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Proportionality and freedom of speech

April 15, 2007

How many times have you heard the phrase “when you’re down and out, everybody wants a piece of your ass.” Regard one Don Imus…

Surely, I’m not alone in dismay over the treatment of morning radio host Don Imus? I must admit that I listened to his show on a couple of occasions and he just didn’t do it for me. I don’t even like the guy, but I find myself shocked by the treatment he received over a stupid comment he made while on-air.

By now, everyone knows the comment he made, so I’m not going to repeat those words here. To label either the man or his words on that fateful day as “racist” is a headlong rush to an improper judgment.

According to the American Heritage dictionary, the word racist is defined as:

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Based upon the accepted definition of the word, we cannot label either the man or his words as “racist.”

We can say that he used poor judgment and made a disparaging remark about a female collegiate basketball team. They obviously did nothing to engender such a remark from him.

His attempt at sounding cool or hip didn’t work out very well. Words do have meaning, and the use of some words bring consequences.

Contrast his words and the reaction to his words with the words and treatment of rap musicians. If you’ve never listened to that form of aural entertainment, a lot of it is just plain vile.

Freedom of speech, you say? Yes, the 1st ammendment of our Constitution does grant that right. It does not convey or imply a right to be taken seriously.

Don Imus didn’t invent the words he used. I’m reasonably certain that he’s heard those words used many times over the public airwaves.

The movie industry is far worse at propagating negative stereotypes than is urban radio. I recently watched a portion of the movie “Smokin Aces.” Without quoting from the movie’s dialogue, let me just say that racial stereotypes and debasement of women are rampant. This movie is not alone… there are thousands more.

Cable television is also a contributor in the downturn of our social mores. One has but to watch shows such as “Mind of Mencia” to understand what I’m talking about. Carlos Mencia is very funny, but he uses racial, ethnic, religious and gender based humor. Much of his humor plays on stereotypes.

Note: I mentioned one movie and one cable show by name as a means of example, not to single out either.

Although it is true that movies and cable television are subject to parental judgment, I’m quite certain that far too many children and young adults have easy access to its content. I wonder how many celebraties are proud of the negative impact they’ve had on society? 

The sole reason that inappropriate content exists is that it brings with it a constant source of revenue. For that reason, nothing is being done to stop the lifecycle of inappropriate content — except on one AM radio show, where a single stupid comment brought down the show’s host.

Instead of a public lynching for Don Imus, it’s time we take a good hard look at how our society allowed the debasement of women (and especially black women) to become so mainstream. Racial, ethnic, gender and religious stereotypes may be funny to some, but they do little to espouse the solitary truth in this chaos we call life: you judge each individual person by the content of his or her character, not by appearance.

So again, I’m left to ponder the burning question of the day… where’s the proportionality in the treatment of Don Imus?

until next time…






One Comment leave one →
  1. April 15, 2007 10:28 am

    Racism is the “term of choice” amongst the victimologists who want to paint anything they don’t like as “racism.” Hell, the call people who say tell homosexual jokes “racists.”

    Go figure.

    We’re doomed if we allow these moonbats to have their way.

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