In our first half-hour this morning, every guest agreed on one issue -- it has been a bad week for race in America, but hopefully good will come of it. Between the Imus controversy and the Duke case, racial tensions have exposed themselves once again. And when we look back on some other stories from the past couple of years, we can see a variety of tensions that still exist in this country. Despite all the progress that we think we have made, there are still a variety of wounds that reveal themselves time and again.
Former Harvard President Larry Summers made comments about women, which brought up gender issues. "The Passion of the Christ" and Mel Gibson's other off-camera antics made us revisit religious tensions. Isaiah Washington from Grey's Anatomy made comments about sexual orientation. Michael Richards's comments brought up racism. The Duke case showed another angle of racism -- is there reverse racism in some situations?
So where are we? Last I checked, I thought this was the United States of America, one of the most progressive nations in the world. But these stories show us that there is still so much hate, and so much hurt, in our country. Last night, a bunch of Today staffers went out for a little happy hour. As I'm sure it was at any other gathering across the country, the Imus controversy was the hot topic of discussion at ours. Just about everyone agreed that the most important result of this story is hopefully a heightened dialogue about racism, sexism, and all the other "isms" that are still out there. If this story just goes away in a week when another tabloid scandal takes over, then it's all been for nothing. But what if the conversation continues? What if everyone takes a hard look at their own actions and words? Perhaps we'll all come out better for it in the end. Or am I just being too idealistic?