Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The True Racism Behind the Don Imus Saga

Racism in 2007 America is no less shameful than it's been at any other period in our nation's 231 year history. There is simply no excuse, ever, for racial prejudice and intolerance, and that holds true for entertainers like Don Imus, who last week on his nationally-syndicated radio program referred to female basketball players from Rutgers University as "nappy-headed ho's." Was this comment despicable? Yes. Extremely inappropriate and highly insensitive? Of course. Just plain stupid? Without question. But are we to surmise from this comment that deep down in his core Don Imus is truly a racist? I think not. But the public outcry from people like the Rev. Al Sharpton serves to hold a mirror up to what is the real racism in America. The double-standard that exists between whites and blacks; the rules of engagement that are imposed upon us by the PC Police. Don Imus, reprehensible and irresponsible behavior aside, is now the victim of an even bigger racism.

Let me say first that I am no fan of Don Imus. I never listen to his show and I don't think he is funny. In fact, his incessant mumbling makes anything he says unintelligible in my opinion. But I have been listening these past several days only because of the incredible controversy surrounding him and this story. During this period, Imus has been taking a pounding from just about anyone who's gotten in line to have a swat at this alleged poster-boy for racism. As a result he's been on the receiving end of perhaps the biggest bitch-slapping in media history. And his personal mea culpas have been non-stop. On Monday he was pilloried for two hours by Sharpton on the black leader's own radio program. It was brutal. It was relentless. And it was wrong. What's really wrong with society today is that someone like Sharpton is allowed to capitalize on a stupid remark and exploit it to death to further his own racist agenda. Society says it's ok for a black man to publicly crucify a white man so long as that white man even skimmed the racism surface. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember Jesse Jackson being subjected to a two-hour on-air skewering after his infamous 1984 "HymieTown" comment. Was this anti-Semitic ccomment publicly condemned? Yes. Did Jackson pay a huge price politically for it? Yes. But did he have to sit through a two-hour flogging, which is what Sharpton perpetrated on Monday? No. That would've resulted in public cries of racism from the black community.

What about Sharpton himself, and his own highly checkered racial past? How did Rev. Al somehow end up as the standard-bearer of high morals and racial equality? How did someone who plays the race card to exploit every possible situation for his own self-aggrandizing selfish interests--as he did back in the late '80's with the sensational Tawana Brawley case--become the official voice of the racially oppressed? As Slate Magazine wrote in 2003: According to the Associated Press, Sharpton and Brawley's lawyers asserted "on 33 separate occasions" that a local prosecutor named Steven Pagones "had kidnapped, abused and raped" Brawley. There was no evidence, and Pagones was soon cleared. Sharpton then accused a local police cult with ties to the Irish Republican Army of perpetrating the alleged assault. The case fizzled when a security guard for Brawley's lawyers testified that the lawyers and Sharpton knew Brawley was lying. A grand jury investigation concluded in late 1988 that Brawley "was not the victim of forcible sexual assault" and that the whole thing was a hoax. The report specifically exonerated Pagones, and in 1998 Pagones won a defamation lawsuit against Sharpton, Brawley, and Brawley's lawyers. Sharpton was ordered to pay Pagones $65,000. Johnnie Cochran and other Sharpton benefactors subsidized the payment.

And what did white and black America subsequently bestow on this racial firebrand? The opportunity to run for U.S. president. Furthermore, Sharpton never subjected himself to the kind of public castration Imus himself was foolish enough to volunteer for.

Look, Imus is an idiot. We all know that. Just like Rush Limbaugh, who makes fun of handicapped people like Michael J. Fox. These babbling blowhards suffer from the kind of foot-in-mouth-disease that most of us never experience because we somehow know better than to make such moronic comments. But I do agree with Imus that there's a contextual element that needs to be considered here. Imus is not a journalist. He is not a politician. He is not an educator. He is a comedian. What Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Don Rickles, Lisa Lampanelli, Sarah Silverman, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and countless others have taught us is that under this comic umbrella certain people get to use the N word, make shit jokes, Jew jokes, aborted-baby jokes and mock the handicapped. That's what comedians do. They make fun of life and the people in it. Do they push the envelope? Absolutely. And they sometimes go too far. But does it make them racist? That's a tall order, and I'm just not buyin' it. Sorry. Imus' highly offensive remark needs to be viewed within the context of a comedian making a joke, albeit a horribly racist one, within a comedy program.

