Friday, April 13, 2007

Imus

I've never been a Don Imus fan. For some reason I never really got him. I guess the combination of name-calling shock jock and political talk show didn't make sense to me. I used to call the show: "I'm an ass in the morning."

When I heard what he said last week, I thought: "Par for the course." I mean - who is really surprised? He's been trafficking in that kind of stuff for years. I guess that is why I never really liked his show - I never thought it was particularly funny or entertaining when he would go off on a name calling tirade about someone he didn't like.

So, I won't particularly miss Don Imus.

But I have mixed feelings about how this whole episode played out. There are a lot of interesting facets to this episode, which I think is why it is such a big story.

First - the double standard. Rappers can say this kind of thing with impunity, but Imus gets fired. Are we just going to accept that black people can say things that white people cannot? If so, where does it end? Do rappers get a pass, when they retail in some of the most hostile and misogynistic lyrics imaginable. Where is the outrage from black leaders about the influence of this toxic genre?

Second, speaking of black "leaders," I for one am pretty tired of constantly seeing the racial spoils entrepreneurs capitalize on situations such as the Imus fiasco. Why do Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have any credibility or standing to be out front calling for Imus to be fired?

These two guys are nothing but race-baiters. They profit from fanning the flames of racial discord. Neither one wants racial harmony - that would disempower them. Their livelihood and political influence depends upon keeping blacks and whites in conflict.

Third, it is really interesting that this story broke concurrently with the Duke lacrosse players getting their charges dropped. Weren't Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson fanning those flames as well? Have they apologized to the lacrosse players?

I mean, who was harmed more, the Rutgers basketball team or the Duke lacrosse players? It's not even close.

So, should Imus have been fired? This came down to advertisers. They abandoned Imus, and that sealed his fate. I just wish the same would happen with rap music.

For the record, my radio station, KXL, dropped Imus immediately. They did not wait for six days to see which way the wind was blowing. That said, KXL ran Imus overnight, and there wasn't much money there in the first place.

What really bothers me about this whole thing has nothing to do with Imus. It has to do with the sorry state of race relations in America, and the fact that this will do nothing to improve it.

When black people have a different standard of behavior than white people, and when white people can lose their livelihood when they make the mistake of thinking there isn't any double standard, that is not a recipe for racial healing.

Second,

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

The emergent double-standard puritanism is in sharp contrast to the free-spiritedness of just a generation ago, when everyone could laugh at anything.

This new-leftist moral conservatism is truly nauseating.

Take a look at Eddie Murphy back then. Could even *he* "get away with that" today? 'Money' knows better and he wouldn't even bother. Nowadays you do 'Dreamgirls' and bask in the glow of an Oscar nomination.

Anonymous said...

I think you have made an excellent point about the non-existent apology from Sharpton and Jackson to the rugby players. It seems highly unlikely that one is forthcoming, which is wrong. That type of stiff-necked, prideful entitlement makes them look pretty ugly.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ey06nCEU2A

Mick said...

Rob:

Although I am also uneasy with the double-standard between black and white people, I don't think it's quite fair to compare Imus to rappers.

For one, rappers are often expressing a point of view that may not be their own. Songs are not always written in the first person.

Second, Imus directed the phrase at a group of girls that were clearly not prostitutes and it is doubtful they are sluts. If a rapper is talking about a "nappy headed ho", it's pretty likely he's being literal (prostitute) or semi-literal (slut).

I'm not 100% behind the path that rap has taken in the last 10 years, but there is a context for it and it makes sense within that context.

As far as the double-standard goes, I'm uncomfortable with it, but I think it is a passing phase that we're going through. More and more I hear kids of all races using the n-word on the Max and none of the kids think twice about it. The older generation knows the history so they empower the word, but the younger generation just see it as another word. FX had an interesting reality series called Black/White (I think) which talked extensively about these issues.

Although I don't think it's entirely fair, I'm OK giving this to black people. It costs me very little and it may make their lives happier.

Mick said...

Anonymous:

I see nothing in the Eddie Murphy videos that's analagous to what Imus said. Is there something in particular you meant?

-Mick

Rob Kremer said...

Mick:
True, as Snoop Dog said: "When I say "ho" I am talking about real ho's." (paraphrasing)

Imus said what he said about accomplished student athletes who did absolutely nothing to deserve what he said about them.

That said, the larger point is the coursening of society and the rap industry's general defiling of women. While Snoop may sing about "real" ho's, where are the rap songs celebrating and elevating women?

Pretty much nowhere.

As for the double standard - if I thought it was a phase, maybe I'd be sanguine about it too, but I am not so sure.

Anonymous said...

Latest rumor is that Jackson & Sharpton are insisting that OJ Simpson replace Imus and won't trust either network unless it is done.

