Punish Bigotry By Public Figures
Social media is like alcohol, in some respects. When not handled with care, it can loosen inhibitions and affect judgment adversely.
But also like alcohol, social media need not be harmful if used intelligently and in moderation.
Ask Roseanne Barr about that. The entertainer’s career is a wreck because of a tweet she released this week. Let us just say it made a racist reference to Valerie Jarrett, who had been an adviser to former President Barack Obama.
Within hours of Barr’s tweet, ABC had canceled her hit television show, “Roseanne.” Some syndication services pulled reruns of her old shows. Even her agent dumped her.
At first, Barr seemed to be trying to blame an insomnia drug which she had taken before making the offensive tweet. She pulled back only after the manufacturer released a statement that “racism is not a known side effect” of the drug.
Then Barr switched to pointing out that those with liberal political views who make similar mistakes often are treated more harshly than conservatives like her. There is some truth to that.
Still, Barr made a serious mistake, for which she had to pay a price. Bigotry by a public figure simply cannot be allowed to pass unpunished. The bottom line is that any form of communication — by anyone — begins in the mind of the communicator.