The New Lynching: Why I Must Defend Don Imus
By: Selwyn Duke
So Don Imus has been fired from his radio show, and all is well in the world. We all know about the maelstrom that developed around the aging shock jock, who has found out how loose lips sink ships, in this case his own. But even though his is a vessel I never would have christened, I find a certain conclusion inescapable here. I must defend Don Imus.
Lest I be misunderstood, I have no use for the man nor any for the rest of his ilk. I know him to be a poster boy for our cultural decay, a man who, along with innumerable fellow babblers, disgorges cultural effluent on a daily basis. He has been a willing participant in the defining of deviancy downwards and I normally would not lament his departure.
I also would criticize his comments. Itâ€™s most uncharitable to make sport of relatively anonymous college kids and mock their appearance. So, one may wonder, given my thorough condemnation of the man, in what way do I defend him?
Itâ€™s very simple: What really matters with respect to this issue has nothing to do with Imus. This is because this has everything to do with race, but not in the way many think. It isnâ€™t what was said that has the sultans of slime (read: reverends without congregations, et al.) so upset, but the color of the man who said it.
Letâ€™s place this in perspective. We now have a society in which virtually no comment, no matter how salacious, sardonic, crude, rude or lewd, is out of bounds. The only restriction is that politically incorrect people must confine themselves to politically correct comments; politically correct people can go further and utter some politically incorrect ones. And shock jocks and music pox, otherwise known as rappers, regularly exercise their tongues in ways that would make the Marquis de Sade blush. And these rappers, who, almost to a man, would be dead or in jail if quasi-literacy and incoherent, vulgar, hateful rambling werenâ€™t handsomely rewarded by our beating-a-chicken-under-the-moonlight culture, drive around in limousines, even though no amount of money can take the gutter out of the guttersnipe. We see people who pass themselves off as artists creating uplifting works such as a crucifix immersed in a bowl of urine and then demanding tax dollars as funding. We have gratuitous violence served up with relativistic messages in movies and sexual imagery anywhere and everywhere; it so permeates our society that now we have fifth-graders having orgies in the classroom. Then, the Lordâ€™s name is regularly taken in vain on film, although no one cares about that anymore because we now show obeisance to a new virtue, one of the vice-riddenâ€™s design. Of course, the aforementioned is far from exhaustive, for how do you encapsulate a toxic culture operating 24/7 and beaming its poison to all corners of the Earth in a paragraph? Perhaps it can be done, but itâ€™s beyond my capabilities.
Now letâ€™s view Imusâ€™ comments against the backdrop of the above. In an amateurish attempt at humor, he called some female collegiate basketball players â€œnappy-headed hos.â€ Not nice, no question there, but when placed in context, how bad do they seem to those who arenâ€™t slaves of political correctness?
I know what some are thinking. You canâ€™t excuse bad behavior by citing other bad behavior, and, in the same way that you apprehend and convict the murderers you can, the thieves you can and the rapists you can, knowing full well that others will escape justice, shouldnâ€™t any traditionalist welcome the erasure of one blot on the American panorama? Doesnâ€™t the journey toward a reclaimed culture begin with the draining of a single cesspool? Of course we would have to start somewhere, but the problem is that an overall war against immorality is not the basis on which Imus has been punished. Moreover, Imus may be replaced with someone more politically correct, but he wonâ€™t be replaced with someone better.
And now weâ€™re inching closer to the point. Anyone who wants to combat immorality across-the-board will find a staunch ally in me. However, I will not, under any circumstances, be party to a process whereby a few politically incorrect instances of it are cherry-picked from a sea of immorality and the perpetrators punished harshly simply because they bear the wrong complexion.
The problem here is both simple and ominous: The firing of Imus further solidifies the precedent stating that, with respect to freedom of speech, the latitude one has is directly proportional to his epidermal melanin content. Plainly speaking, a white person risks his career when saying things for which black people are regularly given a pass. Itâ€™s the new lynching.
I said this solidifies the precedent because itâ€™s not even close to the first such occurrence. Back in 1988, famous sportscaster Jimmy â€œthe Greekâ€ Snyderâ€™s career was ended when, while inebriated in a restaurant, he asserted that blacks were better athletes and posited a theory as to why this was so. Contrast this with the case of Dusty Baker, a black man who, while manager of the Chicago Cubs, also said that minority athletes enjoyed some innate advantages in the athletic arena. Although Baker did have to endure some criticism, his job was never in jeopardy (nor should it have been).
