Those who demanded that Don Imus be fired should really try to explain how Comedy Central is merely using a humor context in its aggravated use of hurtful insults, and is thereby innocent and untouched.
For its part, "South Park" tried to have it both ways. After exploiting the controversy of using the N-word 42 times in the episode, the program concludes with one of the leading white children on the show stupidly suggesting he'll never understand how the N-word hurts when it's used.
Bizarrely, people who want the N-word abolished actually turned around and praised "South Park" for its 42-N-word episode. On CNN, Kovon and Jill Flowers, who co-founded the organization Abolish the "N" Word, proclaimed that in this case using the slur constantly was appropriate. "This show, in its own comedic way, is helping to educate people about the power of this word and how it feels to have hate language directed at you."
But the people who enjoy "South Park" and watched this episode weren't focusing on any grand moral lesson. They enjoyed the typical "South Park" plotline that the sensitivity police -- people who argue for civility and against coarse language -- should be the ones ridiculed. The central laugh for most was the cartoon Jesse Jackson demanding an apology that included kissing his bare buttocks, captured by a photographer. But try finding Jesse Jackson or his Rainbow-PUSH organization picketing Comedy Central for that episode.
If the NAACP and other groups don't want to look like very arbitrary and selective protesters of racial insensitivity, they could reconsider their support -- through their silence -- of the cable industry's status quo. If their goal is a culture that honors and inspires blacks, they have a lot more territory than Don Imus' show to condemn.
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