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 Ann Coulter Reply


 April, 2007


 Ann Coulter - In slight agreement with Ann Coulter on Imus

I’m Left-handed and Proud

By Al Owens
I’m left-handed. I didn’t choose to be left-handed, but I am. It’s nothing more than one aspect of my existence. The fact is I stir my coffee with my left hand while most Americans stir their coffee with their right.

Some people consider my left-handedness to be a “condition”. They go out of their way to let me know what I’ve known for 58 years – I’m not right-handed. The repeated signals I’m sent about this leads me to believe that people who aren’t right handed have some kind of flaw that can never be overcome. So much so, that even a mere mention of it, when that particular part of me doesn’t need to be mentioned, can be painful.

Oh, I guess when I’m around other people who share this so-called “condition” we may kid each other in ways that right-handed people could never understand.

But we know that there were times when people who favored their left hands had them bound to prevent them from developing full blown left-handedness. My mother even told me when she was a child, her teachers would see she was writing with her left hand and they’d use rulers to try to slap the left-handedness out of her.

Fortunately, that overt mistreatment of young left-handers rarely exists today. More subtle ways of calling attention to our supposed differences have now become commonplace – but they’re still as painful!

I hope you know by now, that this has nothing whatsoever to do with which hand I choose to stir my coffee. It’s about how this stuff has to stop!

On April 4th, 2007 Don Imus re-opened our long festering national wound. He didn’t have to do it, but he did. And ever since, there has been non-stop hand-wringing, name-calling, apologies and self-examination of matters the greatest country on earth can’t figure out a way to avoid.

Imus could very well have mentioned the left-handedness of those young ladies who’d lost in their noble attempt to bring glory to Rutgers University the night before. And that, too, would have sent this country into a frenzy, if the repeated mentions of what hand a person favors implied their inferiority. Not when that had nothing to do with a basketball game.
This week, Ann Coulter made more sense than many of the people who’ve appeared on television since this ugly mess boiled to the surface.

She’s saying that people who play basketball, don’t deserve to be characterized the way those basketball players had been. I even agree with her assertion that it just wasn’t the words that cut deep. It was the way he used those words. As a frequent Imus viewer, I’ve seen him travel along that tightrope many times. With attacks on women, and people he simply didn’t need to attack. But those comments that morning about the Rutgers basketball team were uttered like those of a Grand Dragon talking to his assembled Klan – as if nobody else could hear him make them. He was wrong. We’ve all heard them now.

I do disagree with Coulter’s attempt to make unflattering comments ok, if they’re aimed at people in power. As Barack Obama gains increasing attention as a presidential candidate, so will the mentions of his race.
Rush Limbaugh refers to Obama as a Halfrican American. Why? Is the fact that Barack Obama had a white mother and a black father important? If you say yes, please go back and read this column from the beginning. If you say no, I think you understand why even cheap-shots (especially about race) are designed to hurt people.

Don Imus is now half unemployed. He’s still on the radio, but he’s been relieved of his MSNBC simulcasting duties. This may shock you, but I’m a little uncomfortable with that.

Back in the 1980’s I starting realizing that major corporations aren’t helping matters by removing people from the airwaves when they say really, really stupid things. CBS jettisoned Steubenville, Ohio’s Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder for saying, “During the slave period, the slave owner would breed his big black with his big woman so that he would have a big black kid—that's where it all started”, on the NFL Today show. Snyder had been making the point that black athletes had been genetically engineered by way of slavery.

CBS got pressure for that statement. They fired him within a few days of it. The whole thing was forgotten, because his removal had swept the broader issue under the rug. But race relations certainly didn’t improve because of it. His appearances could have served as a constant reminder of how far we have to go in this country until those kinds of words have no value on football Sundays.

Don Imus is now fading, but because he’s no longer in full public view, all that’s left are people who’ve returned to their usual shouting matches about those things that even Imus, himself, is saying is unimportant here. This had nothing to do with Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, hip hop music and its influence. It came as a direct result of Don Imus tailoring his employment options, by resorting to saying in public what he could have gotten away with in private.

His dismissal really doesn’t solve the broader issue. I would have preferred to tune him in every morning, just to watch him self-edit until he passed out! I would have like to have seen him take a drastic cut in pay, send what he used to make to the United Negro College Fund, and view him making nice to anybody with dark skin. He’d even try to make kiss up to people with suntans, but that would have been ok.

Instead, we’re left with a debate among people who don’t really seem to know how the other person feels.

We’re back to point zero. I can say this. This week Al Owens agreed with Ann Coulter. There is some hope.

I just wish the rest of America would stop, take a deep breath and say, “Come on damn it, we’re better than this”!

C. Vivian Stringer’s biography, tentatively titled “Stepping Up and Standing Tall”, is due out in book stores next year.