Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Last Word On Imus, Promise.

I wasn't even gonna post anything more about this story because it's been overdone by every form of national news media -- covering the Rutgers women's hoops team conference live, and now EVERYONE and their mother is jumping on the outrage train with Don Imus, who is still a jackass and shouldn't have his damn show. But TBL has their input, and cites a Jason Whitlock column as a "proper smackdown" of Al Sharpton. we go again. Stay with me on this.

Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it’s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again.

It's as if somehow, the institutional racism and hatred from certain sectors of white America has automatically disappeared, and when a nationally syndicated radio host makes an incredibly sexist and racist statement (let's not forget the nasty sexism part of it, especially with the way black women as a whole are perceived in this country), to call that person out on it is an excuse.

While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.

I ain’t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.

Nice. Re-appropriating from a culture you despise so heartily, and doing it poorly, to boot. Cue the crap about hip-hop/prison culture from his AOL columns here, that's what's coming for the next few paragraphs, and if you're really interested in reading specific criticisms of that, try these for size.

Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.

It’s embarrassing. Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white and black people, and we all laugh out loud.

It's called re-appropriation -- black people have taken the slurs white people used against them, homosexuals have done that too with gay slurs, and used them among their own community. Wonder what Jason's thoughts are on Richard Pryor. Does it make it right? I don't know. But everyone, in this day and age, has to know what they can say in public without looking like an ignorant, dumb-ass hick. The reason Chappelle got that money is because he was able to poke fun at those racial taboos without coming off as insensitive and stupid -- often, it was insightful.

Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers’ wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage.

Imus has no credibility in the sports world. Again, Whitlock and anyone else who is claiming this is overblown for that reason is missing the point: Don Imus is or was considered a credible figure in the mass media world, enough so where senators, congressmen, and writers for national magazines and newspapers appeared on his program to talk politics. His comments are NOT limited to the sports world; they do not solely affect the Rutgers women's basketball team.

In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?

Then put your money where your mouth is. Entertainers go that route because it sells to WHITE KIDS. Those black-owned radio stations are more likely "black-run" radio stations; the ownership is more often than not, Clear Channel, run by white radio execs in Texas. BET is part of the Viacom empire, started by Robert Johnson, but now run by Sumner Redstone. Take a bigger-picture look.

Don Imus is washed up. He is a hack. But for some reason, powerful people go to his show to seek his approval, people who represent us in politics, and write and report for our major media organs. In that grand scheme and context, his words are not irrelevant.

We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.

That old white man has a large listener base, enough to warrant a simulcast deal with MSNBC, with NATIONAL POLITICAL FIGURES AND JOURNALISTS ON IT. He is part of the Conventional Wisdom, whether you want to admit it or not. If that's not about the same size as the gangsta rappers, I'm not sure what is. Rappers don't have a ton of political figures coming to them to make nice. They're not part of the mainstream political culture in America, despite the efforts of Russell Simmons.

And Sharpton, despite his obvious flaws as any sort of righteous person, wants to do something about hip-hop and any violence associated with it. The problem is that it always gets buried. This is from 2005:

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who is campaigning against violence in rap music, plans to buy stock in record companies that produce hip-hop and then become vocal as a stockholder. "I don't think too many CEOs want to see me come into his stockholders' meeting to say they're not doing enough to stop the violence," Sharpton told the New York Daily News. Sharpton didn't name the companies or say how much stock he plans to buy. He also plans to put pressure on the Federal Communications Commission. "I do not understand how the FCC can make a lot of noise around Janet Jackson and that case with Howard Stern but has not said anything about a pattern of shooting and other violence at radio stations," Sharpton said. Sharpton has accused one New York station, WQHT-FM, of instigating violence by having rappers bait one another on the air.

Isn't that addressing the issue, Mr. Whitlock? Or is saying "the violence has to stop" with a rapper accused of beating up a 14-year old child not addressing it either?

Most people will tell you Sharpton's a huckster and the Tawana Brawley incident was atrocious. But he still has influence because people listen to him, and when he gets slammed for not doing anything about hip-hop without cause, it only makes him a little bit better.

1 comment:

Gangsta D said...

Dude why do you continuously torture yourself by reading Whitlock? lol Take the ten minutes it takes to read his column and watch some internet porn. It's healthier and it won't make you pull your hair out. I haven't read a Whitlock column in two months, and I swear my IQ has increased at least 3 points.