Comments like Imus’ becoming too common
April 12, 2007
On April 4 syndicated talk show host Don Imus brought the wrath of anyone with a soul with his bigoted comments related to African- American student-athletes on the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
There are those who will say Imus’ comments are a perfect synopsis of why freedom of speech can be dangerous. But, in fact, this is the exact reason freedom of speech is so important. How else would a jackass like Imus be exposed if we didn’t have freedom of speech? People like him would just wait in the wings and make their backhanded racist jokes. They would be able to stay hidden and perpetuate their bigoted stereotypes and pass them down to future generations. Now that Imus has brought this issue to the forefront maybe we can begin to deal with this dangerous type of individual. For too long we have just accepted that there will be idiots that will say just about anything to get a rise out of people. Any cretin can come up with some lame riot inciting commentary to raise the ire of the rational majority. Hell, just take a look at Mr. Evans’ weekly drivel.
One has to wonder if Imus would be as apologetic for his recent bigoted comments he made recently if he hadn’t already been hit in the pocket book for about $500,000 in advertising for his show. But that’s besides the true point here. Why do we continually have to deal with this type, what some people consider, ‘humor’? Don’t get me wrong, I like good comedy, but this focus on using stereotypes to get a laugh has gotten a little out of hand. Just ask Dave Chappelle who gave up a $55- million contract because he realized that his parodying of stereotypes had gone too far. One of the problems with all this hate and bigotry, in my opinion, is the constant celebrating and emphasizing of differences people of all races are encouraged to perform.
Don’t get me wrong here; people should celebrate and appreciate each other’s differences. But, just like everything else in life, it should be enjoyed in moderation, and not rubbed in the faces of others. No one likes a braggart, and lets face it, some people just don’t appreciate or enjoy some of these differences. “For every action, there is an equal, but opposite, reaction force,” according to Sir Isaac Newton’s law of reciprocal actions; in my opinion that theory can be applied here.
I think the real solution to all this is to de-emphasize the celebration of our differences and put more of an emphasis toward celebrating some of our positive similarities, like the fact that the majority of us were completely outraged by Imus’ idiotic comments, or the Rutgers players who are willing to be the bigger people in this situation and meet with Imus to hear his personal apology. Something needs to change in our society. We need to change some of the prevailing attitudes and stop putting so much focus on the greatness of individuals and particular groups. Then, and only then, will all of the hatred and bigotry come to an end.
Nick Sortedahl is a student at UW-River Falls.