Harlem Still Rages Over Imus

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Weeks after Don Imus’s dismissal by CBS and MNBC over his racist remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, Harlem residents, interviewed on the Black Mecca’s famed 125th Street, are still reflecting on his bigoted remarks.

Some say it’s a reflection of how Black people disrespect each other while others contend Imus simply voiced what white people say about Blacks in private, pointing to the fact that it took more than one week for him to get fired.

“I think he was just trying to show Black people that he wanted to ‘be down’. However I still believe he is a racist because if he was not, then he would have showed sensitivity in not using those words,� says a Harlem-resident who only wanted to be identified as C. Wise.

Imus referred to the Rutgers players as “nappy-headed ho’s,� as the whole world now knows. “I felt like it was uncalled for, but Imus felt like he could get away with using that term because we refer to each other like that,� adds a lady gave her name as Ms. B. Wynn, noting that young Black men referred to each other using the n-word. “He needs to take racial sensitivity classes not just for concerning Black people but also when talking about women as well.�

An incense dealer along 125th Street who only provided his first name, John, says Imus’s ordeal should also serve as a cautionary tale. “Imus is an old and miserable man who smokes cocaine. We as Black people should let what he said go, and look at ourselves,� he says, insisting that in the past Rev. Al Sharpton has used derogative terms to describe white people. He says Imus’s apology was sincere and that Sharpton shouldn’t have spearheaded a campaign to drive Imus from his job.

“If you want to be a leader of other people then you have to show that you can forgive. One day he will say something and want forgiveness and he will not get it so easily,� he says of Sharpton. 

Micheal Johnson, also interviewed on 125th Street had a unique perspective: “I don’t call Imus getting fired a punishment, more like a vacation. Besides he is only stating what the majority of white America has to say about African-Americans that they dare not say to our faces.�

Yet, ultimately Imus deserved firing, says Maddy Solo: “His apology was not good enough if he did was not punished then anyone else would feel that they can make these kinds of statements and get away with it.�

“I come from the generation where Black people were using bleaching creams to make themselves lighter and now we are calling ourselves niggers. We need to stop doing that,� says an angry Kim Blackstock. “I live in Harlem and while we Black people talk about unity we are not practicing it by how we treat each other.� He has harsh words for Hip-hop artists and says they must take responsibility for degrading and disrespecting women.



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