It’s really tough to be advocating violence. I’m sure I’ll get some ugly responses on this but I got to thinking about it today when I listened to the interview with Steven Pinker and he mentioned his forthcoming book on violence and how it has declined over the decades and even centuries.
Let’s say a White guy in OK works on an oil rig. He hunts, his two boys play football for the high school team, and he was no stranger to bar fights in his youth. He comes home one day and his wife is upset. She says the guy on the corner called their daughter a whore.
What does the guy do? Call his lawyer? Go to his pastor? Find out where the guy works and try to get him fired? Write a letter to the editor hurling vituperations at him? No, the simple response is to go over and punch the guy in the mouth.
What happened when Don Imus called a bunch of basketball playing college girls whores? People went on TV, sent angry letters to Imus’ bosses, wrote editorials, and put pressure on to get his pulpit taken away from him. What message does it send to many Whites when that happens? What message does it send when Al Sharpton gets involved?
Here’s what I think the message is, for a lot of Whites: “There go those Blacks again, getting the Liberal Establishment to give them special favors, getting a popular personality fired b/c they pull the race card on everyone. And Al Sharpton? He’s an opportunist and a rabble-rouser. Blacks just want special privileges.”
Now I like Al Sharpton and see him as a champion of people who have no voice. I cannot stand blow-hards like Imus. But I also am interested in how messages are conveyed.
Can you try this one on for size? The father of one of the girls on the team catches Imus leaving the studio and punches him in the mouth and says, “Don’t you ever call MY daughter a whore again.”
Every father and every mother would have understood that. The father may or may not have been prosecuted but I doubt Imus would have pressed charges. And he would have kept his job. He would just have realized that even if a girl and her father are Black, the consequences for calling that girl a name are the same as it would be for the White oil worker – an honest, outraged reaction. No politics, no special favors, just something everyone would have understood.