Saturday, April 14, 2007

Last Word On Imus From This End

It's probably not right to post a blog concerning both Norah Jones and Don Imus. Even though both contributed to me feeling negatively on Friday the 13th, they did it in two very different ways. So I'm going hold off on my Norah blog and get right down to Imus.

I wrote last week that I believed Imus should be fired for his absurdly stupid comments. I stand by that. I think that CBS and MSNBC acted incredibly cowardly, though, not firing the DJ until long after the comment. This is the kind of thing that should have immediately led to Imus being pulled from air, but they waited until it was going to cost them money. Pathetic.

But even more pathetic is Imus himself. This is a guy that has a history of making racist comments, "all in humor," of course. When was this kind of comedy funny? And at what point do we realize that continually mocking all races and ethinicities with stereotypical comments isn't humor, but a serious prejudice? Seriously. And I don't care that some of things he says may be in jest, they are still said and that does, in some way, legitimize these idiotic things.

And let's remember that Imus himself basically refused to apologize for any of this until it was apparent he could lose his job if he didn't. He pretty much told everyone to chill out and that the statement was "some idiot comment meant to be amusing." Yeah, OK.

With all this said, the most disturbing part of this whole controversy has been the venom unleashed toward Al Sharpton and, to some extent, Jesse Jackson on the radio, television and on blogs - just check out the comments left by people on Joe Amarante's blog. If this doesn't show that racism is still a big problem in America, nothing will.

All these people want to do is blame the famous black figures for the firing of the famous white figure. It's totally BS. Hey folks: Imus said this. It's been on the news ever since; another product of our 24-hour news cycle/YouTube world is how things don't go away anymore. And let me remind you, white people run the news. The Sharptons of the world have no real power without the media spreading their agenda. That's the way it is. To think, some folks have been sending hate mail to the Rutgers team. Is there anything more repugnant? Imus supporters are just looking to blame anybody that isn't Imus, who is, you know, the guy who said it.

Sharpton and Jackson have every right to call for Imus' firing. Every right. They wouldn't be doing it if Imus didn't use a ridiculously racist comment to describe a group of high-achieving students, kids that were only trying to win a basketball tournament.

This is not, I repeat not, the same as a racist joke or a hip-hop song. I won't use the whole censorship argument, but I will say the rappers who do use this language have been criticized inside the black community many times over (read Jason Whitlock's great column - even if I disagree with one sentiment of it - here). And I don't excuse the language, but rappers are hardly picking on a group of real life college students.

It is different for a 66-year-old irrelevant multi-millionaire - and white dude - to use the language about a group college kids, as opposed to a black hip-hop artist using it in some lyrics.
Here's a column from The New York Times from last week, and I think it says things well.

Look, there's no room in our society for crap like this. None. I agree that Rutgers has handled this poorly - hell, just about everyone has - but none of it excuses the comments, and, also importantly, the fact that Imus didn't think it was worth apologizing over.

So, while it's never good for a person to lose his job, Imus deserved it.

No comments: