It's time for a quick quiz. Who are the heroes, villains and victims in the following scenarios?
Scenario 1: A radio talk-show host, Don Imus, calls the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos." Eight of the 10 women are black.
Scenario 2: Three white lacrosse players from Duke are falsely charged with raping a black stripper. After they are wrongly prosecuted, the prosecutor is brought before the state bar association on ethics charges.
These are not trick questions. The villain in scenario one is clearly Imus; the Rutgers women were victims. The villains in scenario two are the prosecutor and the stripper; the Duke players were victims.
Wrong. The press has treated the Rutgers women as heroes and the Duke players as lepers.
There is no such thing as a simple victim with regard to interracial conduct as far as the press is concerned. Blacks victimized by whites aren't just victims -- they're heroes. Whites victimized by blacks aren't just victims -- they're quasi-villains.
The Rutgers women are terrific basketball players with bright futures who were insulted by a moronic shock jock. But just what have they done to earn the laurels placed upon them?
Members of the team have played their victimization to the hilt. One stated that she had been "scarred for life" by Imus' comments. Heather Zurich, a white sophomore forward, stated that "all of our accomplishments were lost ... we were stripped of this moment by the degrading comments made by Mr. Imus." The Philadelphia Inquirer calls them "wounded heroes."
Really, now. If these women are heroes, so is every 5th-grader who has ever been called a racial slur on the playground. These women have gotten positive national attention -- attention they otherwise would not have received -- because an idiot called them a nasty name.
Before we label the Rutgers players heroes, let's take a look at Jackie Robinson. Robinson, whose first Major League Baseball appearance occurred 50 years ago this week, faced down name-calling, an attempted boycott by certain teammates, purposeful spikings and an unending stream of death threats. He exhibited the uttermost class and dignity. In going about his job with such quiet courage, he helped shatter the institutional racism that pervaded American society.
Robinson was a victim of the deepest sort of racism -- and a hero in how he dealt with it. The Rutgers players were victims of an idiotic comment -- their victimhood alone does not make them heroes.
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