Don Imus and the Rutgers Nappy Headed Hos

The Rev. Al Sharpton wants Don Imus fired for Racist remarks Imus made on-the-air last week about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

I agree with Al Sharpton even though I have written positively about Imus here in the past.

Sometimes there are things spoken that are so inconsiderate and so hurtful that no apology and no excuse can ever erase the psychological and physical damage done.

Imus, and his show Imus in the Morning, allegedly have a well-documented history of Racism and intolerance and he needs to immediately and permanently leave the airwaves:

The Rutgers team, which includes eight black women, lost the NCAA women’s championship game Tuesday, and Imus was discussing the game with producer Bernard McGuirk. “That’s some rough girls from Rutgers,” Imus said. “Man, they got tattoos …” “Some hardcore hos,” said McGuirk. “That’s some nappy headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that,” Imus said…Recent controversies involving Imus focused on a member of his morning team, Sid Rosenberg, who was fired two years ago after a particularly vile crack about cancer-stricken singer Kylie Minogue. Before that, a racially tinged comment by Rosenberg about Venus and Serena Williams stirred another controversy. The NABJ cited two other incidents in which Imus himself insulted two black journalists. Imus has called PBS’ Gwen Ifill a “cleaning lady” and described William Rhoden of The New York Times as “a quota hire,” the group said.

Howard Stern has always claimed Don Imus called his sidekick, Robin Quivers, “a nigger” when they were all working together in the past at WNBC. Imus, while never admitting he called Quivers a name, did try to excuse any notion of his bad behavior back then by blaming it on his former alcohol and cocaine abuse.

Imus has no escape from his Racism and Bigotry this time. Imus claims he has been clean and sober for 25 years and he so he must own his hate and his words without any equivocation or duplicity. I used to teach at Rutgers and so I feel the need to not only defend those falsely accused of being “nappy headed hos” but to also proclaim the excellence of the school and the high quality of the student body.

Rutgers students are tough and smart. If they get knocked down, they rise to the challenge and overcome any barriers and do even better than before. Just so we know those who were insulted, here is the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Do you see any “nappy headed hos” in this image?

Are there any “nappy headed hos” in this image?

The damage Imus has done to himself and to these fine and innocent women is unknowable. We all realize insulting these women and then seeking their forgiveness in begging a meeting from them is disingenuous and obvious. Why must the onus for healing be placed on the offended instead of in the necessary ongoing suffering of the offender? It fascinates me how those who hurt others with Racist remarks expect those who were insulted to bow down and forgive while the perpetrator continues on untouched.

On his show this morning, Imus began his own ill-fated defense and petty self-aggrandizement-via-apology by claiming the following — instead of just saying in a heartfelt moment — “I did the wrong thing and I’m sorry.”

  • Imus denies he ever said those things about Ifill and Rhoden.
  • Imus said at least five times in an hour he “is a good person who said a bad thing.”
  • Imus said there is a difference between premeditated murder and a gun going off.
  • Imus said his intention was not to hurt the Rutgers women even though he did.
  • Imus has offended everyone for 35 years. That’s his show.
  • Imus calls his wife a “Green Ho” and, while that isn’t right either, that’s the spirit of his show.
  • Imus called Harold Ford Junior “ten times” over the weekend.
  • Imus was called “an n-word lover” for supporting Harold Ford Junior.
  • Imus runs a ranch for kids with cancer and half of those kids are minorities.
  • Imus goes to funerals for Black children.
  • Imus is upset by sickle cell anemia.
  • Imus doesn’t need a “Come to Jesus” moment because he’s already a good person.
  • Imus learned he cannot make fun of everybody because they don’t deserve it.
  • Imus will not attend rehab.
  • Imus will not go to sensitivity training.
  • Imus has fought for benefits for Black soldiers.
  • Imus is not a journalist and his show is not “Meet the Press.”
  • Imus doesn’t want to be “hung” [sic] with things he did not do.

The most interesting part of his self-pitying homily was what his Black pastor friend told him that all Blacks think White people do not like them and Blacks believe that White people — no matter what they do or say — are all Racist in their core and that moment of self-identifying Racism is just waiting to slip out of any White person.

Then, incredibly, Imus said his comment about the Rutgers women just slipped out of his mouth. Even after a three hour apology — Imus still doesn’t get it.

