4.13.2007

The Harder Conversation

I won't say what it is about, but my wife and I have a recurring
fight. But we get to that fight not by talking about the issue
directly, but rather by sniping at each other about paint colors or
groceries or dirty dishes. Why? Because it's easier to get uppity
about those things than it is to have the harder conversation about
the deeper issues, even though that harder conversation is the more
important one to have.

I bring this up in light of the recent Don Imus hoo-hay. Both black
and white leaders have tripped over themselves scolding Imus' racist
and sexist remarks. The level of righteous indignation is impressive,
to say the least.

Look, I'm not condoning what Imus said. My wife has listened to him
before and she tells me he's a blathering idiot. I do understand that
words hurt, and not did Imus do wrong in saying those words, but he
did wrong in thinking those thoughts.

Nevertheless, I am disappointed that, like me when it comes to
fighting with my wife, both black and white leaders have chosen the
easier conversation rather than the harder, more important one. Black
leaders have learned that scolding white foul-mouths makes you look
good, while scolding black foul-mouths, like Bill Cosby did a few
years back, gets you in trouble. White leaders, on the other hand,
can feel good about singling out blatantly racist and sexist behavior
instead of dealing with their own, more nuanced contributions to the
problems of race and sex in our country. Either way, Imus makes an
easy target.

I'm not saying we shouldn't send our tsk-tsks his way; clearly he
deserves whatever ill will people are throwing at him. But let's stop
hiding behind such an easy target and get to the harder but more
important conversations that we need to have with ourselves and
others.

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