Rantings and Ravings
"Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you," is a mantra that our parents and teachers said to use to help us deal with the taunts of childhood. But most of us know that words are very powerful and the hurt inflicted by a cruel uttering can last much longer than a bruise to your arm.
The current uproar over the on air comment of Don Imus is long over due. Not because it was said by Don Imus, but because we have reached a point that he felt he could say it on air. Imus is just a small piece of a larger problem that has been brewing for some time.
We have a schizophrenic attitude on being civil in our society. There was a time in the not too distant past when people openly told jokes with derogatory punchlines and used terms like Pollock and Kike to describe others. Main stream society began to rein in the practice and we have tried to be "politically correct."
Fringe groups continue to use the offensive words to shock and demean those they dislike. Rap music has a horrible reputation of having very derogatory lyrics. We claim to be better than that, yet Rap continues to sell by the milions. I had a friend that told me she had a CD of Eminem even though she was offended by some of his lyrics calling women ho's because she liked the sound of some of the songs.
It isn't just rap and shock jocks that have gone too far either. I have mentioned before that the anonymity of the internet allows people to forward along very offensive jokes that they wouldn't be caught dead repeating at their church house or work place.
Before we jump on the band wagon to destroy Imus, we need to take a hard look at our own actions as well. I think Imus's statement was reprehensible. But we have been saying "Bad boy, stop it!" while slipping a little wink to let them know it wasn't too bad.
Sometimes it seems like there are groups that take the term "politically correct" too far. In fact, that action takes the focus off the real issues. I hate the term myself because I think it is a matter of respect and moral values rather that a political issue.
Most of us are horrified by the days of Nazi cleansing. It was based on a feeling of racial and religious supremacy of one group over another. When we feel superior enough over any other group of people we run the risk of allowing ourselves to justify it being okay to put them down.
Be outraged over Imus. He deserves it. He can go to the same rehab that Michael Richards and Mel Gibson went to and get fixed.
For the rest of us, think about how you may be contributing to allowing this kind of cruelty to remain in our society.