My plate's had enough political strife on it to last until 2008 so let's dig into another meat and potatoes topic for Americans: sex and race. We Americans seem to be obsessed with both. For one, sex clearly sells in America; witness the ratings bonanza for "Sex in the City" (in syndication no less) and its suburban successor, "Desperate Housewives". Throw some racial overtones in with the sex and you really have a juicy combination. Didn't Halle Berry get an Oscar for rolling around naked with Billy Bob Thornton? See what I mean. One must remember that America is still haunted by its Puritan roots. There is a vocal segment of our population scandalized by all that is ..., well, all that is fun.
This brings us to November 15th when Monday Night Football ran a short promo for its "Desperate Housewives" show featuring Terrell Owens of the Eagles and Nicollette Sheridan (a desperate housewife). Unfortunately, I missed this one just as I did Janet Jackson's fleeting wardrobe malfunction (reached down to dip a corn chip in the salsa and, bamb, her boo b flopped out but was gone before I got my eyeballs back on the TV). As luck would have it, my eagle-eyed wife caught the MNF thing (as she did with Janet's boo b!) and, based upon her rock-solid report, no portion of Ms. Sheridan's as s or breasts were flashed to the public. As I understand it, the stunt consisted of the aforementioned housewife disrobing and jumping into Terrell Owens' arms. Terrell, being a professional receiver, made the catch.
In steps Tony Dungy, the coach of the Indianapolis Colts, a team not even involved in the MNF game on November 15. Quoting from USAToday, Coach Dungy weighed in on the "Desperate Housewives" promo with the following comment:
During a teleconference Wednesday with Chicago media, the coach brought it up at the end of the call: "I'm going to get on the soap box for a minute. I am very disappointed in ABC for what took place on Monday night. ... I've got a 12-year-old that does his homework early on Monday to watch that, and I was very, very disappointed." link.Last time I checked, pro football is a game whose indispensable feature is life threatening violence against one's fellow man. Is viewing such violence good for a 12 year old? And was the TO skit any worse than the thousands of commercials for male erectile disfunction medication bombarding NFL telecasts? Be that as it may, I grant Coach Dungy his right as a parent and citizen to voice his opinion regarding the moral decency of what he views on our nation's televisions. I don't agree with him in this instance but I can understand where he is coming from. Unfortunately, Coach Dungy failed to quit while he was still standing within the realm of reason. The guy fell off the deep end IMHO with his followup comments also quoted in USAToday:
"Number 1, I think it was racial," Dungy said. "I think it's stereotypical in looking at the players, and on the heels of the Kobe Bryant incident, I think it's very insensitive," he added, a reference to the NBA star now facing a civil suit after criminal rape charges were dropped.Say what Coach?!?!?!?! In case you missed it, the actress is white and the football player black. The "Number 1" thing that upsets Tony Dungy about the whole sordid skit is not that a woman was attempting to seduce a man to whom she was not married but, rather, that the seductress was white and the seductee a black male. Putting the two halves of Mr. Dungy's comments together, here is what the guy spewed during his telephone conference: as a black father, he is upset that his 12 year old black son was subjected to viewing a black man seduced by an attractive white woman! Heaven forbid the kid gets it into his head that it's acceptable for white women and black men to do with one another as mother nature intended. Jesus, take me back to the plantation. Somebody forgot Lincoln freed the slaves.
"I don't know. But to me that's the first thing I thought about as an African-American man, that we're going to put Terrell Owens in this situation," he said. link.
Dungy's comments are so ignorant, I don't even know where to start. Unless he was misquoted, the guy is a racist and blissfully unaware of the fact. As a white man married to a black woman, I'm personally insulted by his regressive statements. If a white football coach had said something so stupid, he surely would have been reprimanded. Why Tony Dungy gets away with it is beyond me.
"Racism" is more than mere stereotyping one based upon skin color. It also encompasses the idea of separate by equal, of building barriers between people based upon skin color. Dr. Martin Luther King fought and died not for the right of colored people to go to separate schools or ride on separate buses or eat in separate diners as good as those for whites but to actually go to school, ride on the bus, eat at a diner shoulder to shoulder with his fellow white citizens. Dr. King was an integrationist. Tony Dungy is explicitly talking about segregating black men from white women on television and, by extension, in our society as a whole. Is not this antithetical to Dr. King's stated goal of having a person judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character? Of persons of all colors joining arms as brothers and sisters regardless of race?
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. link.Tony Dungy seems to be ignorant of this dream. Shame on him. I shall not let him, and those of like mind, hold me back for I believe in the dream of Dr. King.