Veronicolumn: Ignorance is not so blissful

By Gus Bode

I don’t know what people in the spotlight could be thinking. It seems like every couple of months, a celebrity or public figure makes a fool out of himself or herself by saying something really stupid.

This week, radio host Don Imus has offered apologies all over America for calling Rutgers University’s basketball team a group of “nappy-headed hos.” Imus claims he didn’t think the comment was funny but was clearly laughing while saying it.

This isn’t the first time that a bonehead celebrity has made an offensive comment. We all remember Michael Richards, don’t we? And let’s not forget Mel Gibson.

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Do people in the public spotlight realize that they have eyes and ears on them at all times? Yes.

Do they care? No.

What’s amazing to me is the fact that these famous people are willing to spit fire with the words that they spew, but they can’t stand the smoke that comes after. It seems like the entertainers actually believe that they will get away with saying the most offensive, anti-Semitic or racist statements in the 21st Century.

But what can we do about this? What does apologizing on Al Sharpton’s radio show accomplish?

Absolutely nothing. You said what you said because it was a reflection of your own thoughts and views. You’ve been exposed and a simple “I’m sorry” won’t cut it.

We could say that we would like to educate these people and expose them to cultures that are not their own.

But, the people who make these statements have probably been to more places and exposed to more cultures than the average man or woman. They should be more accepting and understanding than anyone else.

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It’s only recently, however, that reprimands and consequences have been levied against people who say stupid things. After Hurricane Katrina, President Bush’s mother, Barbara, was quoted as saying, “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them.”

That’s a damn shame. I see where the president gets his foolishness. Was she attacked for it? Mildly. People let her off the hook because of her age. But ignorance has no age limit. Regardless what time period you grew up in, you have to outgrow the ignorance and hatred of the past.

Maybe we can’t do anything about the prejudices in older generations but we can teach the young to be open-minded.

Imus has learned something from the situation. He learned to watch his mouth on the air. As for learning a life lesson, he probably won’t change. He probably won’t be able to pick up new sponsors, but he does have enough money and supporters that he will land on his feet.

Unfortunately, it seems like it is getting harder and harder to be a black woman today. Not only do we have people such as Imus insulting us on a national level, but we also have to deal with it in our own communities.

Instead of being regarded as the backbone of a community, we are often treated as next to nothing. But just like in hard times, we will continue to hold our heads high.

Because I know that we are more than just some “nappy-headed hos.”

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