wanted to display diversity to some extent.

There remains the possibility that the Czech branch of Microsoft is in fact racist. This cannot be known for sure, unless there is a statement giving official reasons for these actions, but let's assume for the sake of argument that this was racially motivated. After Microsoft did this, there was a swift and angry response from the Internet community. People felt this was a moral catatrophe and that Microsoft should be held accountable. And perhaps they should. But compare this to someone who speaks out against abortion. Most of the time if someone does they are criticized. They are told "How can you force your morals on everyone else?" They are seen as self-righteous bigots trying to judge other people. So why the difference?

Those who were appalled by Microsoft's actions are often the same people that say we cannot judge the actions of others and that if someone wants to have an abortion, who are we to decide for them. It is considered rude and out of place to even bring up the topic. Most of the time I speak of this issue with someone who is an abortion supporter, their first reaction is to tell me to stop talking about it and that the issue is already settled. But this is not a matter of an advertising campaign. This is a matter of life and death. Many people believe abortion kills a person, and therefore is gravely wrong. Even if someone does not agree that a fetus is a child, they should at least be able to comprehend how someone who does believe it is would be concerned about their murder.

The funny thing about this advertising case is that there is a parrallel, one which you will never see in real life. There are some people who are racist and bigoted. So much so that they would not want to see a black person on any form of advertisement. They believe white people are superior and that anyone else is inferior. Therefore, the belief that black people should have equal dignity when it comes to being represented on advertising and such is not universal. But, would you ever hear someone say, "How dare you try to impose your self-righteous beliefs on Microsoft. They can be as racist as they want to be! You're just a religious fanatic who preaches notions of equality!" Of course not.

My point is that this advertising fiasco is absolutely infintessimal and insignificant compared to the slaughter of millions of innocent babies. Just because some people do not realize it is murder does not mean those who do should be silenced. If we can speak out against (alledged) racism, how much more can we speak out against murder?

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