I’ve written before on taking responsibility for your actions. It’s also key to take responsibility for your REactions.
The flap over Imus’s racial slur is amazing. Yes, he used a phrase that was offensive. But what’s amazing is the incredible, over-the-top display of utter hypocrisy and self-deprecation that’s come from everyone else involved in the controversy.
We may not like to admit it, but Imus used a phrase straight from gangsta rap culture. That culture is primarily created and driven by the African-American community. They write and produce the songs, they sell the songs, they buy the songs. They play the sounds millions of times. Everyone makes money, and no one seems to care at the societal consequences. Even with Imus’s comment, the rest of the media has ironically repeated it two thousand times, thus driving home the association between his comment and the basketball team, in case anyone might have missed it first time around.
But the most horrible part about this episode is the stampede as everyone lines up as a victim. A TV anchor commented, “These wonderful athletes had their victory ruined by a racist slur…” Excuse me? How did 3 words from Imus ruin their victory? They have free will. They can choose to focus on their victory, and it becomes a victory. Or, they can choose to focus on Imus’s slur, and their life becomes a slur. If they choose to ignore the achievements they’ve trained for for years, and instead let one radio DJ’s comment set their entire tone, that’s their choice.
This is your choice, too. When someone insults you, makes a bigoted slur, or puts you down, you can choose how to respond. Respond from a place of victimhood, and that’s the life you write for yourself. Respond from a place of confidence and power, and that script is yours, as well. It’s your choice; choose wisely.
(African-American journalist Jason Whitlock addresses the issue in a nice article.)