Have We Lost All Sense of Proportion?

by on April 11th, 2007

Don Imus’ deplorable remark about the Rutgers Women’s basketball team being “nappy-headed ho’s” deserved to be met with harsh criticism. However, what we actually got was a reaction that was way out of proportion to the original action. Even some otherwise-intelligent people helped lead the charge and carry the whole backlash to ridiculous levels. I’m starting to wonder if there would have been any more outrage, had Mr. Imus killed some of those women.

Yes, what Imus said was both racist and sexist. But we must also remember that they were only words. Why do we have to be so fanatical about them? And who the heck cares what some silly talk show host has to say anyway? Why can’t everyone just ignore him and move on? If some popular on-the-air blowhard were to say, for instance, that all 46-year-old white male Protestants were cross-dressing Nazis, I wouldn’t lose one second of sleep over it. I wouldn’t be protesting. I wouldn’t be demanding that he be taken off the air. I have more important things to do than worry about someone’s empty words. I’m not that petty.

That’s what I can’t understand about what’s been turned into “Imusgate.” With a world full of terrorism, war, AIDS, poverty, starvation, natural disasters, illiteracy, out-of-wedlock births, soaring drop-out rates, abortions-on-demand, and the like, don’t we all have more important things to be concerned about? While Imus’ offense is not trivial in the least, it pales in comparison to these things. The ironic thing is that many of these issues disproportionately affect the communities of those who are screaming the loudest about Imus’ transgression. It seems that they’re more worried about what someone said than they are about the many blights of modern inner-city life.

Let’s save our outrage for real creeps and people who are actual dangers to society, like those who murder, rape, molest small children, assault, kidnap, intimidate, rob, steal, burn churches, deal illegal drugs, and defraud. Once we get all of these people off our streets and behind bars, then perhaps we’ll have time to sit around and parse words and wring our hands over what to do about those who utter offensive ones.

Terry Mitchell