Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Imus and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

I posted this story on my old blog and The Porch this past April. One of my friends from church was asking me about it this weekend, so I'm going to be sharing this lesson with our life group tonight.

I would like to know what you think about this article as well. Do you agree, disagree, think I missed the point, over-looked a point, or just plain wrong? I'd like to hear from you.

Here it is:

I didn't know that being inarticulate and boring would ever be so offensive. The phrase "nappy-headed hos" has essentially been written on Don Imus' tombstone. But before the news cycle has another full day to fry Imus and his comments under the spotlight, let's break down this past week and learn a valuable lesson:

Wed. April 4th, 7:15 a.m. est- Imus calls the Rutgers women's basketball team, "nappy-headed hos."

Wed. April 4th, 7:17 a.m. est- Word of Imus' comments hits the news wires.

Wed. April 4th, 7:18 a.m. est- Everyone under the age of 40 collectively asks, "Who is Don Imus?"

Wed. April 4th, 7:18:27 a.m. est- Rev. Sharpton hops the first plane to New York.

Wed. April 4th, 7:18:28 a.m. est- Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and other black women have their name invoked by leading blacks to propel the offensive remarks into a new, historically framed stratosphere.

Mon. April 9th, 3:00 p.m. est- Someone stops to talk to the Rutgers women's basketball team about what they think.

Wed. April 11th, 5:20 a.m. cst- Cameron Clark wonders when he is going to be apologized to by Don Imus, MSNBC, ESPN, CNN, Fox News, and Al Sharpton for having many seconds of his life stolen by pleonastic, picayune, detritus pieces of "news" assail his ears every time he patronages their venues via television and radio.

Imus' first phone call, first apology, first appearance should have been with the Ladies at Rutgers. The Rutgers players and coaches are the only ones with license to take offense in this. Everyone else is borrowing trouble. That is the basest of the bottom lines.

Making this Imus non-event into an undying news cycle is right up there with sensationalizing Anna Nicole Smith's sad story into anything newsworthy. People who were not involved, and truly don't care about the parties mixed up in it, are responsible for perpetuating the story.

My only contribution to this epidemic of poor journalism is leaving on the television or radio long enough to provide positive viewer-rating points to the network airing it. The alternative is to turn the channel, and I've already done that.

Do we need to teach our children how to handle injustices in a healthy and effective manner? Yes.

Do we need to teach our children racism or sexism in any form is unacceptable? Yes, but I'm not sure that point is getting across at all. I only see, "Careful not to offend." being taught.

"Out of the overflow of the heart does the mouth speak." That's the battle ground; not the air waves, not the minds of children, but the hearts of everyone. No one is stepping into the only fray that matters with this subject. It has been kept purely on an "offensive" level by all parties involved. That's not leadership. That's not teaching. That's hubris. "I'm offended by what you said."

Al Sharpton and other leading blacks have espoused this vanity exercise as an effort to teach children that Imus' comments are unacceptable. However, their behavior has communicated that one must pay for their mistakes by losing their job and having a lifetime full of shame, no matter how sorry they may be for their actions. Furthermore, minding everyone elses' business, and not your own is another lesson being taught by example.

I heard Al Sharpton bring his own daughter into this when Imus was on Rev. Sharpton's show last Friday.

"She is not a nappy-headed ho!" exclaimed the host to Imus.

Did anyone call her that? No. Therefore, mind your own business.

I understand overtly racist or racially charged comments offend everyone of a particular race, not just the specific recipient of the ridicule. I understand the importance of "calling out" racist attitudes when is manifests itself in a behavior. I understand the points the people involved are trying to make, but their actions teach a completely different lesson.

The worst lesson in all of this: Forgiveness is not a virtue, especially if you are offended. Also, offensive comments undo a lifetime of good deeds. Is that not being taught?

I don't need Rev. Sharpton, Mike Greenburg, or Wolf Blitzer telling me what's right and wrong, or how to handle an injustice. I had good parents, and so does my daughter. She'll learn the lessons she needs to be a blessing to the world. She'll learn humility and owning her mistakes right alongside forgiveness of others.

The only positive lesson that can come from this fiasco is if the Rutger's Women's Team believes Don Imus' apology to be sincere and forgives him. Let's hope that happens this weekend.

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Post Facto Addendum: A girl on the Rutgers women's basketball team, that you and I have never heard of, is suing Don Imus for slander to her reputation. I guess their acceptance of his apology was superficial. Looks like there are more character issues here than Don Imus' mouth.

1 comment:

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