The Oklahoma Eagle Editorial

Kevin Hart Provides A Lesson, On How Not to Respond

Kevin Hart, the hilarious comic who seems to beeverywhere in television and movies has run into trouble over old anti-gaytweets which have resulted in him stepping down as the next host of the AcademyAwards in February 2019. Hart was not fired but was asked to apologize for theold tweets. He chose to step down and criticized anyone who was judging him. Hesaid he had changed and evolved and didn’t feel a need to a apologize. In theworld of doubling down on missteps he blamed a hypersensitive world wherepeople cannot tell a joke or let a person grow.

Hart, in making his statements is angry and minimizes thepossible harm he caused with his jokes about gay life-styles. He also said, “ifyou don’t believe people change, grow, evolve as they get older, [then] I don’tknow what to tell you.” However, in describing the backlash against hiscomments about gay people he actually displays a lack of growth and did notevolve as a person. All of which is unfortunate because Hart is extremelytalented and hilariously funny. However, he needs to rethink his current predicament.

If his tweets are nothing to worry about, one might wonderwhy he deleted them as soon as articles emerged about his old tweets. He doesknow they are inappropriate and no doubt harmful to his red-hot career. A sliceof humble  pie and perhaps getting helpwould go a long way toward rebuilding his reputation.

Anti-gay is not his only problem. Last month, Hart hosted what he thought was a clever and wholesome birthday party for one of his children. The theme was cowboys and Indians. Which means, of course, some of the children were dressed like Native Americans. The reaction was swift after he posted pictures of the party of Twitter. His reaction was much like his response over his lack of sensitivity over the gay community. He responded to criticism over his theme by saying “how stupidour world is becoming with opinions,” Not exactly the words of a man whohas grown with age and evolved into a person who is tolerant of other races.So, what is the big deal?

The numbers don’t lie, racial and LBGT bigotry is on the rise. President Donald J. Trump has deemphasized reporting and enforcement according to advocates. Native Americans have expressed alarm over their images being appropriated for the entertainment of others. They are against being objectified incorrectly. They contend that for the same reason Indian mascots are harmful, costumes are gross misrepresentations of Native American people too. Hart needs only look to the NAACP to find their long-time opposition to mascots. Making fun of other races is racist and there are consequences.

More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women (84.3 percent) have experienced violence in their lifetime. LGBTQ Black/African American victims are more likely to experience physical intimate partner violence, compared to those who do not identify as Black/African American. The numbers are all painful and real for Native Americans and for the LGBTQ communities. Making fun of them for jokes is wrong, and demonizing advocates is cruel.  Hart is on the wrong side of the issues. He doesn’t have to be an advocate for social justice; how ever he doesn’t need to be an unfeeling voice for intolerance.

Help is available in this instance. Intoleranceis a learned behavior. Which means it can be unlearned. Take some time to undothe harm that has been done. Hart needs to actually grow and get to know realNative Americans and the Gay community. Get some counseling and find out why hefinds it necessary to make fun of oppressed people. Hart is right, the worlddoes like and accept that people evolve into better versions of how they werein their youth. Today is good day to start.

Jury to Resume DeliberationsOver White Nationalist

Jurors are still trying to decide what to do about the sentencing of White Nationalist James A. Fields Jr., who drove his vehicle into a crowd in Charlottesville,VA., killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Her death happened during incidents surrounding a gathering of White Nationalist who were confronted by those opposed to their hateful agenda. There were violent clashes between the protesters and counter-protesters. Trump was widely criticized for saying there were good and bad people on both sides. Sadly, he has not backed down from that horrible position.

Hard to guess what the sentence will ultimately be, and no doubt it will be harsh and long. Difficult to understand the thinking that went behind Fields’ decision to plow into people knowing the likelihood people will die. Because of the severity of the deadly decision to run into a street full of humanity, there are manypeople still trying to get over the injuries they incurred. His mental healthwas shared with the jury that included several issues including bi-polardisorder. It is uncertain if that will make a difference in sentencing.

Race relations have not improved since Trump took office and some suggest the efforts of him and former Attorney General Jess Sessions have only made life more difficult for people of color. One might find solace in the midterm elections where many people of color, previously ignored religions, and sexual orientation were elected to congress. Perhaps the times they are a changing.

Judicial sentencing does not correct racial strife. Revenge doesn’t mend the hearts of people like the mother of Heyer. She has chosen to reach out to White Nationalists and others wanting to discuss race relations. The death penalty will not return the life taken in the heat of hate. Celebrating a life sentence doesn’t help bring America together. This is a good time to remember the life and times of Heather Heyer, who by all counts was an exceptional human being who wanted to stand up for human and civil rights. She gave up her life in the hopes that people would change. That is worth celebrating. America needs more love not more hate.

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