Imus, King Of Hate, Returns
Ultimately, Imus is back on the air because he is saleable and reaches an audience of millions that think the idiocy he peddles is â€œentertainment.â€? Thatâ€™s why politicians and pundits rush to appear on his show. What does that say about white America and its media?
[Speaking Truth To Power]
Nearly eight months after being fired for his racist, sexist “nappy-headed hoes” remark, directed toward the Rutgers women’s Basketball team, popular so-called “shock jock” Don Imus made his return to the airwaves last Monday morning, on WABC-AM.
“We have signed for five years,” Imus remarked about his contracts with Citadel Radio, the parent company of WABC and RFD-TV where his programs will be simulcast.
Imus assured his listeners that “the program is not going to change” though he promised “I will never say anything in my lifetime that will make any of these young women at Rutgers regret or feel foolish that they accepted my apology or forgave me.”
He also pledged that “no one else will say anything on my program that will make anyone think I didn’t deserve a second chance.” Apparently, to show he’s serious, Imus has hired, Tony Powell and Karith Foster two African American comedians to be co-hosts. Foster is female. Imus asserts they will be used to initiate “an ongoing discussion about race relations in this country.”
Making headway on a national racial discussion will require a serious commitment. Unfortunately, many Americans live in denial of the country’s racial reality. The apologists who now argue that Imus has suffered enough underscore this by claiming he isn’t a racist, while, avoiding the larger discussion about America’s entrenched institutional racism.
Yes, everyone should be allowed a second chance. However, why is it that only some are afforded a second chance? It’s possible Imus will become an instrument for positive change. Time will tell.
Yet, something else exceedingly cynical and phony is at work here. In the furor over the comments Imus made we’ve allowed those most responsible for the reprehensible content being spewed over the airwaves to go largely unpunished: the media conglomerates.
Let’s not kid ourselves Imus didn’t say anything that those who make the executive decisions don’t themselves espouse. If the media echoed a representation of the diverse voices in America, the ignorance of those like Imus would have a compelling counterbalance. The absence of those voices from “liberal” media is one of the greatest outrages here.
When one looks at the history of corporate media in relation to the coverage and images it portrays of Blacks and people of color we know that our communities have been repeatedly trashed. We see this in the demeaning stereotypes disseminated to inculcate the masses into believing that Blacks are a lazy, inferior, always-on-welfare community that’s only good to mass produce prostitutes, pimps, pushers and murderers.
This has whitewashed the institutionalized crimes meted against our people since slavery. White America deludes itself into believing that the Emancipation Proclamation ended the terrorism perpetrated and perpetuated on our people. It didn’t. Jim Crow segregation, the Black Codes and the Ku Klux Klan arose in the aftermath of the “Emancipation” to illustrate to Blacks that the “Proclamation” didn’t legislate them with equality equal to whites.
This was articulated a few years prior to “Emancipation” by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the Dred Scott Decision when he opined that Blacks were “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which a white man was bound to respect.”
Here we see “legal” racism laying the foundation for the atrocities that led to Black bodies swaying on southern trees. And while this was going on, where was the media? Functioning as they do now: as cheerleaders and instigators.
Media have aided and abetted the terror with fraudulent sensationalistic coverage, along with popularizing unchallenged propaganda, such as the hugely successful movie “Birth of a Nation” by D.W. Griffiths, with its mendacious theme of the sexually rapacious Black male. Will white America ever face the historical fact that Black women were the ones subjected to serial rape by white predator males?
This society is a patriarchal one, where disrespect for women is apparent. Black women have borne the brunt of this society’s misogynistic sexism. Being Black and female in a racist, sexist society has made that evident.
So, no, the “hoe,” “bitch,” terminology were not created by rappers; it is another example of White male sexism. That fact goes to the heart of why Imus didn’t have pause before he disparaged the Rutgers women.
Those in the Black community who glamorize such demeaning language shouldn’t get a pass. But while we deal with them, we shouldn’t allow white media to obfuscate the fact that what Imus said is rooted in the mindset of white America.
Ultimately, Imus is back on the air because he is saleable and reaches an audience of millions that think the idiocy he peddles is “entertainment.”
That’s why politicians and pundits rush to appear on his show. What does that say about white America and its media?
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