As despicable as the comments of Justin Stewart, Ishma Pinckney, and Eric Dobbins are, I'm comforted to know that, in 20 or 30 years (ideally much sooner), those comments in the public record will come back to haunt them as relics of an ignorant, intolerant past. I feel sorry for their offspring, who will have to confront what hateful people their parents once were and might continue to be. 50 years ago, the mixes of the races was considered ungodly, too. Those who still hold such views today are blights on our society.
What I have learned from the Imus flap, and I embarrassed that it has taken me so long to learn this, is that those who are not in the group offended by an epithet can't fully appreciate the hurt that comes with it.
At first, it may make sense to think, "Ann Coulter is just a mean-spirited woman who says things to get a rise out of others; get over it!" But imagine if you're gay or care about someone who is gay, and you hear the word "faggot" get laughs and then here people defend her use of the word and blaming you for feeling hurt by it.
At first, I didn't think "nappy headed ho" was that big of a deal, because I wasn't aware just how degrading a comment it was to African-Americans. But I've since had a window into the pain the remarks caused. The Rutgers women, through no fault of their own, are forever linked with those comments. They didn't seek to be victims. They're only recourse now is to handle their victimhood with strength and class.
The next time you hear someone call someone else a faggot or a nigger or another epithet, even if it's made in the spirit of humor or self-deprecation, realize that the words cause a lot of people a lot of pain.
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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