Marisa Saravisky
Professor French
Ethics
M/W 8:00-9:15
Writing Assignment #2

There are three important views regarding moral standards. These views are objectivism, popular moral relativism, and subjectivism. The one that I find most controversial out of them is Popular (Cultural) Relativism. Cultural Relativism maintains that the same moral principles hold for the members of a particular society. These principles are determined by what much of that society accepts as morally correct.
Before we can say what, we believe is to be right or wrong as a matter of conscience, we must define what a morality is. Morality has to do with what all rational persons, simply because they are persons, should be like and how they ought to act towards each other. Different societies have different moral codes. There is no standard that can be used to judge one societies moral code better than another. Just because you may think your societies moral code is better than anot her does not mean yours has a special status. The moral code of a society determines what is right and wrong within that society. It is mere arrogance for us to try and judge the conduct of other peoples. The moral beliefs of a particular group are nothing more than a product of society. Many people believe what they do because they were either were taught or learned it.
Morality is simply a product of a person's social environment. To an extent, we are conditioned to our society. Religion, school, media, work place, family, friends, and outside connections are constantly influencing our behavior or understanding. Many of us will adapt to beliefs and ideas that aren't ours but ultimately being your own human being, you should have your own set of truths and avoid conflict where you can. Unfortunately, not everyone in this world has that opportunity. In America, we are taught to be tolerant of other cultures. We believe that it is important to be tolerant of other cultures because we want to experience our own freedoms without being criticized. Tolerance can be both a good and bad result of cultural relativism. Dress, language, and food are examples of beliefs and traditions that all cultures should be free to practice without any scrutiny. Tolerance can also be a bad result of cultural relativism. Cultural relativism states that we cannot judge the morals of other cultures, regardless of their actions, therefore there is no longer any argument to be made that anything a culture does is right or wrong. So, because of this, things such as slavery, sexism, infanticide and other human right violations have to be viewed as a form of tolerance if in regards to cultural relativism.
There are many examples of Cultural relativism is. During World War II, Adolf Hitler, despised that Jewish peoples. He ordered the wrongful deaths of six million Jewish people. This is an example of cultural relativism because he believed that Jewish people were no good so because of that reason their deaths could be justified. Another example of cultural relativism is in Iran where women are forcibly veiled under the threat of imprisonment and lashes. In China, if a woman cheats on a husband, he may kill her and receive little to no jail time but if that happened in America, he would receive 25 year to life or even execution. In South America is it socially acceptable for a mother to fondle their newborns or toddler's genitals for them to fall asleep. If this happened in America, you would be convicted as child abuser. I believe that much of what a person knows to be morally correct is a product of their social environment.
The depths of cultural relativism go on and on. We can sit and argue all day what is right and what is wrong. But at the end of the day there is no universal answer to what is right or wrong because in each society in all parts of the world, there is a different answer. I believe that it is important to be tolerant of other cultures but I also believe that we should not use a cultural defense to defend them when they are morally wrong.