I really don’t have much to say on all this Don Imus crap. I don’t listen to his show, and I don’t know anyone that does. He’s a racist, sexist homophobe and he lost his show. Good. I don’t label him as such because of this one remark, but because of his long history of doing this shit.
And we can’t pretend that his firing was done because of media execs taking a principled stand; they’re firing him because the controversy is losing them sponsors and guests (actually, this commentator argues it wasn’t just a money thing, that pressure from employees/celebs inside the CBS and NBC organizations helped get Imus fired). I imagine that his open racism and sexism will make him even more popular among some folks, and that he’ll get a show with a smaller audience someplace within the next year.
I can’t read minds, but I don’t see this as malicious racism or sexism, like he was actually out to hurt those basketball players. But it seems that treating women or people of color with the same respect he gives white men doesn’t even occur to Imus. He doesn’t have to try to be racist or sexist, it’s down in his very bones.
The best comments I’ve seen on this come via Steve Gilliard’s News Blog (currently featuring guest bloggers while Gilliard recovers from some serious health trauma).
The first, part of a long rant by LowerManhattanite about Imus, race, power, and the art of comedy:
So, we come back to Imus. “Nappy-headed hos”. A multi-car pile-up where classism, sexism and basic human respect come down their individual roads and again. criss-cross at that dangerous traffic circle called racism. But where-oh-where was “teh funny”? Well, looking at the wreck CSI-style, we can suss out this much. He was probably falling back on the humor staple of the anachronism. The supposedly incongruous emanating from the unexpected source. Like the Staples commercial with the office dweebs dancing heartily to Salt n’ Pepa’s “Push It”, or the nerdy arena organist freaking the Funkadelic keyboard part in Nike’s “Roswell Rayguns” spot a few years ago. Imus thought it would be cute and ironic for a creepy, old White guy to diss young Black women based on their looks, using stilted ghetto lingo.
Except he forgot one thing. Creepy old White men dissing young Black women is such a part of Americana that it’s near impossible to do it ironically. That is, without coming off as…yeah, a creepy, old White guy dissing young Black women based on their looks…
And I have a daughter. An athletic African American teenaged daughter who’s had to contend with the “beauty standard” bullsh*t foisted upon her by society in general. She’s one of the few “chips in the cookie” at her school in Jersey and has enough to deal with on that tip. So for a prominent, and influential broadcaster to “jokingly”–ha-ha–call these Black women–who he doesn’t even know–at Rutgers “Nappy-headed Hos”, is to call my daughter a “Nappy-headed Ho” as well. And that ain’t gonna sit well with me…ever. So for the record, f*ck R. Kelly. F*ck Luke from 2 Live Crew. F*ck Rush Limbaugh, and yes indeed Don Imus–f*ck your shriveled old *ss too.
This comment following that same post by “golden” is also excellent:
Ultimately what society wants from blacks and women is for us to compromise on these issues.
The idea that we have to sell away our dignity and humanity for the same rights that white men get for nothing.
That any person in this world have to do some fucked up calculus of subtracting their self-worth to get even the smallest amount of respect is unacceptable.
That’s what Imus and his supporters don’t understand and that’s why he needs to be off the air.
Luckily what NBC and CBS don’t have the balls to do Imus’ advertisers will do for them.
While it’s obviously a good thing for Imus to get the fuck off the air, there are plenty others just like him still broadcasting away. And worse, plenty of our own friends, neighbors and co-workers who think the same damn things but don’t say them out loud.
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