Imus is a bonehead. And he should be disciplined. He's been suspended for two weeks, and he's promised to tone down the insensitive rhetoric and use his radio show as a platform to help mend the racial divide. He deserves that chance. He's got a 35-year broadcast record that is not representative of that one stupid comment. As he's pointed out in his own defense, his charitable work on behalf of children with cancer (many of them black) and in finding a cure for sickle-cell anemia is well known. We live in a country where the punishment fits the crime. Firing Don Imus over his mistake does nothing to fight racism. To the country, it only fuels it in a much bigger way by giving inciters like Sharpton a much bigger voice, and a much stronger hand, in spewing their own racism. One could even ask the Rev. Al, a follower of Jesus and the Bible, about "forgiveness." That he fails to practice what he supposedly preaches only makes his ulterior motives even more suspect. Don Imus...Tawana Brawley...only the names have changed. For Al Sharpton, it's the same old story.


Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago I tuned in to Imus’ show by chance and heard him make some pretty vulgar and offensive remarks regarding David Geffen and homosexuality…something along the lines of Mr. Geffen dangling his scrotum in another man’s face.

Although it was certainly in bad taste and not funny either, I was not offended enough to do anything beyond change the station, being again reminded why I don’t listen to this kind of sophomoric banter which passes for political discussion in the present era.

Much more offensive in recent years have been the comments of Bob Grant, who on numerous occasions referred to former NYC Mayor David Dinkins as a “washroom attendant”

But perhaps the all time low in racist offensiveness were the remarks made by Rush Limbaugh while commenting on a student protest held in NYC.

The (mostly Black and Hispanic) students of the City University of New York were protesting the raising of tuition rates.

Limbaugh’s comment was as follows: (and I quote)

“I don’t understand what they’re all so upset about. If the tuition is too high for them, then they can all go out and sell a few more vials of crack!”

To my knowledge nothing was ever said or done about that remark, yet this obese blowhard has poisoned the national discourse for over twenty years and continues to do so.

Let’s get our priorities straight, what Imus said was stupid and insensitive, but nothing compared to what Limbaugh, Michael Savage and other children of Goebbels spew out on a daily basis.

And when has stupidity been a crime in this country? On the contrary, it seems to be a prerequisite for holding some of the nation’s highest offices!

Anonymous said...

I can't agree more with this topic and comments. I've tried to listen to Imus but I find his banter is just too moronic and offensive. I can't listen to Limbaugh, either. Sharpton is a blowhard who bullies with racism. I find this incident with Imus as just another example of egos getting wrapped up in inane bs to fill their time on the airwaves. Perhaps radio producers could be more inventive than to give these yoyo's so much airtime.

If there's any inequity, it's why does Imus get punished when Limbaugh is just as moronic and always skates away free from his bad boy actions? Different media parents?

Sharpton is an opportunist who will play the race card at every turn. I agree that his racism is just as bad, if not worse, than a loser lame comment from a cowboy wannabe Imus.

Anonymous said...

Sharpton and Jackson always have to stick their goddamned faces in everything---even if its NOT race related! They just love to see their faces on TV. Don Imus said something very interesting yesterday. He said "In every black persons inner soul, deep down they think white people dont like them". What people like Sharpton is doing------THATS WHY!

Anonymous said...

Then it would appear that Sharpton likes to perpetuate the notion that Imus spoke about.

Anonymous said...

While I do think Imus is racist and can not be defended as he has put himself in the situation of being pilloried; and I believe Sharpton to be a media hound; being local to the area where the Brawley incident took place and having first hand experience with the 'good ol' boy' political machine, I have no love lost for that guy you say Sharpton smeared. He had a history of protecting at least one rapist in the community who was politically connected, and also happened to be white.
There were a series of rapes perpetrated by a white restaurant owner on his female staff that were not prosecuted. These rapes were not even publicized, as he used his political position and influence to protect his patron and smear, intimidate, and prosecute the victims in order to get them to withdraw their complaints. One dear friend of mine even went as far as to file a civil rights complaint when this DA would not go forward with a criminal prosecution against this guy, her employer, only to be threatened with prosecution for filing a false complaint until she withdrew all of them. She was intimidated in many ways, including being stalked and harassed by uniformed police. She suffers emotionally to this day as a result.
One victim even had a child by the rapist and was intimidated with threats of prosecution as well. If this was just one incident, I would let your retelling of the racially charged Brawley story go unchallenged, but sadly I know personally two victims who were raped by this restaurant owner and saw the intimidation and hard ball tactics used to ‘resolve’ the issue.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the Limpbaugh comparison, Imus is an easy target as it is true he has taken swipes at both political parties while Rush toes the party line.

Anonymous said...

Ostroy, nice article but you forgot one thing -> he's a Democrat.

I don't want to make this a democrat or republican issue, but you know for a fact that if Imus was conservative, you'd be tying a political party to his actions.

