[T]he reality is that there is far more tolerance for a white person's unseemly behavior than for similar behavior of somebody who isn't white, especially if the unseemliness involves race. Richards' "racist rant" has been described as a terrible but isolated incident. O.J., meanwhile, is condemned for his character.Silly me. I thought cutting off two people's heads is worse than screaming offensive invective from the stage.
Richards, like O.J., is a celebrity who achieved cult-hero status. Like O.J., he projects and reflects his followers' deepest held beliefs about things they don't even know they believe until — in a split second — something brings it to the surface and forces a crisis.
O.J. was and is a crisis on every level, including a public relations crisis. Richards, meanwhile, is so far simply a public relations challenge. This says more about equality — and the rules of decorum — than we like to imagine.
Apparently, I was wrong. Next time I feel like screaming at someone I'll reach for my machete instead.