Editors' Note: THE FOLLOWING COLUMN CONTAINS LANGUAGE THAT MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME READERS. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION.
In the crosshairs: Duane "Dog" Chapman.
Move over comedian Michael Richards, former baseball player John Rocker, former Dodger general manager Al Campanis, former CBS analyst Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder -- all of whom suffered for "anti-black" remarks.
Chapman hosts the top-rated A&E reality show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" where he and his family track down and turn in bail jumpers. The National Enquirer obtained tapes of two telephone conversations between Chapman and his son. Angered by his son's relationship with a black woman, Dog released a flurry of "n-words." He feared, according to the minute-and-a-half audio released of the conversation, that the son's "n-word" girlfriend might tape Dog using the n-word -- he admits that he uses the word liberally -- and she'd release the tape to the public.
Dog clumsily explained to his son that he didn't dislike all blacks, but he does use the n-word, and the girlfriend might tape him using the epithet and release it to the public. America "wouldn't understand" and he would lose "everything we got."
Much to Dog's dismay, someone taped this telephone conversation with his son -- his son.
The fast and furious reaction followed. A&E cancelled his show, and Duane "Dog" Chapman issued a statement of apology, apologized again on "Larry King," and he asked for the now-obligatory meeting with Reverend Al Sharpton for a grant of absolution.
Chapman certainly deserves condemnation for his racist tirade. But does it really surprise us that a man arrested over a dozen times and imprisoned for accessory to murder possesses a dirty and racist private vocabulary?
And what about statements made by serious, respected people who make racist, offensive remarks in public -- without apology, explanation or any condemnation?
Take Sharpton. The reverend once called the Central Park Jogger a "whore" and accused her boyfriend of the horrific crime. No apology. He falsely accused a white man of sexually assaulting Tawana Brawley. A grand jury later found Brawley's claims of assault completely fabricated. Though a jury found Sharpton liable for defamation, he refuses to apologize.