The Luxury of Our Sensitivity

We are pretty freaking lucky when the person who said, "nappy-headed hos" on air can be the subject of so much attention. We are even luckier when people like Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson can get so much much attention for attacking the man who said "nappy-headed hos." We are lucky that there is a thing called the "Final Four" where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent so we can watch curly-headed, bald-headed, buzz-cut-headed, stringy-hair-headed, and fuzzy-headed women and men run up and down a hardwood court putting a round ball in a basket. The Rutgers women's basketball team is lucky that their lives can be "destroyed" by these comments. Everyone is lucky, lucky, lucky.

To understand our luck let's first consider the unlucky. The unlucky would be those 24,000 people across the globe (mostly children under 5) who die every day because of poverty. The unlucky are the nearly 9,000 people who die every day because of HIV/AIDS. The unlucky are the billions who live on less than $1 a day. The unlucky are the ones who live on garbage piles.

Is what Don Imus said offensive? Absolutely. It is disgraceful. It is offensive to African-Americans, it is offensive to women (something that hasn't been talked about nearly as much), it is offensive to a team of fine young women at Rutgers who accomplished much. I am the father of three daughters. If someone I knew said that about one of them I would be tempted to turn the other cheek after I did something else to him.

We are, however, selectively offended and here, now, we need some proportionality. We need to see ourselves in a broader context and put weight on the things that matter and
stop filling our lives with the insignificant at the price of the significant. Turn on your cable news today. Log the number of hours spent on Imus. Listen to radio and do the same. Open your newspapers tomorrow and measure column inches. Then do the same for things like poverty, HIV/AIDS, cancer, genocide. What is the relative weight given to each?

Debates about equality and civil rights are important. It appears, however, debating is all we do while watching a world of hell with a blind eye.