The Meaning of the Imus Firing

Now that Don Imus’s radio and television shows are safely buried in the cemetery, his racist and sexist comments his epitaph, we need
to ponder the meaning of the entire affair for our body politic.

The ultimate effect of the episode is going to be far-reaching, permanent and profound. It makes a statement once and for all that ethnic and sexist humor is not admissible on the public airwaves. And it's about time!

Don Imus’s essential sin is that he makes racism, sexism and
ethnic hatred fun and entertaining. It is his very humor that makes
him more offensive and dangerous than the most vitriolic of demagogues.
Now all the shock jocks around the country are going to have to clean up
their acts.
I recently read Amazing Grace by Eric Metexas, a biography
of William Wilberforce, the British leader who led the successful battle
to ban the slave trade internationally and slavery in Britain in the early
19th century. His core mission, in his own words, was “a reformation of
manners.” Impelled by his religious awakening, he saw barbarism in the
society around him manifested by bull-baiting, dog and cock fighting,
abuse of horses and other animals (he founded the SPCA) and, above all, by
slavery.

We need a “reformation of manners” in our society today and the firing of Don Imus is an important step toward that worthy goal. By banning him from the airwaves, we do not allow hatred to be sold as humor or racism to be merchandized as racy joking.

May this reformation spread to other public forms of racism
and sexism, whether on MTV, in rap music, or vis-à-vis its other
manifestations!

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