09 April 2007

Imus' Incendiary Comments


A good friend from college was in town last week and we made plans to get a bite to eat and visit a local watering hole to reminisce and chew the fat. We chose an Irish pub, where we immediately witnessed two 65 year-old men incoherently and belligerently battling over a 70-year-old woman with lipstick desperately trying to cover up the fact that she had no teeth. By chance, the game was turned on to the Women's NCAA Championship Game between Rutgers and Tennessee. While admittedly not the most religious fan of woman's college ball, I've been intrigued by Candace Parker since she won the 2004 McDonald's High School All-America game. That, and there was nothing else on.

Within the first few seconds of watching, my buddy noticed that a number of the women on Rutgers' team were sporting tatoos. Both he and I thought about it and came to the conclusion that in all of our time watching women's basketball(probably close to 118 minutes combined, we had never seen girls rocking tats. And these weren't the type of tats normally associated with the those you find on the anatomy of college girls (think small, think on either foot or right above the behind). These were large and placed prominently in the area of a buildup of muscle. We actually talked about whether or not we were employing a double standard, but just generally agreed that most tattoos that large and grotesque look terrible no matter if the individual is male or female.

And while I estimated that others watching the game might have had similar conversations, I was shocked to see Don Imus take it up in such a derogatory and disgusting way. Imus referred to the Rutger's team as a bunch of "nappy headed ho's." Imus continued, “That’s some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos ..." The program’s executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, agreed: “Some hardcore ho’s,” he said. While the I-Man initially expressed surprise at the growing consensus of outrage, he has since apologized profusely, even taking the time to express his regret on Al Sharpton's radio show. Sharpton continues to call for Imus' head.

And while he may not receive Imus' resignation, NBC has decided to suspend the radio announcer for two weeks because of "racist and abhorrent" behavior. While I think this action is just and necessary, Imus should not be fired. Ironically, I use Jesse Jackson as an example of why Imus should retain his position.

While Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition organized a protest in front of the Chicago offices of NBC in light of Imus' comments, Jackson once again seemed to exhibit temporary amnesia and dementia. In 1984, as he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Jackson referred to Jews as "Hymies" and New York as "Hymietown" in a Washington Post interview. After many took umbrage with his comments, the Nation of Islam's radical leader Louis Farrakhan, an aggressive anti-Semite and old Jackson ally, issued a public warning to Jews, made in Jackson's presence: "If you harm this brother [Jackson], it will be the last one you harm." Jackson continued to express ignorance until he finally relented and made amends at a large Jewish synagogue in New Hampshire. By then, his campaign had withered.

I had hoped Rev. Jackson would remember this anecdote and his subsequent lack of judgment in expressing anti-Semitic remarks that he deemed "kosher" enough to articulate in front of a fellow African-American. And I would hope that he could remmeber how he was granted a second chance...The same that should be done for Imus.

17 comments:

Gangsta D said...

While filming The Empire Strikes Back, the director would spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on the set, the smoke machine, props, the lighting, Yoda, et al. At some point Mark Hamill would say, “Hey the actor needs a little attention over here.” I find it interesting that some find it necessary to focus on Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton during this episode. To me they are ancillary. They are not black leaders. They weren’t elected by us. They were anointed by the media. They have baggage. They have agendas. So what? That doesn’t interest me. They don’t speak for me. You may be surprised to know how few black people they speak for. Commenting on their exploits seems to distract from the bigger picture.

At any rate, Don Imus has been given several second chances. This isn’t the first time he’s said something untoward. I don’t know that he should be fired, but he’s not a boy scout who’s had one slip of the tongue.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200704060005

Rhea said...

Imus' comments were racist and sexist. He should be fired, not given what amounts to a two-week vacation. Sometimes I forget that "Talk Show Radio Host" and "Complete Jerk" are often synonymous.

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