Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Imus, Sharpton, Jackson, Rutgers ... go away


"It’s been almost a week since [Don] Imus accused the Rutgers women’s basketball program of fielding a roster full of “nappy-headed hos,” and American society has yet to come apart at the seams. The Fourteenth Amendment is still in the Constitution. The NAACP is still a viable political force. And Don Imus is still an insufferable blowhard."

I gotta admit I don't have a dog in this fight. I think Don Imus has suffered a passel of indignations (maybe not enough) that he had coming to him. I think Rev. Jesse "Hymie Town" Jackson and Rev. Al "Only Whites Can be Racists" Sharpton are headline-seeking hustler-hypocrites -- and both pastors who should re-read that part of the Bible about forgiveness. I think anyone who gets a bunch of tattoos should be aware that they might not be making the first impression they wish to make. And I think anybody who is still shocked by radio shock-jocks should be locked up with incurable Pollyanna-itis.

I don't give a whit if Don Imus keeps his job. I don't care who thinks I should boycott his sponsors. I never thought the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team was truly a collection of whores. I stopped listening seriously to Sharpton and Jackson long ago since there are wiser spokesmen for black causes out there.

But I cannot stop wondering why the black community embraces rappers who go far beyond the insults against black women that Imus expressed, in worse language, even as it decries the intolerability of it elsewhere. And I imagine the black community cannot stop wondering why the white community doesn't "get it."

The Imus Affair is worth a conversation, but not a conflagration. Jackson and Sharpton, who are just fanning the flames for their own aggrandizement, should shut up. The Rutgers ladies should graduate and prove Imus wrong by being something more than tattooed ballplayers. Imus should engage his brain before accelerating his mouth.

And listeners should change the channel if they don't like it.


paotie said...

What’s wrong with Al Sharpton?

Ever since Don Imus spat out some ill-chosen words on the air, public outrage from the Black Right has called for Imus’ resignation - or that he be fired as host of his radio program. Apparently no number of apologies from Imus is enough to suit folk like Al Sharpton.

Instead, Sharpton has gotten greedy and is perhaps contributing to the continued cycle of racism in America. Because of his greed, if Imus goes, then so must Sharpton. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated peaceful protests, while Al Sharpton calls for destruction of individuals’ lives to promote equality.

What Imus uttered was simply stupid. If he was Black, I’m sure he’d be blasted for making such a watered-down compliment - if it was one - along with insensitive stereotyping of women, in whatever context it may have been. But Imus is White, so everything is now about race, instead of the stupid comment Imus made.

I’m not Black and won’t pretend to claim that I’m outraged by Imus’ utterances. If anything, I thought it was a contextually poor phrase to use on a national radio program. But some people didn’t like his comment. Sharpton blasted Imus immediately. Sharpton told everyone else in America that the only good justice was his justice and that called for Imus to be knocked off the radio waves. And so the media continue to eat it up like piranhas in a feeding frenzy.

So, really, what’s all the fuss about?

C’mon. So what if a radio personality spits out something that really wasn’t appropriate in terms of context and uttered poorly-chosen words? You know that his comments would be more aptly served in a bar, with its denizens salting down peanuts and drinking frothy and alcoholic beverages. And, it wouldn’t matter if the bar were full of Whites or Blacks, because somewhere, somebody would make that comment, anyway, and people would’ve laughed.

But, the Rutgers women’s basketball team deserved better applause and especially something that wouldn’t ruin their moment in history. Nobody deserves what the Rutgers team must be enduring now - their shining light of glory overshadowed by controversy. It really is too bad that the women’s team is being delegated to “last week’s” news, now that Imus and Sharpton are butting heads.

I don’t know that I agree Imus should resign or be fired, either. I mean, what he said was stupid, but people do lots of things stupidly to achieve fame, fortune or whatever inadequacies they have to fulfill. I think American Idol is a ridiculously stupid show, but then again, I’m clinically deaf, so what do I care about people who sing karaoke like Vegas impersonators? But, Imus didn’t do a stupid thing on a stupid karaoke show – he simply and dumbly picked the wrong phrase at the worst of possible times:

“Those nappy-haired ho’s.”

But instead of allowing Imus’ stupidity die a quick death, Black politicians - those that Walter Williams calls “black hustlers” such as Sharpton - have seized the opportunity to advance their political cause. Nothing more and nothing less.

Like ants swarming a termite nest, the media has been rife with calls by Black Right leaders shaming America into believing that the only good thing to do was to have Imus fired or have his resignation provide evidence that somehow, America can justly make things right.

Except that Sharpton and others wanted to overshadow Rutgers’ accomplishments by glorifying Imus’ stupidity, and now the women’s team must surely be feeling like their moment in history may somehow be tainted by a controversy. And, thanks to Sharpton, the whole issue is now a politically motivated race issue.

What Sharpton and others should’ve done was allow the free market to correct Imus and his stupidity. I mean, as distasteful Paris Hilton might be to most people, she sells because people pay attention to her, no matter how stupid or ugly they might think she is. Imus uses the same mechanism, and like Hilton, is subjected to the laws of free market supply and demand.

If people listening to a radio show are offended by a radio jock’s comments, chances are they won’t listen to him again, anyway. And, if you offend enough people, you just might not have enough of an audience to warrant the existence of a radio show. But, people like Sharpton alternatively live and thrive in promoting people like Imus and their mistakes, and so the cycle continues once again as people are told to be offended, how to be offended, and who should be especially offended: the only way to make things right is to have the offending person’s head on a platter.

When I was a young boy, my father took me to see the movie The Last Temptation of Christ. Prior to watching it, my father explained that there was much controversy surrounded the movie, and that the only reason he wanted to see it was to understand what the fuss was about. After the show, we both agreed that the movie was a waste of time, unworthy of all the hype. My father, a scientist at heart, would later tell me that the movie made lots of money because of the hype, to which I remarked that it sounded like a stupid way to make money.

Anyway, if Imus should be fired for his racially insensitive comments, then Sharpton ought to be banned from the public eye permanently for his racially insensitive comments. Imus’ comments alone would be worthy of a sea of boos cascading throughout America .I don’t think it was racially motivated, and I know it might’ve been insensitive to many, especially Blacks, but Sharpton is guilty as much as Imus for being racially insensitive.

Sharpton doesn’t believe in tolerance. Sharpton isn’t interested in tolerance at all. Tolerating another person means to tolerate their views, however different you might think they are. Sharpton and others all agree that Imus is a good man, but a crime was committed and someone has to pay for it. I’m not saying that Sharpton merely needs to absolve Imus of his sins; I’m saying Sharpton only wants one thing: vengeance. Perhaps Sharpton really should be accepting Imus’ apologies and leave the issues for the public to decide. It’s no shock that Imus has said offensive things a time or two in his colorful past, but then again, that’s Imus’ chosen profession. Who are we to judge him for providing for his family - just like Sharpton does?

Both use the media and public to advance their objectives; both are political hot commodities at different intervals; both see the ebb and wane of their ability to reach out to the public. Both are probably mirror images of one another, even if they use completely different mechanisms. Shame on Don Imus for his stupidity. Shame on Al Sharpton for being a political pimp.

If Don Imus goes, then Al Sharpton must, too.

Anonymous said...

Political correctness is taking the freedom of "right to free speech" from the average american. This extends not only from racial and gender issues, but to political and routine topics. It's time to not worry about how you state a point, but worry most about getting the point across in the most efficient manner possible.

Jill said...

I agree. While his remarks could be considered tasteless, I think this is being overplayed. We have become too politically correct in this country. And what about BET? The music videos on this network are far more insulting to women than Imus has ever been.