Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Empty Words - Apologies Require Action

I have a simple morning routine: first review the latest news headlines, then update my social media posts as I enjoy a cup of coffee.  Today I read another story about Rapper Macklemore's insulting performance in Seattle last week.  In the same manner as so many other stars before him, those who stepped over the line of performance into the realm of degradation, Mr. Macklemore has promptly issued an apology for his faux pas against Jewish folk.

It occurred to me that many of these famous people follow a predictable pattern of shock and awe, immediately followed by a drawn out period of apologetic public regret.  Few of us are actually fooled by these gestures of remorse, recognizing the entire episode instead as an orchestrated publicity stunt.  Yet, in devotion to our beloved entertainers, we soon forgive, forget, and renew our financial support for the humbled performer. 

In fact, we follow a similar behavioral pattern with our more common peers.  Is it wrong that we forgive an occasional thoughtless snippet of backbiting of a friend towards another person?  Not necessarily; however, it depends on the context in which the "slander" is carried out.  If your friend has just used a stereotypical insult, and he also happens to be a police officer, for instance, you need to let him know that this is not acceptable dialogue for a man in a position of power.  Otherwise, you are affirming his ignorance.

The biggest issue with the slippery slope of so-called "harmless"condescending banter, is the desensitising tendency it fosters to the point where others face systematic abuse.  To illustrate, when your friend constantly calls women "hoes," he is promoting a sexist culture that views women as being inferior and deceptive.  You have a moral obligation to say "hey man, that is not cool."  In doing so, you are prompting your friend to acknowledge his harmful behavior, and most importantly, to change it.