Anonymous said...

Imus is a Republican.

These remarks were SEXIST more than racist. As is the phrase "BITCH SLAPPED" which has now become a legitimate part of our vocabulary Where were you Al Sharpton?

These girls and all girls in America have heard "hos" and have been called "hos" since their days in high school and now in college. That goes for the white girls as well as the black girls. How can the critics of Imus be so naive? These girls and girls all over American have also been called "bitch" on a regular basis. Do you think schools that have guards checking on guns, provide an environment where girls, teachers or anybody else is shown respect and consideration?

Imus calls his wife the "Green Ho". It's part of the adolescent humor that exists now in junior and high school and among some adults.

I'd like The Reverend Al Sharpton to explain where in the teachings of Chrstianity it say we must forgive seventy-times seventy and then condemn the offender to "hell" of some sort.

And, we are a country of free speech. Saturday Night Live and all the comedy shows can make fun, slur and insult anyone they want. Sometimes foibles should be pointed out.

And finally, I'm really worried that the he primary defense of these girls is that they have accomplished so much, ahd they will in the furutre. They are would-be doctors, etc., and they are all top-notch. Doesn't that imply that only those "worthy" should not be attacked? That "c" students or even failing students students or worse are fair game? . Why do women have to excel before they deserve respect and justice?

And how did Jessie Jackson cure himself of his hatred for Jews? Did he go to rehab?

This is all much ado about nothing. If you don't like Imus don't watch him. Then start working on the issues that might make us a nicer group of people -- like financial and job security, health care so we're not insane with worry and justice for all under the law.

Anonymous said...

Usually, I agree with this blog and what Andy has to say.

However, I have big problems with this particularly article.

I'm a white person, and frankly, it makes me squirm a bit any time I hear
a black person being called a "racist" by a white
person here in America. (Maybe that itself is a bit "racist"--but all
I've got to say about that to any offended white person is: boo f*cking hoo).

The fact is, America has brutally oppressed black people since it
was founded. (This shouldn't be surprising: after all, America was
FOUNDED by white slave holders).

And let's be clear on something: slavery was the biggest crime in
the history of mankind. It was at least as big a crime as the Holocaust.

In saying this, I am by no means trying to diminish the suffering of the Jewish
people in WWII. Rather, I'm simply trying to emphasize just how great an unimaginable
horror slavery was.

I think most white Americans have zero clue as to how big a crime slavery was.
After all, most of us, when we think of slavery, in our mind's eye, probably
think of something like the film, "Gone With the Wind."

Watching that film, slavery doesn't seem quite so bad. It depicts black slaves
laughing and singing songs while living a colorful, happy, agrarian, easy-going

"Gone With the Wind" is an insult to black people and the truth. It is so far removed
from reality that it is the equivalent of if a light-hearted musical comedy was made
about the Holocaust.

White Americans are utterly ignorant of our nation's own crimes over the years, be
it slavery, or our genocide of Native Americans. Just as Stalin did in the Soviet Union,
we carefully airbrush out all the negative, uncomfortable facts about our nation's history.

Any discussion of race in America must include the ugly reality of slavery.

But here's something that's even more remarkable: if you completely removed the
slavery chapter from the story of American history, our nation's oppression of black
people would STILL be one of the ugliest episodes of racial repression in world history.

Don't believe me? Then, you really need to educate yourself on the horrific century that
FOLLOWED slavery. All the way up to the 1960s, blacks were treated like sh*t and were brutally
repressed in America.

White people to this day are completely clueless about the 1865 to 1960s chapter of racist
repression in America. We're completely ignorant of the horrific and savage era of "spectacle"
lynching, which began in the 1880s. Thousands of blacks were horribly tortured, soaked with kerosene,
and set on fire, often in the middle of downtowns across America, in front of cheering white crowds
(often with the mayor and sheriff looking on, or even assisting).

Read "At the Hands of Persons Unknown," a book about lynchings in America from the 1840s to the 1930s.
Some of the tortures that blacks were subjected to boggle the mind. One pregnant woman was hung upside
down---her belly was slit and her baby fell to the ground, where it was stomped to death. In another
case, in 1904, in Mississipi, black people were tortured by having wine corkscrews twisted into their bodies
and then ripped out, along with quivering chunks of flesh. And on and on----hundreds of pages of horrible
atrocities that white Americans today are blissfully unaware of.

But that's all forgotten today, as are horrific episodes like the Tulsa "race riot" of 1921
(in which white Tulsans stormed into the prosperous black section of town and murdered hundreds
of blacks for no reason other than racial hate). Airplanes even circled overhead, dropping firebombs
on the black inhabitants. It's all part of American history that has been carefully airbrushed out
of the picture.

