Did Imus Not Go Far Enough?
By: Bob Parks
This whole Don Imus racial slur thing stinks. Not just because of the words he used on his nationally syndicated radio program. But because of his chosen word, we now have a fresh dose of Jesse Jackson protesting in Chicago and Al Sharpton being all righteous and demanding Imus be fired in The Big Apple. Funny how these two men of the cloth have forgotten about forgiveness when they get the national juice to demand someone’s head.
The reason why this whole episode stinks to high heaven is that Don Imus has been in the radio business for thirty sum-odd years. Anyone who’s been in the business as long as Don Imus knows what you can say and what you should not. The reason why I ask did Imus not go far enough is that sometimes people do things subconsciously. Maybe Imus is burned out. Maybe he was looking for a way out? Maybe he screwed up, but not in the way everyone is looking at it?
On last Wednesday’s morning show, the following exchange between Imus and his producer, Bernard McGuirk was one for the history booksâ€¦.
DON IMUS: So I watched the basketball game last night between a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women’s final.
SID ROSENBERG: Yeah, Tennessee won last night, seventh championship for Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by thirteen points.
DON IMUS: Some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they’ve got tattoos and â€“
BERNARD McGUIRK: Some hardcore hos.
DON IMUS: That’s some nappy-headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that. Man, that’s some — ooh! And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so — like kind of like a — I don’t know.
BERNARD McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
DON IMUS: Yeah.
BERNARD McGUIRK: The Jigaboos versus the Wannabes â€“
DON IMUS: Yeah.
BERNARD McGUIRK: That movie that he had?
DON IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough â€“
CHARLES McCORD: Do the Right Thing.
BERNARD McGUIRK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
DON IMUS: I don’t know if I’d have wanted to beat Rutgers or not. But they did, right?
SID ROSENBERG: It was a tough watch. The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.
DON IMUS: Well, I guess, yeah.
LOU RUFFINO: Only tougher.
Besides the fact that McGuirk seemed to be the one who instigated the whole race and sexist take on the basketball team, it would appear that one reason Imus should be canned is that he and his crew are just too damn old. No one but oldheads like Sharpton and Jackson would make a national case off the word “jigaboos.”
The word is offensive to be sure, but the word “ho” is spoken in more rap songs and videos and no one gives a damn unless an old man in New York City wearing a cowboy hat says it.
I find it curious (not really) that Senator George Allen was essentially voted out because he called an opposition campaign worker “macaca” and it gave liberals yet another opportunity to call all conservatives racists. But these same liberals look the other way when time after they use racial epithets and some consider it art. But a firing would be out of the question, right?
“Tonight it is being announced on this broadcast that radio host Don Imus, whose national morning show is simulcast on our cable network MSNBC, is being suspended, taken off the air for two weeks starting Monday, because of comments he made last week.”
“Many of us at NBC News are frequent guests on the Imus show. He spent this entire day apologizing under withering fire for the remarks he made about members of the Rutgers basketball team.” – NBC’s Brian Williams on The Nightly News April 9, 6:37pm
A two-week time out.
Now, liberals like Michael Richards pay a few bucks, apologize on David Letterman, maybe go to a couple sensitivity classes, and all’s forgiven. And I mentioned that some liberals consider racist verbiage “art.”
Although I liked the movie, the exchange near the end of the movie “Pulp Fiction” didn’t get more of the attention Imus is getting now. Quentin Tarantino, who wrote the dialogue, seems to have a love-love relationship with the word “nigger” and Hollywood keeps giving him money to make more edgy films.
This is acceptable dialogueâ€¦?
JIMMIE: I’m not a cobb or corn, so you can stop butterin’ me up. I don’t need you to tell me how good my coffee is. I’m the one who buys it, I know how fuckin’ good it is. When Bonnie goes shoppin’, she buys shit. I buy the gourmet expensive stuff ’cause when I drink it, I wanna taste it. But what’s on my mind at this moment isn’t the coffee in my kitchen; it’s the dead nigger in my garage.
VINCENT: Jimmie –
JIMMIE: — I’m talkin’. Now let me ask you a question, Jules. When you drove in here, did you notice a sign out front that said, “Dead nigger storage?” — answer to question. Did you see a sign out in front of my house that said, “Dead nigger storage?”
VINCENT: Naw man, I didn’t.
JIMMIE: You know why you didn’t see that sign?
JIMMIE: ‘Cause storin’ dead niggers ain’t my fuckin’ business!
I would think this one passage is worse than what Imus and his sidekicks said, but Sharpton sees a ticket to the spotlight.
On the April 9 edition of Democracy Now! with the same Amy Goodman who has not said one word about the Nancy Pelosi road trip, interviewed Al Sharpton, who as usual, did most of the talkingâ€¦.
“I will, again, make it clear when Mr. Imus, if he were to show up at the radio show today, that this is not about whether he’s a good guy or whether he does charitable work, this is about accountability in media. If the airwaves can be used to, in any way, mainstream racism and sexism, it is an affront to all of us. We must resist it. We cannot have a precedent where people can say these kinds of things and walk away without any penalty.”
This, from the same Al Sharpton who used the phrase “bloodsucking Jews”. We all know of the Jesse Jackson comments that are not the best examples of racial tolerance and inclusion. First Sharpton and Jackson, and now the whole Rutgers basketball team and school for that matter, is “upset.”
According to WCBS New York, “”Don Imus’ comments were despicable and racist,” school president Richard McCormick said. ” It was so obvious they were hurt by what he had said. They were angry, perplexed.”
Of course I can understand why the women were hurt, especially because you don’t make jokes about a woman’s appearance. But sometimes I wonder why people just can’t get over it and move on, seeing how some on the team may go to parties and dance to “music” where women are called a lot worse.
The cynic in me thinks a deal was made between Imus, Sharpton, and Jackson. Imus to get a vacation where he can keep to himself and no one bothers him, while the Reverends get what they want: relevance and attention.
Sure, that sounds a little nuts, but is Imus that stupid? Is Sharpton and Jackson going to get over this any time soon? Probably not as long as they’re getting this much attention.
Are the ladies on the Rutgers basketball team going to get over the fact they’ve never heard the word “ho” before last Wednesday? Probably not. After the last race case blew up at Duke, liberals will re-group and use this as another case of black woman being raped. This time “verbally”â€¦.
Bob Parks is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. (www.thenma.org). The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.