To me, the importance of the recent Don Imus incident lies in the exposure of individually held beliefs and insecurities.
Mr. Imus clearly expressed a great deal of ignorance, insensitivity, and bad judgment in his comments. But it seems fairly clear that he was trying, at least in part, to be funny, as misguided as his attempt at humor was.
But the reaction to his comments by individuals, the media, etc. has far exceeded the importance of the comments themselves.
In their reaction to his comments, people are bringing to the surface their own intolerance, their own judgment, their own beliefs regarding victimhood, prejudice, discrimination, etc.
The way people react to Don Imus' comments says nothing about Don Imus and everything about those individuals, the way they view themselves, the way they view others, etc.
An enlightened individual would have no emotional reaction to his comments whatsoever, regardless of their race or gender. An enlightened response may go something like this:
"That was an interesting comment that Don Imus made. It certainly betrays his limiting beliefs regarding black women. I don't agree with him, but I am not the least bit offended by him or his limiting beliefs. They do not pertain to me in any way."
But we are not seeing such a reaction. All we are hearing is how offensive his remarks were, and how he should be fired for his words. Ironically, those who are screaming the loudest about the insensitivity of Don Imus are far exceeding his own intolerance in their reaction to him. Don is guilty of ignorance and insensitivity, but he does not appear to be trying to ruin anyone's life or career the way many people are trying to do in response.
Those who are reacting strongly and pointing fingers and vilifying Don Imus would benefit greatly from the realization that their reactions to his words are not being cause by his words but by their own limiting beliefs about themselves. If they really knew and accepted themselves, then the words of a foolish radio personality could IN NO WAY threaten them, cause them to doubt themselves, or induce them to invest their time and energy in trying to prove that his words are wrong.
His words are not wrong: they are his words, they express his beliefs and opinions, and they apply to him and to his own perception. There is no need to feel offended by them, unless one is PREDISPOSED to such offense, which is coming from inside of themself, not from the words of some guy on the radio.
A little self-awareness would go a long way here, and perhaps this whole event is taking place in order to bring all of this to the surface so that individuals can examine themselves, their own beliefs, their own reactions to ignorance and insensitivity.
The anger that people feel in reaction to the words of Don Imus is coming from inside of themselves, and if some people are able to finally see that and take responsibility for their own reaction and their own feelings, then they have benefited greatly from this experience.
That is the value I see in this story. It is stimulating people to examine their reactions and their beliefs, and to learn more about themselves.
So it's not really about Don Imus, or his ignorance and insensitivity, though he played the role of the catalyst. It is about examining ourselves, our beliefs, and our own intolerance. For those who are wise enough to see that, there is much to gain from this story. Much indeed.