Which brings us to today. Repression of black people in our white-dominated society is still
widespread to this day. Whites still completely and utterly dominate the worlds of business and politics.

Meanwhile, black people are incarcerated at vastly higher rates than whites. Studies show that black people
get vastly harsher prison sentences than whites for doing identical crimes. Blatant racism permeates
our justice system, our legal system, our schools---in fact, every American institution. And let's not
forget the 2000 election, in which thousands of blacks were denied the vote.

The horrible plight of black people was briefly brought to white, middle-class America's attention during
the Hurricane Katrina crisis (but I doubt it came as much surprise to black people across America).

Sorry to ramble during this post, but I guess what I'm trying to say is this: sure, I guess it's possible
for black people to be "racist." But given the horrific, raw, sh*tty deal that America has always
given black people in this country, I would think that a progressive blog would have other issues to
address than whining and moaning about poor Don Imus supposedly being on the receiving end of "racism"
from a black man.

Oh, and one other thing. Regarding this comment:
>>>But are we to surmise from this comment that deep down in his core Don Imus is truly a racist? I think not.

Actually, to me, that comment proved Imus is a racist (even though he---like a lot of white
bigots---is unaware of his own racism).

America owes a huge debt to black people that we could never repay in a trillion centuries.
(However, we could start by paying the hundreds of billions owed in slavery reparations).

Until then, we really ought to just shut the f*ck up about black "racism" toward whites.

Anonymous said...

Al, I wasnt referring to the entire race. I was talking about the generality of why whites don't like blacks (I mean, if that's is the particular case)---not as an entire race, but the particular case. I think you KNOW what i was saying, you're just trying to spin what I said to fit your point.

Another thing---why is it that Richard Pryor could say "nigger" and Imus can't say "ho"? They're both comedians. Imus isn't a journalist or a politician. I know we live in PC times now and Imus shouldnt have said something so dumb, but Chris Rock still says nigger TODAY and everyone laughs----why is that????

Anonymous said...

hey anonymous----funny, I thought America was founded by the Indians until we killed them and stole it from them.

Anonymous said...

I challenge anyone to find a single rap album that does not contain the word 'ho' in its lyrics

Anonymous said...

Defeat the Kennedy Immigration Bill!!

$2.2 trillion illegal alien taxpayer sticker shock
2/3 of immigrants cost Americans $22,449 a year, shows new study

Posted: April 11, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

WASHINGTON – Someone has finally fixed an approximate taxpayer cost of between 12 million and 15 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S.

A new study by the Heritage Foundation's Robert Rector found a household headed by an individual without a high school education, including about two-thirds of illegal aliens, costs U.S. taxpayers more than $32,000 in federal, state and local benefits. That same family contributes an average of $9,000 a year in taxes, resulting in a net tax burden of $22,449 each year.

Over the course of the household's lifetime that tax burden translates to $1.1 million.

If the lower figure of 12 million illegal aliens is used for estimation purposes, the total tax burden translates to $2.2 trillion.

"Would any of us buy shares in a company that we knew would produce a loss of a million dollars a share," asks Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in response to the study. "Cheap labor is not cheap at the cost of over a million dollars per head of household."

Rector's study, "The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Households to the U.S. Taxpayer," examines the economics of the 17.7 million American households made up of people without a high-school degree. Using numbers from the Census Bureau, the Congressional Research Service, the Bureau of Labor Standards and other government agencies, Rector determined what they earn, what they spend and what they receive in government services.

About half of the 17.7 million households studied are illegal aliens. About two-thirds of illegal alien households are headed by someone without a high school degree. Only 10 percent of native-born Americans fit into that category.

"Over the next ten years the total cost of low-skill households to the taxpayer (immediate benefits minus taxes paid) is likely to be at least $3.9 trillion," Rector writes. "This number would go up significantly if changes in immigration policy lead to substantial increases in the number of low-skill immigrants entering the country and receiving services."

Anonymous said...

Do you also have a problem with teachers who molest our children? Do you think its appropriate for the NEA to protect these teachers? Do you think its appropriate for the DNC to accept contributions from the NEA ?

Anonymous said...

