Don’t tolerate this

Last week: “A top-level administrator at the Community College of Southern Nevada agreed late Thursday to resign following an incident in which he said about the wife of one of the state’s leading black politicians: ‘She’s a nigger, and niggers are never on time.’ “

—Las Vegas Review-Journal

It’s all so 100 years ago.

It seems that there’s been a deluge of the wrong kind of tolerance lately—tolerance for ignorant bigots.

Example one: Media coverage of the retirement of racist senator Jesse Helms has been awfully polite, notes Washington columnist David Broder in a recent column. Helms is being called “a conservative stalwart” and “an archenemy of liberals.” The media, Broder says, is being “circumspect to the point of pussyfooting.”

“What is unique about Helms—and from my viewpoint unforgivable—is his willingness to pick at the scab of the great wound of American history, the legacy of slavery and segregation, and to inflame racial resentment toward African Americans,” Broder writes.

It’s scary to think that Helms won and kept his Senate seat with these views. It’s scary to watch the media gloss this over in some weird final gesture of—I don’t know—good-spirited bipartisanship or something. Ugh.

Example two: Las Vegas community college administrator Mike Meyers, a former interim president of CCSN, apologized over his use of the N-word:

“It was stupid,” he told reporters last week. “Why did I say it? I have no clue. I do not use that word. It goes against who I am. Historically, I’ve been a champion of diverse populations.”

Of course, it is hard to control the words that pop out of your mouth. But usually those words do reflect what’s been going on in your brain all along. Duh. And it’s not like Meyers is low man on the college totem pole, either. He’s climbed enough rungs on the ladder to know better, to think more selective thoughts. Especially given CCSN’s high percentage of minority students. Ugh.

Example three: Here you’ve got your Meyers supporters egging him on, urging him not to quit. Not to quit! Something like 80 friendly people called. And university system regent Tom Wiesner of Las Vegas wouldn’t talk about whether he was one of the supporters telling Meyer that “it was not necessary” to throw in the towel, according to the LVRJ.

That’s like telling a rapist that he should feel no blame in a recent sex crime because the victim had been asking for it. Of course, Meyers did apologize. Oops.

Give us a break.

Educational leaders with any kind of bigoted tendencies—no matter how long or how skillfully they suppress them—should not hold any kind of position of power. Ever.

We shouldn’t have to remind our children that all people are created equal. It’s just not debatable anymore. This is a tired, tired subject. Journalists are sick of covering it.

Well, at least Helms is retiring, they’ll say, and spin a pretty, pretty picture of the future.