Thursday, April 12, 2007
Imus Axed: What Did We Gain?
So the Imus in the Morning Show simulcast was cancelled by MSNBC as result of the comments that he made about the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team after the NCAA Women's Championship. CBS Broadcasting has also pulled the plug on his radio show which officially makes Imus unemployed.
For those of you who have been living in an Underground Nuclear Fallout Bunker for the past couple weeks, Imus is a radio personality that has been under fire for calling the Rutgers team "Hardcore nappy-headed hoes." This has created a hailstorm of controversy and outrage within the Black community.
Were his comments racists? Yes. Should he have been condemned for them? Yes. Should anyone offended have boycotted his show? Absolutely. Should corporate sponsors with ties to the Black community have pulled their advertising? Yes. Should others like Bill O'Reilly be held to the same standard? Fuckin' A! Was he one of the first non-Black radio hosts to blast the Bush Administration for not "getting down there and helping" the peope of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina? He was. Should he have been fired?...
If I offend anyone with what I am about to say, get at me on the comments section. How many times have we called our women “bitches, hoes, whores, tricks, jump offs, sluts etc.” in place of “sister” or “queen?” And even if you haven't done it personally, how many times have we supported artists who use the same language by buying their records or singing along with their songs? How many times have we danced harder in the the club, alongside other races, to songs with lyrics like "Fuck them other niggas, cause I'm down with my niggas," or "Ho, who is you playin' wit? Back dat ass up!"? Hell, back in January I heard Sirius' Hip Hop Nation Channel play Dr. Dre's "Nappy Headed Hoez."
How can we justify celebrating Snoop Dogg for calling Black women bitches and hoes, but hold anybody outside of our circle to a different standard? How can we justify rounding up our "leadership" (and the quotes are intentional) to go this hard about a comment, and not as hard about more pressing issues that we face like really holding our government officials accountable for not putting more money into minority schools? It seems like these events are the only occassions where Al and Jesse really flex their muscles.
I just think that it is hard to police others when we don't police ourselves. On any given morning, you can turn on the radio and hear Russ Parr clowning White people. There's even a cardboard stereotype character (voiced-over by a Black woman) called Mei Ling on his show that makes racists jokes about Asian people. On the Tom Joyner Morning Show, I remember Ms. Dupree saying that "white people smell like dogs when they get wet." And we all know about the Steve Harvey Morning Show. Could we really refute claims of hypocrisy from the other side?
By Imus being fired, what did we gain? In the long run all that we really gain is 1) the temporary satisfaction of having a notch under our belts as a race to offset past and present wrongs done to us, 2) the strengthing, reinforcement, and even creation of more hidden and covert racism, and 3)reinforcement of the stereotype of Black people as hypocritical.
Make no mistake about it. I am in no way defending Imus and what he said. Fuck him! But I am surprised about the level of outrage that we have expressed over this without looking in the mirror and being accountable for what goes on in our own House.
As far as this situation goes, I felt it would have been sufficient to condemn him for the comment, demand an apology, take it for what it was, and move on. We've got bigger fish to fry.
At the very least, after listening to him, I could get a real sense of what people were thinking about me when I walked down the street. The fact is that many people think like him and Imus has a large constituency. I personally think it's a good idea to know what that constituencey is saying and thinking. Imus will probably be replaced by someone who is politically correct but shares his ideas when the cameras are off. I would rather know that the knife was coming rather than finding out later that it was in my back.
Will his firing make things better? Is ignorance really bliss?