69 comments

  • look, I’m tired of the double standard! I’m past 50, all the history book lessons-I lived them! I’m the 1st 1 to say ‘those white people, those rednecks! If snoop dog had put that in an album it’d go platinum, 50cent get an oscar, carlos mencia a grammy! I’m not defending Imus, BUT wrong is wrong! Funkadelic had nappy dugout, Ebony mag just had artcles on (what is a chicken head? I don’t even know) hip hop; black on black crime has killed more than the klan ever dreamed/hoped to! It’s like the saying”it’s never right to hit a woman”-if I’m walking w/my grandbaby & some wild knife-wielding woman is attacking me & I can lay her out w/1 punch…you think I’m not going to? I’ve got limited space here but I think any thinking person can get my drift…we make me sick!@#$%^&*+!?!?!#

  • Welcome to Urban Semiotic, verdier, and thanks for the comment!

  • David,
    It never ceases to amaze me what horrifying things people with rotten minds can say.
    The optimist in me wants to say, “Well, people like these are few and far between.”
    The pessimist in me says, “How can we come so far as a society and still have any people like these at all?”

  • Thanks for the comment, Emily. I, too, was disappointed in Imus. I think he does many good things, but this sort of “slip” of the tongue that we know is not really a slip is just do disappointing and disgusting.
    We really haven’t come very far when it comes to Race relations in the USA.
    Don could do so much good to bridge gaps in understanding and to be a positive force in the world because his radio and TV shows reach so many people — but too often he lowers himself to the cheap joke and the tawdry comment — and that nullifies all of his good intentions.
    Do you think Imus should be fired or not?

  • Yes, I think Imus should be fired.
    When someone in his position to “do so much good”–as you have rightly pointed out–makes senseless and offensive comments like this, he is abusing power that obviously does not belong in his hands.
    Then to make excuses for himself, his poor judgment and his sickening statements instead of apologizing is to add insult to injury.

  • I think you’re right on the firing, Emily, especially looking back at the past behavior of the Imus show. Let it go now. It was fine while it lasted.
    I hope the Rutgers team will not meet with him because they have already been wounded, his excuses will not make it better and to let him off the hook by giving him a meeting only means he will be set free to do this all over again to some other group or individual.
    Rutgers is a state school, though, and Imus has a lot of powerful political friends, so I am anticipating a meeting that will be forced on the team and its head coach. I hope all of them fail to show for his groveling.

  • I wonder if there is a split in American society between its older members and people in their 40s and younger. It seems like most of the inappropriate remarks made in the media come from older guys who should know better, but probably think the same way they speak.
    All of the women on Rutger’s basketball team are beautiful women and human beings who didn’t deserve to be singled out and maligned by a talk show host.
    All of these comments are driven by fear and by closed-mindedness that separates people into arbitrary groups without taking into consideration that people are people and everyone basically is the same when we get right down to it.

  • Media Matters has complied Don Imus’ greatest hits.
    My wife switched the satellite programming package a month or two ago in favor of a movie channel, so we haven’t been getting MSNBC lately. I told her we needed to switch it back so I could watch “The Shield” on FX, but watching Imus go nuts on MSNBC makes it almost mandatory.

  • Hi David,
    My second comment with my Media Matter’s link was caught in the Akismet trap. :mrgreen:

  • Hi Chris!
    I’m not so sure about a generational split after listening to the radio today. There are so many announcers in NYC taking Imus’ side! These are the young funks and they think this is all being blown out of proportion and they feel Imus didn’t say anything wrong and so he has nothing to apologize for.
    It is incredible to listen to these co-Bigots and co-Racists make their case against Imus as they actually mock him for his feeble “apology.”
    I agree the Rutgers players are beautiful and talented and they do not deserve this tainting in the glimmer of their great accomplishments of beating a tough Duke team and almost beating Tennessee for the national title.
    For them to have to deal with Imus in the midst of what should be their glory — and not his gore — is disappointing.

  • Hi Chris!
    Akismet has been behaving badly over the last few days. I’ve been caught and Katha was caught and a few other legit comments as well. Grr. We’ll have to keep an eye out for it.
    Thanks for that Media Matters link! Fantastic! And it proves Imus’ hatred and bigotry over a sustained period of time. Excellent!
    MSNBC is becoming unwatchable during the day. Tucker Carlson, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann are the only good shows. Their news is just awful now.

