View Single Post
Old 04-13-2007, 03:08 PM   #41
I rule the local playground
Sean77's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 464
Default Re: Don Imus gets suspended for racist remarks, what about this guy?

Article written by my pastor the other day, tell me what you think about it. He's black and married to a Korean woman, by the way...

Should Imus Have Been Fired?

Op-Ed by David Anderson, D.Phil
April 11, 2007

He finally did it. Imus finally shocked enough people with his comment debasing the predominately African American girlís college basketball team at Rutgers University when he referred to the team as "nappy headed hos". The big question that is swirling around the country now is about Imusí career. Should he stay or should he go? Is a two week suspension enough or should Imus be fired? I have been questioned about the matter and would like to pose a few questions of my own first before I tell you what should happen to Imus.

First, where are Imusí friends of color who can attest to the fact that he is not, as he proclaims, a racists? Where were Michael Richardís black friends? Where were Mel Gibsonís Jewish buddies? Which African American colleagues came to Trent Lottís defense when he spoke nostalgically about Strom Thurmond for president? If you or I said something off-color, would otherís come to our defense and proclaim that we are anything but racist. I would hope that I have enough personal friends of different descent that if I did slip and say the wrong thing, the offense would be charged to my head and not my heart. Of course, I would assume that my heart would be broken if I offended others with my careless comments. I would not try to defend but would, like these other men, apology. The difference is that others would, I hope, come to my rescue to testify that I am not a racist and that the whole of my life announces the opposite conclusion.

My point is simple, if Imus had relationships with African Americans on a personal level he would have known that what he said was way out of bounds. Is this a double standard? Donít black comedians get to use the "N" word? Donít hip hop artist promote the language of women as "hos" which is a street term for whores? What gives?

Two things must be understood about double standards. First, they do exist and itís okay. I can talk about my wife, but you canít. Thatís just the way it is. Jewish people can joke among themselves about their noses, but Iím not Jewish, so I donít have that same right unless I simply want to offend. I can joke negatively about myself, but Iíd prefer that you do not take that as a cue that somehow licenses you to do the same.

The bottom line is that joking on oneself or within ones sociological group does not give blanket permission for those outside that group to entertain disrespectful speech. This is rule number one. You have to learn it. Why? Because language landmines exist in every group and it is critical to know that accepting double standards in language is a reality that we all must embrace if we want to be bridge builders.

Imus missed this lesson when he attempted to defend his poor choice of words. Michael Richards should have known that the "N" word is unsuitable in public by anyone, but especially by whites who use it pejoratively. I canít imagine that he has personal relationships with blacks.

What about Bill Bennett? Didnít he say that crime would be eliminated if we aborted black babies? Somehow he was able to stand firmly by his comments because he didnít really mean it. Mel Gibson was drunk and really loves Jews, right? Hereís the bottom line: people step on language landmines all the time. Whatís in the heart comes out when we least expect it. Therefore, we must build cross cultural relationships to become more sensitized to the daggers of speech that cut to the hearts of others.

Basic decency demands that we apologize to those weíve offended. I think Imus has done this. But is an apology enough? Evidently not for the Reverend Al Sharpton who repeatedly called for Imus to be fired and told him so face to face on Sharptonís radio show. I take a different view.

Instead of firing Imus who displayed a form of racism with his speech, letís extend a form of gracism with our actions as a community. Instead of lynching Imus in return, what about if African Americans share their pain and then demand that Imus does several shows that educate him and his listening audience about racial matters in America with the hopes of making a difference. You may be surprised at how powerful grace is when it is experienced by those who donít expect it and know they donít deserve it.

Sean77 is offline   Reply With Quote