As anyone who hasn’t been living on the planet Mars recently must surely know, there was a big furor last week over remarks by veteran broadcaster Don Imus. His injudicious use of racist and sexist remarks about the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball team got him fired from his job. His show, “Imus in the Morning,” had been carried on 61 stations and generated $20 million in revenues for CBS last year.
Though I won’t repeat Imus’ remarks here, it is clear why they generated so much reaction. Anytime a person is negatively labeled because of gender or race, this affronts our shared human dignity. And we should be especially careful here, for this has not always been such an obvious evil. It took the civil rights and women’s rights movements to raise our awareness, and the work is not yet finished.
Do we as a culture have other blind spots? I think we do. There is another assault on human dignity at work in our midst, only this one based on geography. A whole class of persons has only provisional rights, all because of where they live. Furthermore, the cost of this affrontery is far greater than the indignities suffered by the Rutgers women. For this group, being second-class citizens threatens their very lives.
I am, of course, referring to the unborn. Why are we so quick to recognize prejudice when we hear it in the voice of a cynical sportscaster, but ignore the taking of life through abortion? In fact, we don’t even notice, let alone become outraged.