New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow evaluates the aftermath of Roland Martin’s Super Bowl Twitter scandal. He says that the lesson learned involves more than being politically correct. It's about being sensitive to those being singled out.
… I follow Martin on Twitter. I know that he likes to joke and tease. I have even joked with him. So I can believe that, in his mind, he may have thought that these were just harmless jokes in which the violence was fictional and funny.
But in the real world — where bullying and violence against gays and lesbians, or even those assumed to be so, is all too real — “jokes” like his hold no humor. There are too many bruised ribs and black eyes and buried bodies for the targets of this violence to just lighten up and laugh.
We all have to understand that effects can operate independent of intent, that subconscious biases can move counter to conscious egalitarianism, and that malice need not be present within the individual to fuel the maliciousness of the society at large.
(This is not to say that Martin has been egalitarian on this front. In fact, a widely cited 2006 post on his Web site suggests otherwise. In it, he criticized the Rev. Al Sharpton for appealing to black churches “to become more accepting and embracing of homosexuality.” Martin wrote that gays and lesbians “are engaged, in the eyes of the church, in sinful behavior.” Furthermore, he said, “My wife, an ordained Baptist minister for 20 years, has counseled many men and women to walk away from the gay lifestyle, and to live a chaste life.” And he compared homosexuals to adulterers, disobedient children, alcoholics and thieves.)
Read Charles M. Blow's entire column at the New York Times.