Anonymous said...

Mick:

Check yourself.

I'm OK giving this to black people. It costs me very little and it may make their lives happier.

This is condescending and is actual racism. To believe that black people some how need you to "give" them something, or that they are some how damaged. This is white guilt and what the entire DEM party is now about. It's plantation thinking and it does not serve black people at all.

YOU can not make their lives happier. THEY are not all the same just because their skin pigmentation is darker than yours. They are not waiting on your benevolence.

REAL principles apply to everyone, black or white.

REAL equality means there are no double-standards between the races.

Dare!PDX said...

My guess is that Imus had a long term contract. He wasn't making the kind of loot for his broadcasters like he used to.

Given this recent event they cut his contract loose just to cut their loses. Thats my real thought on the event.

No way this is anything close to Howard Stern ever day. Local DJ's in Portland make the same racially charged statements all the time to. They are done in jest (slightly different than Imus who was hurling insults) but still the same type of language.

Anonymous said...

Check this…. Based on the color of my skin I’m guilty of slavery. My family, not the people I look like, but my family had nine members fought in the civil war only five came back. Still the Rev Sharpton ( What church does he hold sermons at?) and Jackson say I may not be guilty of slavery but I should feel bad.
Here’s the kicker….. I nor any white person ever got a f***ing THANK YOU for the sacrifices made by us. You know it was the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil, it was white on white, but the white man did nothing for blacks…… Isn’t that funny?

Any time a person of color tells you that you need to feel bad about slavery you let them know they are direct descendants of Treasonist turn coats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
During the revolutionary war the British went down south and said if any slave fought for one year they would be granted freedom…. Blacks turned out in droves. Thousands of slaves went and fought AGAINST the Americans. THAT’S TREASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know, I know they were fighting for their freedom so that excuses the crime. Wrong… in every country through out time up till today no one excuses Treason…… There is not excuse

Some people will say well America wasn’t a country at the time…. We didn’t become a country until 1782. Well that great but every American accepts 1776 as our birth of a nation. So any crimes against America starting form July 4,1776 is a crime against America …… Including Treason.

Whites who fought against slavery, those who made it a crime to have slaves should fell bad about something that was COMPLETELY LEGAL until whites changed that, but blacks are not guilty of Treason, an act that is still punishable by death. Why? Blacks may feel bad? Oh no… the ONLY people who say all the time whites should feel bad……. We can’t have those people feel bad about THEIR indiscretions. That would be wrong….. Matter of fact many may call me a racist for pointing out the truth.

REMEMBER whites this is for when you are told to feel bad about slavery. It is not an argument to make blacks feel bad.

We ALL need to stop letting the media divide us along color lines. We need solidarity so we can fight the ones separating us.

A few moons ago the powers that be gave control of two piers along the west side of Manhattan…. Every New Yorker stood up together regardless of race, creed, or color and said WE WILL NOT HAVE THIS. The next day that came to a screeching halt. Proving to me that the power of the American people was still strong.
That is my dream… The power of the American people.

When we all stand up and tell Them (powers that be) WE will not have this anymore. I know as you and They know it will truly be a new day.

Here’s your war cry -----------
THIS IS A NEW DAY AND WE WILL NOT BE DEVIDED ANY MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Tyler Goines
4/14/07

Anonymous said...

Al Sharpton never made any public comments about the Duke lacrosse players - you can look it. So he has nothing to apologize for. Do you think the sports commentators & the NFL should refrain from punishing Pacman Jones who has never been indicted for a crime also?

Robert Justin Lipkin said...

I think it's a mistake to belabor the "hypocrite point." There are much deeper lessors to be learned. See Essentially Constested America.

http://www.essentiallycontestedamerica.org/2007/04/14#a1032

Mick said...

Wow. I think Tyler just proved that there are still race problems in America.

As for whether I'm a racist, I'll admit that my Midwestern upbringing has deeply instilled many racists beliefs which I try to exorcise daily. Nevertheless, I won't accept being called a racist for BEING CONSIDERATE to black people. If you don't think that slightly modifying your behavior can't make people happier, I'm pretty sure I know the kind of person you are. When I smile at people on the Max, I've probably made their day a little better. I don't think it's condescending.

Mick said...

Rob:

There are several positive songs about women. For example, I googled "rap mom" and found this article:

http://rap.about.com/od/toppicks/tp/SongsForMothers.htm

As far as the general coarsening of society, I often think that, too. Then I remember my response to older people when I was to remind them that Socrates had said the same thing about youth culture.

ThatDeborahGirl said...

I just don't understand how you can be so clueless. Have you ever even talked to a real live black person?

All black people are no more responsible for what a few rappers say than all white people are responsible for what the Klan says.

You descend into bigotry when you put all black people in the same basket.