Friday, April 13, 2007

Tale of two races

On the same day that the front page was awash with the Don Imus “Ho” business, a few column inches buried inside the sports section reported clinically that all charges against the Duke Lacrosse players had been dropped. Now it appears that the raspy titan of morning radio is done for, having met his match at the hands of Al Sharpton, that self-proclaimed guardian of public morals. If I had known prior to his gaffe, I might have advised the Don to perhaps check out his own locks in the mirror before denigrating those of others. It could have saved him his job. When I lived in Jersey more than twenty years ago, treading the same neighborhoods as my beloved Sopranos now do for an all too brief season, I used to be a regular listener. His longevity is perhaps remarkable in more ways than one. Now, in one ill-considered moment, though really how much more ill-considered than all the previous ones is open to question, it is seemingly all over – for a time at least. Perhaps the old fool got his just desserts, but I will only feel convinced that justice, swiftly served as it was, is not simply the result of a cowardly corporate accommodation of the self-serving, self-aggrandizing, publicity seeking, ego-maniacal, opportunistic likes of Mr. Sharpton and his ilk, if all the recording “artists” in the “hip-hop” trade that have profited mightily by the much worse, oh and how much worse, denigration of young women are simultaneously dumped by their recording labels. I am no expert in the music business, but I would not be surprised to learn that CBS had profited from their “art” too. It won’t happen of course.

Meanwhile the Duke students and their families are left quietly to count the cost of a lie exploited by racial motivations. How quickly the PC faculty at Duke moved to condemn them in the early days of the saga. Few are quicker than faculty members to sense the “morally” correct side of an issue to adopt to bolster their sense of academic integrity. Little did it seem to matter there was no evidence. When it did appear, the all-revealing DNA belonged to (several) other people, but to none of the accused. In my innocent way I wonder what manner of dancing involves the acquisition of so much different DNA. It would appear to have to extend beyond what I have seen on Dancing with the Stars. But I have led a sheltered life and am in any case not much of a dancer.

Now the lie is exposed, will we hear from Sharptons of this world expressing sorrow that innocent lives were irrevocably wounded by a racially motivated hoax? I am doubtful. Interestingly, I think it was when I lived in Jersey that this Mr. Sharpton first came to prominence in another racially motivated hoax which involved the fabrication of a story about a vile racial attack on a teenage black girl. When it all unfolded, I was confident we would not hear from the odious reverend again. That he has succeeded in achieving such prominence speaks volumes about the unquenchable spirit of the raving egomaniac and also the short memory of the rest of us. I think the black community would be better served by more credible leaders.

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