Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, the former campaign manager of Al Gore, referred to the Republican Party as having a "white-boy attitude." This means, she said, "[The GOP] must exclude, denigrate, and leave behind." No apology, no explanation. Imagine if President Bush's aide, Karl Rove, made a similar remark about Democrats: "They have a black-boy attitude, in which they try to cater to and garner black votes." Rove, just ahead of a brigade of pitchforks, would have left D.C. under cover of darkness.
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, complained about the then-Republican controlled Congress, saying, "It's not 'spic' or 'n--ger' any more. They say 'let's cut taxes.'" So tax cuts equal racism?!
Respected director Spike Lee, in a magazine interview after he released a movie about an interracial relationship, said he disapproved of interracial couples. "I give interracial couples a look," he said. "Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street." No apology, no explanation, none demanded.
What about the notion that a private, taped conversation can threaten the loss of your job? Good people, both publicly and privately, try to conduct themselves with respect and civility. But how many of us could survive public scrutiny if someone recorded and released to the public our worst, most hideous private outbursts?
Does an outburst from a man like Dog truly affect one's self-esteem and self-respect? When I worked for a law firm as a young attorney in Cleveland, I once took the deposition of an orthopedic surgeon. The white opposing attorney and I sparred aggressively during the depo, but we respected each other's professionalism. So when we finished, we stood chatting in front of the doctor's office. Soon a raggedy car full of young whites slowly drove by, and one yelled, "Hey, n--ger! It's almost sundown! Get out of town!"
The jaw of my opposing attorney nearly hit the pavement, and he said, "Did you . . . did you -- ?"
I said, "And you were saying . . . ?"
The attorney again stammered, "Did you . . . did you hear?"
"Sure, I heard," I said. "But, look. I'm standing here, making [in today's dollars nearly $150,000], wearing a three-piece pinstripe blue suit, and carrying a leather briefcase. And those punks, who didn't even have enough guts to stop before calling me n--ger, probably couldn't even get a job working the deep-fry at McDonald's. No, it's going to take a lot more than that to ruin my day. Now, as you were saying . . . ?"
Can Dog's racism stop a child from doing his or her homework, from achieving in school, from graduating and going to college, or from applying for and getting a job? I think not.
I gave little thought to Duane "Dog" Chapman yesterday, and I intend to sleep soundly tonight.