We are all aging; this is a cautionary tale about how bright and sensitive people can maintain a startling degree of ignorance. It’s also about a small but disgraceful nationally (USA) aired episode in racism and sexism.
Don Imus described Rutgers women’s basketball team in terms that were both highly racist and sexist and put in a way such that the racism and sexism compounded each other. He was fired when the sponsors got the message that his program would deter people from paying for the products advertised on it. Now he is getting back on the US airwaves and Dick Cavett, for one, is glad.
There is really no getting away from the injustice that’s been done. A program enjoyed (and missed) by millions was trashed for the sake of the few. No one who contributed to the denouement of the Imus show and the mindless abuse heaped on him has anything to be proud of.
Cavett’s most egregious comments, in my opinion, concern why Imus’ remarks shouldn’t have been taken ‘personally’:
There’s no getting around what he said, of course, but it’s worth asking under what circumstances would a man ever be justified in calling a bunch of women — of any color — by the volatile term “hos”? The first requirement, really, would be that he would have to know them. How can an insult be personal if the person delivering it and the person(s) receiving it don’t know each other?
Isn’t that just how prejudice works? If you are prejudging, then of course you don’t have to know them to do it.
One very interesting feature of Cavett’s stand on the NY Time are the responses to it. Of course there are the “yeah for free speech” and “down with political correctness” advocates, but a very, very solid set of comments say “aging white men” just don’t get how bad it all was. At least one indeed fron a self-identified aging white man.So what is the lesson to be learned? Racism and sexism reveal your age? How about: Every once in a while there’s some sign that some part of the human race is growing in its grasp of the requirements on living a decent life.