Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Grace, Class, and Civility

During the current Imus firestorm, my stomach has churned and tightened into a hard knot, as it becomes more and more apparent how much more polarized and uncivilized our nation has grown to be. Racism and misogyny are alive and well in America. Even the comments at Practical Theory are evidence of this polarization and lack of civility. Chris has had to say:
”I just want to say that I am deleting any comments that devolve into personal attack. This is an issue that certainly is passionate and certainly people can disagree, however, comments that attack other commentors personally, instead of living in the world of ideas have no place.”
I had hoped that the Rutgers team would stay above the fray by remaining out of it. Initially I was dismayed when I learned they had agreed to meet with Imus. And then, on the Today Show, I was privileged to hear two very intelligent, very articulate, very classy ladies whose grace and civility reduced me to tears, coach C. Vivian Stringer and team captain Essence Carson. You can view the interview here. At one point Coach Stringer said:
“The society is what it is because of those in leadership roles…. If we don’t set the example, there can’t be a return to real decency. It starts with each one of us and what we do. As much as I would love to win a national championship, I would gladly exchange a national championship in order for there to be a better America.”
What can we each do today in order for there to be a better America?


Chris Lehmann said...

I've been pretty dismayed about the comments... and then I realized that a google search on "Fire Don Imus" brings up my blog as the first hit. (Go figure.)

Even so, it's sad to me to see the level of discourse so quickly degenerates.

As to what do we do? I teach. :)

Lani said...

Hi Chris,

And you're also such a great model with your blog and the activities at SLA (remembering the deep thoughtful discussions from last fall).

I'm hoping there are educators who see the Rutgers team and coach response as a really teachable moment-- of how to respond with grace and dignity as they stand up for change!