Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Nineteen: Sensitive Insensitivities & the Sensitive Hypocrites Who Get Sensitive By Them

I guess the term “political correctness” is at an all-time high these days. 

I say that because it seems that every time someone says a few things that may not be nice, there are legions of people coming after them. It never fails: from new reports, to “satirized” TV shows, to the radio; if there is an outlet, there will be uproar. Now, not that this necessarily is a bad thing, that’s one of the main reasons why America is so great: freedom of speech, either to agree or disagree with someone’s point-of-view. I’m pretty sure someone has taken a beef to some of the episodes on this blog, and I can appreciate that. If anything, it just meant to me you actually took the time to think about what was said. 

What I mean in this context is the fact that most of these sensitive issues are normally marred in hypocrisy as well. That is to say, people will get mad if one person says something, but look the other way – for whatever reason – when someone else says the exact same thing. Case in point: Shock jock legend Howard Stern’s comments earlier this month. 

Now, Mr. Stern has for the better part of 20 years, succeed in riling up the masses with controversial radio and TV shows. On this particular incident, the self-proclaimed “King of All Media” made a statement about an actress by the name of Gabourey Sidibe, who played a young lady named Precious in the movie of the same name, Precious. While the movie itself won multiple Academy Awards, Stern criticized the lead actress over her large stature, saying, “There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous”, as well as stating that she wouldn’t be able to get another starring movie role due to her appearance. 

Whether he was doing this out of spite, or just poking fun at Ms. Sidibe, the public outcry began. Many African-American celebrities, including Tyler Perry and Oprah began to speak out about Mr. Stern’s harsh words over the airwaves. Now, I wouldn’t mind this, with exception to the fact that Stern wasn’t alone in his sentiment. Not long before that, Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx, who also has a radio show, mocked Ms. Sidibe, where he named her “The Notorious P.R.E.C.I.O.U.S.”, a reference to now-deceased rapper Christopher ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ Wallace, who was a very large man himself. However, there really wasn’t any backlash at all aimed at Mr. Foxx for his jokes. 

So, my question is, where does the hypocrisy stop? How does Foxx get a pass to crash on Ms. Sidibe and Stern doesn’t? Who regulates these things, and when will the double-standard on ‘free speech’ come to a halt? This is all too familiar when race gets involved, how one race will let the antagonist of the same color slide while another from the different race gets crucified in the media. Have we already forgotten the case of Don Imus vs. the Rutgers women’s basketball team? (This seems ironic today, seeing that Stern & Imus were almost arch enemies years ago at NBC.) I didn’t agree with Imus calling the players “nappy-headed hos” just as the majortiy of America, but he didn’t say anything that isn’t rhymed-out on tracks by ignorant rappers or made up in comedy sketches on an almost regular basis. However, for the most part, simply because he was a white guy insulting young black women, black people everywhere called for his head. 

Now, I’m not defending Imus, Stern, or Foxx. I’m stating it makes little to no sense at all condemning one person for their actions, while allowing someone else walk away scott-free for nearly the same thing. That really doesn’t teach anything to our youth other than favoritism can be a tolerable thing. If we’re going to call it ‘free speech’ in America let’s keep it that way. (Other than the comments made by Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. Those were just downright inexcusable.) Either hold everyone to the same standard of political correctness or let everyone freely speak their mind, regardless of consequences. Stop getting so sensitive all the damn time about what someone says just of general principle.

 Then again, maybe this is just another reason of why people always say, “Freedom Ain’t Free…”

3/18/2010

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