The Power of the Press; Journalists Mustn't Forget: What Goes around Comes Around
Byline: Deborah Simmons, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The National Association of Black Journalists is giving new meaning to the term "affirmative action." Immediately after the verbal assault on the Rutgers basketball team following the women's NCAA tourney, NABJ spoke out about the Don Imus affair, which became both the eye of a storm over political correctness and a new front in the culture war. If NABJ actually follows through with its ambitious plan to push the media toward taking a leading role to "really transform America" on the issue of race, then God bless us everyone.
The last time America had a national discussion on race was 1997, and it was at the behest of Bill Clinton. Prior to that was 1968 and the Kerner report, which concluded that there were two Americas: "one black, one white, separate and unequal."
Today, with (legal and illegal) Hispanic populations growing at a rate that surpasses black America's and white America's, the need for further dialoguing might end up proving that how our "communities" speak to and speak about one another just might be, to borrow a popular euphemism, in the mouth of the beholder.
We can't all just get along.
The year after the Clinton initiative, only one-third of us said that race relations had improved, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Equally insightful was that 52 percent of us said relations are about the same, while only 34 percent of us weren't even paying attention to the Clinton race initiative.
It should go without saying that we aren't born of this world hating or even disliking other human beings. We usually reach a certain level of maturity and come to understand that some things - race, ancestry and nationality - are beyond our control.
Yet as Americans continue to mistakenly use quotas to battle imaginary discrimination, we must ask whether we, Americans, are helping or hurting ourselves.
Ignorance and lack of moral clarity can easily distract.
When people like Don Imus and Rush Limbaugh use racially offensive language, we are morally obligated to speak out.
When people like Rosie O'Donnell and Snoop Dogg grab their crotches and say something offensive, we are morally obligated to speak out.
We can't all get along, but we can all speak our minds like the civilized human beings we are.
That's exceptionally true for journalists. Individually and collectively we should speak truth to power. …