2007-04-20 / On Second Thought

It's not a criticism, it's an observation.

Different shades of bigotry
Mike Cox

Mike Cox

On the day Don Imus was fired from MSNBC, North Carolina dropped all charges against the Duke lacrosse players. The next day, as everyone jumped on the Imus publicity train, the Durham County DA made a lame apology to three young men who spent the last several months in hell.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton threw women and children aside to get in front of TV cameras and express their outrage over the Imus comments, just as they did when the lacrosse players were first accused.

Neither Jackson nor Sharpton offered any kind of comment, much less apology, for their verbal lynching of the white North Carolina students wrongly accused of rape and racism.

Hall of Fame Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer went on and on about how Imus' comments caused irreparable harm to her team and all women ever born. I guess none of her players are familiar with Big Booty Hoes, by Notorious B.I.G.

A few columnists writing about Imus expressed concern and surprise because white people didn't seem as offended as African Americans. Unlike Jesse and Al, I don't claim to speak for my race, whether Caucasian or human. But personally, I like a little consistency in my outrage.

Don Imus is an idiot; has been for a long time. He deserves to be vilified for his description of a group of outstanding student athletes. I don't deserve to be linked to him because we share the same skin color. And it gets harder and harder for me to support political opportunists who always claim outrage when the target is an easy one. It is tougher to stay popular and make money when your stance involves pointing out problems with difficult solutions. Ask Bill Cosby.

When young African Americans embrace a prison culture glorifying drugs and violence, it's hard to get worked up over the comments of an obscure shock jock no one listens to.

Hold a news conference and denounce 50 Cent and I'll get involved. Get Al and Jesse to be offended about the lack of fathers in the black community or the disdain for doing well in school, and I'll stand next to them singing We shall Overcome.

I want someone, anyone, to find fault with the young woman who wrongly accused the three students at Duke. I want Vivian Stringer to talk for 30 minutes about how their lives are ruined; because they really are. The rape charge will follow them forever. Their accuser is not even being identified, much less charged with slander or making false accusations. The only perceived culprit in this mess is the DA, a white man.

Political activists of all colors have made good careers by pointing out the racism still evident in the white community. It is easy to find. But so are real solutions to long time social issues.

If you allow Jesse and Al to speak for you, you've got enough problems, but don't expect me to join the fight until we address all bigotry and injustice, not just the white kind.

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