Don Imus’ remark about the Rutgers women’s basketball team shows that he need heart surgery. He needs to learn compassion towards black women in order to remove the hardness that made it so easy to disparage them.
Americans need to heal the wounds of racism. It cannot be done when people like Don use derogatory labels like nappy headed to describe black women. It is not funny. Any time a person uses a derogatory racial label—even supposedly in humor—it reproduces racism. We are reminded that black people are seen as “less than” by many people. It makes Imus feel superior, even if he is unaware of it. He showed his lack of cultural incompetent by stating that black people were the source of his words. This is similar to knowing a few words of foreign language and using it ignorantly because you don’t understand the cultural nuisances. Using the excuse merely adds salt to the wound. I like Whoopie Goldberg’s comment about Imus when she said, “I want to know why he wanted to say it?”Imus doesn’t get it, but he should not be fired. His bosses need to require that he attends cultural competence coaching before returning to work. The coaching must help him to become clear about the consequences of his behavior and what he can do to avoid such conduct in the future. This will position him and others like him to develop the competence needed to role model for all Americans how to have compassion for each other. Avoid the landmines of diversity with Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management magazine. Are you eligible for free subscription? Go to http://www.dtui.com/magazine.html to find out.
Dr. Billy Vaughn received his doctorate degree in cultural-cognitive psychology from the University of California, San Diego. He specializes in creating culturally competent leaders and organizations as chief diversity officer for Diversity Training University International. Dr. Vaughn is also editor-in-chief of Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management magazine, a knowledge sharing resource for diversity leaders.