Imus and the Wonderful People

April 16, 2007

Let’s stipulate, uncourageously, that Don Imus’ epithet toward the Rutgers women’s basketball players was vile, offensive and despicable. That said, I am troubled that, as usual, certain race hucksters seized on the event and, as usual, our society has allowed itself to be bullied into conceding their legitimacy and emboldening them. But I am even more concerned about what the firestorm surrounding Imus’ whirlwind demise portends for the future of political discourse in this nation

I’ve grown suspicious of the sanctimonious types — in the media and elsewhere — who slobber all over themselves in self-congratulation when they publicly condemn statements or actions as racist.

I wonder whether their inner feelings and private conduct match their very public statements apparently designed to make the world believe they are compassionate, enlightened and, well, just wonderful people. Do they care as much about the plight of minorities as they do cultivating their image as wonderful human beings?

As others have said, if they are truly worried about the plight of minorities, especially blacks, then why don’t they decry and organize against the racism and misogyny in rap and hip-hop music? “That’s different,” they say, “because it’s art.” Or, “That’s different, because it’s not racism when a minority disses his own.”

Though this may be news to the culturally elite, placing something under the rubric of art doesn’t immunize it from standards of decency — assuming you accept such antiquated notions. And whether or not it’s technically racist for a member of a minority group to degrade another member of that group, surely reasonable people can acknowledge that one of the sins of racism is its disrespect for and degradation of members of a race.

As such, there is no excuse for the hucksters and the “wonderful people” to turn a blind eye toward or hoist a protective shield over much of hip-hop and rap music today. There is no excuse for their condemnation of Bill Cosby for trying to elevate.

If these self-appointed moral arbiters were so outraged at Imus’ statement, where were they when he reportedly issued slurs against Jewish people? Why didn’t the mainstream media narcissists snub Imus long before this incident?

Also, isn’t there a hint of subtle racism in the hyperbole of some of these wonderful human beings regarding the presumed helplessness of the Rutgers ladies who, they imply, are going to be permanently damaged by Imus’ remarks? While I won’t downplay the offensiveness of the insult they were dealt, I’d like to give them more credit than to patronizingly assume they’ll be crippled by it.

Isn’t that message inconsistent with the theme that these ladies are accomplished, decent, honorable and self-respecting people? Aren’t we sending mixed signals by overplaying the victimization aspects of the event? Can’t we give these ladies more credit than to assume their futures have been destroyed by three nasty words from a talk show host who doesn’t know them and couldn’t possibly know anything about their character?

Shouldn’t we quit treating these young ladies like they’re helpless and fragile? Haven’t they have proven quite the opposite with their dignified response and their gracious acceptance of the Imus apology?

And wouldn’t it be shockingly refreshing if the reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would take a page from the ladies’ playbook and begin to promote Christian forgiveness and redemption, rather than racial divisiveness?

We’ve come to expect this kind of exploitation from professional race agitators, but they’re not the only ones who exploit race to elevate themselves and advance certain political causes. The growing danger is that this larger group of “wonderful people” will capitalize on the Imus event to raise to a new level their practice of making false and politically charged allegations of racism, sexism and the like to muzzle their political opponents.

While the wonderful people haven’t yet succeeded in resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine to emasculate conservative talk radio, the Imus affair will doubtlessly energize them to redouble their efforts to demonize and silence conservatives.

For according to these moral arbiters, conservatives, by virtue of their conservatism, are racists. Case closed. How else could they make the unconscionable charge that President Bush delayed the federal response to Katrina because of his presumed racism? How else could they tag Sen. Trent Lott as a racist while ignoring Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd’s repeated use of the “N-word”? How else could someone like Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel say without fear of public rebuke, “They used to call it ‘Jim Crow,’ but now they call it ‘tax cuts’?”

For the wonderful people, it’s not the words you use, but what the wonderful people choose to pronounce you meant by them. Heaven help us if these Stalinists are ever completely in charge of speech in this country.