Getting back to Don Imus, Iâ€™ll point out that music pox and black comedians regularly trade in bigoted, misogynistic, hateful material that makes him look like Opie Taylor. On Hannity & Colmes recently, they had as a guest a quite corpulent comic named Patrice Oâ€™Neal. Oâ€™Neal, a black man, unabashedly used the word â€œcrackerâ€ (a racial epithet referring to whites that is the equivalent of â€œniggerâ€) numerous times, while Sean Hannity just sat quietly and smiled. Then thereâ€™s the clip of black comedian Chris Rock (Michael Savage brought it to light on his show) wherein he talks about how he hates all â€œcrackersâ€ to the roar of an appreciative audience. â€œOh, câ€™mon, Duke, thatâ€™s just humor,â€ you say? Yeah, so was what Imus said.
Contrast this with how white commentators have been cowed into not even uttering the word â€œniggerâ€ for illustrative purposes; instead, they obediently say â€œthe â€˜N-word.â€™â€ Itâ€™s something they dare not even whisper. . . . To me, this one, solitary phenomenon perfectly epitomizes the neutering of the white male, as we genuflect at the altar of the race hustlers. In fact, itâ€™s so preposterous it bears restatement: Blacks can use the word â€œcrackerâ€ to demean and express hatred, but whites cannot even utter the word â€œniggerâ€ as an element of substantive commentary. I guess this is the affirmative-action of the tongue.
Speaking of the rotten fruits of our affirmative-action mentality, two of its worst products â€“ and that takes in a lot of territory â€“ Jesse Jackson and the bovine bloviator himself, Al Sharpton, were Imusâ€™ two main inquisitors. Iâ€™m far from the first to make this point, but who are these two vile, vicious, bigoted mental midgets to be casting the first stone at anyone? Of course, many have spoken of their hypocrisy, but as bad as it is, it must be subordinated to something far more significant. That they apply a double standard that benefits themselves is bad enough, but that the media apply one that benefits them is far worse.
If we are going to root out bigots, why arenâ€™t we applying the attention where itâ€™s most needed? As to this, we can add to Jackson and Sharptonâ€™s sins their bigoted crucifixion of the recently exonerated and always innocent Duke lacrosse players. Letâ€™s look at what Jackson said shortly after the false allegation was made:
â€œ. . . And the idea of white males fantasizing about black women is â€“ is quite old, quite â€“ and quite ugly, and now quite illegal.â€
â€œThat fantasy is as old as slave masters impregnating young slave girls.â€
Now, this seems curiously reminiscent of what was sometimes said a century ago about black men lusting after white women, something now viewed as a most egregious form of racial stereotyping. But not only has the media not criticized the race hustler for this prejudiced remark, it has been disseminated so little that I actually had trouble finding the exact quotation (you have no idea how long I spent searching for it).
Of course, this is just the latest from a man who is beneath contempt, a creature who has made a career out of using threats and intimidation to shake down corporations, all to enrich himself, his family and his cronies.
Even more of a thug is Sharpton, a man who has incited riots that have caused immeasurable pain and suffering and more than just a few deaths â€“ he has blood on his hands. And this isnâ€™t the first time he has been party to false rape allegations. In 1987 he perpetrated the Tawana Brawley hoax, an incident in which a 15-year-old girl fabricated rape allegations against six white men. Sharpton was only too eager to drag the menâ€™s reputations through the mud, which included labeling Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones a racist and a rapist. Sharpton never even apologized to Pagones, and to this day has not paid a price for his vicious slander. Of course, he did disappear from public view for a spell, but like a jerk-in-the-box, he popped back up some years later as if nothing ever happened and now is a favored guest on many news shows. (Shame on you, Bill Oâ€™Reilly, for giving this criminal a forum.)
Now, contrast the above with â€œnappy-headed hos.â€ Also, how does â€œnappy-headed hosâ€ stack up against Jacksonâ€™s and Sharptonâ€™s demonizing of the Duke boys? Imus made a rude racial comment about some college students; the two guttersnipes participated in a lynching that might have changed some college studentsâ€™ lives inexorably. Thus, can anyone really say the media have their priorities straight?
Some would, it appears. Dick Morris said recently that taking Imus to task may herald a new era, one of increased civility in public discourse. Sure, Dick, if you believe that, your former employer, Bill Clinton, has some land to sell you in the Whitewater development.
Nothing will change, except that a further chill has been put on the tongue, especially when itâ€™s wielded by one bearing a politically incorrect complexion. Yes, when you cut through all the posturing and sanctimony, itâ€™s obvious that what was played to perfection here is a now old game: Beat up on whitey.
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