Larry, from your further comments, I see you just don't get it and likely never will. It's the difference in calling yourself an a**hole and a stranger calling you the same times ten because of all the baggage, as mentioned by anon 10:27AM, that comes with it.
As far as black rappers using the terms nigga, hos etc., In the past I would have said it is a representation of the realism of poverty and limited opportunities, but I'll go with exploitation as the reason now. I used to think that rap was conscience raising about actual social issues in the poorest segregated ghettos. You see, what started as an expression of their repression has morphed into a parody of it's self as the money started rolling in. The true irony of this is that the financial success of these exploitive artists hinges on whites purchasing the music, as straight statistics say your not going to get the gold and platinum sales if you don't crossover to the majority population.
Just to tie up a few loose ends; We committed genocide of the natives of this continent for the land. We established our economy and built our industry on the cheapest of labor, slavery. We established an under class of laborers based on race and ethnicity to try to keep a cheap labor force. And when they achieved relative equality, at least on paper, we allowed immigration to perpetuate this under class for the same purpose and to create a class/race war. We will establish a "guest worker program" to perpetuate it. As long as we deny these workers the equal rights as all Americans, specifically the right to organize, unionize and negotiate, it will remain.
There is a common tie with these race/immigration/labor issues. I would recommend reading David Sirota's Sirotablog articles which are wonderfully referenced. Give him a read and you may get it, and if you don't, you aren't paying attention.

Hey Andy, where are you?

Anonymous said...

DON IMUS used the word 'ho' once and got suspended. 50 Cent used the word 13 times in one number and seems to be doing okay. In the same number he used the word 'nigga' 14 times. . . 50 Cent is a former drug dealer and Don Imus is a former drug addict, miner, gas station attendant and railway brakeman. . . At present, however, they live just 59 miles away from each other: Imus in Westport, CT; and 50 Cent in Mike Tyson's former mansion in Farmington, CT. According to Mapquest, it would take only an hour and 17 minutes for one to pay a visit on the other. They are part of contemporary upscale Connecticut culture. In a sense, Imus was just copying something a neighbor had said. . . 50 Cent has sold 21 million albums using language such as 'ho.'. Don Imus got suspended.

*From Progressive Review (www.prorev.com)

Anonymous said...

Proctor & Gamble tortures dogs and other animals in tests for their products -- tests that are not necessary and do not contribute anything to the safety of products for humans. But, now they're getting goodie points for condemning Imus. Imus was repeating to a team words they'd certainly heard before because these phrases are are now part of the pop culture. How could his remarks damage one of those girls for life? Proctor & Gamble murders countless innocent animals. Who is the evil one?

And spekaing of misogyny -- MSNBC is the worst. The executives make their news women dress, even early in the morning, in low-cut, cocktail type tops, and must all have hair styles hanging below the collar bone, circling their chins, and all "sexy". The makeup is lavish. ON all the networks women wear very short skirts and when seen in a long shot the bare legs are highly visible and inappropriate. All of this is appro[roate in other settings, but certainly not in a newsroom when reporting the serious business of world and national affairrs is the business to be attended to. I repeat -- this is sexist. Business women don't dress like that in "the real world." Well -- some waitresses, who are business women,too, do in some of the sexist restaurants/bars.

Anonymous said...

Al, I DID get it. I got that you were spinning what I was saying to fit your point. Anon 4:08--blacks claim that "nigga" isnt the same as "nigger". Isnt that the biggest crock of shit you've ever heard? To me, "nigga" is the EXACT same word. It has been mispelled by the blacks so they can use it and claim it's not the same meaning as "nigger". It's all an attempted mind game, and Im not buying it.

Anonymous said...

I think Bill Clinton likes to 'be on top' - of whomever he is currently raping.

Anonymous said...

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??! Boof**king who to the offended white person?!?! Where do you live, in the one town left in middle America that has 2 black families?? I am a young white woman who has stopped at a gas station & been refused service because it was in a "black" part of town. I have been told I couldn't enter a club because I was white. So don't give me that crap!! There is such a thing as black on white racism. Have you heard of the United White College Fund? Or of an all White School? Have you been refused goverment help because you make 2 dollars too much a week & are told you are the wrong race to qualify? Where's the box to check on the college app for being white so you get special considerations due to your heritage? Wake up & join the here & now! You can't change the past & I'm sure in the hell not going to pay for something that happened 100 years ago that I'm not responsible for (slavery). I am by far no racist and do not tolerate people who are, but no one of any race is going to run over me or my family because they feel they are owed the right to. By the way, have you forgotten the white families that the news media didn't show you on tv that were suffering after Katrina as you watched from your nice, dry living room? I live on the Gulf Coast, I've seen first hand. So don't sit at your computer & pat your self on the back because you're such a great friend to the black man. You're not doing your self or any body else any good. And by the way, Gone With the Wind is a MOVIE!!!! Don't be so quick to belive every thing you see on tv is based on reality.

Anonymous said...

Consider the Duke case and the Imus controversy. Now consider why this story was never covered by the major news organizations. Rape and torture? They would have jumped on this story had the victims been black.