Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Worthless Wars of Words

Tiger OK with 'lynch' remark, but Sharpton ready for battle

Because Al Sharpton has launched himself into the position of being the most vocal member in the efforts of advancing the African-American race, I would like to say that he has helped his people in countless ways. But that would be a lie. I am not saying that he has done no good. I'm sure he has. But as usual, I think he has gone too far in fighting what really amounts to a ridiculous and unimportant battle.

Last week, Kelly Tilghman, an announcer for the Golf Channel, caused a very mild scandal when she made a joke about young golfers lynching Tiger Woods. The comment was in response to a joke her co-announcer made in regards to how the other players would try to compete against the phenom. It was an ill-conceived comment, made in the heat of the moment. I for one have made lynch-mob jokes, thinking in my mind more of the witch-hunt aspect of the idea, than the intense racial undertones. However, I am not on television and I do agree that her lapse in judgement was worthy of a slap on the wrist. Tiger Woods himself was content to just shrug it off.

But Rev. Al Sharpton once again felt it necessary to mount his horse, raise his battle flag, and demand that she be fired. CNN compared it to the Don Imus fiasco. But here's the thing: Don Imus has a tradition of making malicious and controversial jokes for the sake of being malicious and controversial. Imus crossed a line when he made an attack that was both sexist and racist against a group of very young women. He too probably didn't fully think of the consequences and the depth of meaning of his words, but Imus, as aforementioned, made his name, his fortune, from towing the line of what is and isn't appropriate. Tilgham just likes to talk about golf. She made a small mistake and her friend, Tiger Woods, forgave her.

Perhaps this is a bigger deal than I'm making it out to be because of golf's history of deeply rooted racism...But I still have a better idea for Al Sharpton. Instead of going after public figures who make public snafus, why not work on getting equal education for blacks in public schools? Instead of wasting so much time trying to get media attention, why not try to get the attention of the youth stuck in a cycle of violence? Instead of worrying about what white people are doing wrong, why not try to help blacks do what is right?

Suggested reading: White Guilt by Shelby Steele

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