I have been seeing a lot of dreck on "the Net" of late - most of it from people who should know better-attempting to justify radio personality Don Imus' crude remarks about the Rutgers Womens' Basketball team.
One frequently-seen argument is that black people (who should know better) often use similar or worse racial epithets when talking about themselves.
Another argument is that some prominent black people (who should also know better) have made disparging , openly racist remarks about people who are not black.
Both of these arguments are based on the concept of "relative morality" : If someone says something hurtful and offensive , everyone should feel free to respond in kind - seemingly without limits.
Relative morality -applied in this fashion - is just a flimsy excuse to take the civil out of civilized conduct.
Imus took the concept a bit further: He took the civil out of civilization for the sake of ratings and profit.
His immediate reward was a two week suspension ... but it is almost a given that his ratings will now skyrocket .
If one of the basketball players dismissed as a "nappy-headed ho'" was your daughter,or sister, or niece,or grandchild , how would you feel about that turn of events ?