Commentary: Roseanne lowered the bar on civility by her tweet

Commentary: Roseanne lowered the bar on civility by her tweet
June 07
10:35 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D.

Just give me one more chance and I will get it right the next time. Well, the next time comes, and you are using the same refrain, I’ll get it right the next time.

America is the land of second chances. We are a forgiving country. This is what makes us proud to be Americans. Our mess is always cleaned up and we live to see another day. This is what separates us from other countries.

Our miscues usually begin with our mouths. We say something to someone that is inappropriate and then we apologize for it. The Good Book gives us Scripture readings about the dangers of a “loose tongue.” With a loose tongue, you can hurt a person and cause them great heartache.

Gossip can destroy people. Yet we know, those who gossip have questionable characters. If you have nothing better to do except talk about other people, then you really need to get a life. This is my opinion.

Back in the day, you didn’t have the internet and social media to deride people. Now we do. For example, those on Facebook can talk negatively about each other. There have been documented instances where people have been physically injured by what I call Facebook gossip.

A few days ago, Roseanne Barr made some uncomplimentary comments about Valerie Jarrett. As you recall, she was a member of President Barack Obama’s administration. I will not repeat what she said on Twitter about Valerie Jarrett. The post has since been removed and Roseanne issued an apology. Was that enough? No.

ABC cancelled her show, “Roseanne” within hours of the tweet. Did the show’s cancellation catch viewers off guard? Probably so. Roseanne was one of the top-rated shows on television. I must admit that I have never watched one single episode of that show.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values,” said ABC Entertainment Chief Channing Dungey. ABC, in cancelling the show, chose right over rating and morality over money. Now, going forward, what will be in its place? We will just have to wait and see.

I am not surprised that Roseanne Barr had a bout with ill-advised behavior and distasteful humor. We need only to look at some of her history and her allies.

She was chosen to sing The National Anthem at a San Diego Padres baseball game on July 25, 1990. Her singing of it was terrible and an embarrassment. She was off key, screaming and hollering throughout the song. She was completely out of control. After singing it, she spat on the ground in total mockery and disgust. Roseanne was disgusting that day and is still disgusting.

Roseanne Barr’s actions were deplorable. Those fans of hers, some of whom live in Washington D.C., are sick themselves. Racism and sexism are gripping this country via social media. We, as social justice advocates, must speak up and act up so that our country can be better and brighter for the next generation.
I am reminded of what Dr. King said about racism. He said, “We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.” Our call for action is always now. We must be vigilant and steadfast in order to stamp out and stomp out racial injustice and bigotry.
ABC Network did what was right.

James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at

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