  • Imus is on The Al Sharpton Show right now defending himself.
    Our society loves conflict — that probably explains why the radio jocks are defending Imus and his bad behavior. They probably feel the same way as well and can’t see why people would be upset.
    All of this divisiveness has inspired me to put a new reality show idea into the public domain: Celebrity Re-education Camp.
    We could put everyone who is crazy and has a media outlet onto a deserted island and see what happens under the watchful eyes of television cameras. Rosie O’Donnell and Ann Coulter could be roommates. Don Imus could be paired up with DJ Star. And, the guys who created the water drinking contest for Sacramento’s KDND could be in charge icebreakers and “survival challenges.”

  • Hi Chris!
    Oh, I forgot Imus was on Sharpton’s show today at 1pm. Just tried to listen. You have to register and sign in. I’ll pass. I hope Al keeps true to his word that Imus need to be fired.
    I’m sure the “Shock Jocks” love Imus being grilled and branded in the heat of the public eye. One of the guys this morning said, “You know there are lesbians on the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Look at them. At least two of ‘em have to be Gay.” It was appalling. And it was said over a snare drum and a coterie of laughter. Disgusting.
    Love your idea for a new reality show! Sounds like an even more severe form of VH1’s new show, “Charm School.” :grin:
    http://www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/charm_school/series_about.jhtml

  • What is a “nappy headed ho” in English – Apart from being a derogatory racist remark?
    Not a phrase I have heard before.

  • Hi Nicola —
    Excellent question. Merriam-Webster’s second definition of “nappy” is:

    2 : KINKY — used especially of Negroes’ hair (carried on nappy heads — J.P.Bishop) (nappy hair — Richard Wright)

    “Nappy” has moved from antiquated description about hair to street slang to insult for a Black person.
    “Brillo head” and “Buffalo head” are other derogatory terms that are no longer acceptable.
    “Nappy headed” is a base insult intended to degrade and hurt and to identify Race based on a physical characteristic much in the same way some people believe you can tell if a person is Jewish or not based on the size of their nose.
    Imus was using an old term (like Negro) to identify the Rutgers basketball team as Black and — instead of calling them women — he called them “hos” — which is degenerative slang for “whores.”
    “Nappy headed hos” translates into “Black women.” Why not just say that — unless you’re trying to hurt them and degrade their accomplishments?

  • Kathakali Chatterjee

    I don’t know what to say – it’s downright demeaning. People don’t understand that they show their class only by this kind of remark.
    You can fire them at the most, but you can’t change them. After getting fired they will flock with the like minded people.
    This incident reminds me of India’s Cricket team coach Greg Chappell –
    http://www.answers.com/topic/greg-chappell
    who faced a huge criticism because of an obscene gesture –
    http://www.sportnetwork.net/main/s119/st86046.htm
    I don’t know why he was not fired then, probably because of his performance as a coach, but now he is. After a miserable performance of India in the recent World cup cricket tournament.
    But I think he will still offend people like this – no matter where he is, whatever he does.

  • Hi Katha —
    Yes, people who have the eyes and ears of millions of people have a tremendous responsibility to help and not wound. We get a lot of hate over the airwaves already and that’s a sad thing.
    When Imus pipes above the din to say something like this, it is just so unspeakably rotten that we don’t ever want to hear from him again.
    Thanks for those great links.

  • UPDATE:
    I just heard on the radio someone who listened to the Imus/Sharpton interview say, “Don Imus may have just made the whole situation worse instead of better.”
    Why am I not surprised? Imus has a deep mean strike that is as bitter as it is wide.
    If anyone has a link to what happened during that interview, please post it, thanks!
    I have a feeling this a fire that isn’t going to even smolder soon.

  • Here’s one update:

    NEW YORK – Don Imus had a hot seat on the other side of the microphone Monday, appearing on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio show and enduring more criticism for his offensive comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
    Imus issued another apology for referring to members of the team as “nappy-headed hos.” Sharpton called the comments “abominable” and “racist” and repeated his demand that Imus be fired.
    “Our agenda is to be funny and sometimes we go too far. And this time we went way too far,” Imus said on “The Al Sharpton Show.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070409/ap_en_ot/imus_protests_50

  • Jesse Jackson plans nationwide protests against Don Imus.

    Jackson said Imus’ comments contribute to “a climate of degradation” and stem from a lack of blacks as program hosts.
    “All day, all night, all white,” Jackson said. “It does not represent the diversity of the American culture.”

  • Excellent link, Chris! Thanks for the update! Please keep us up-to-date on what’s happening in the Chicagoland area this is Imus inferno!

  • David – thank you for the explanations.
    I did have a look in the *urban dictionary* and the only reference there was to people who tend to be *cry babies* .
    In the UK nappy = diaper as well.
    I am pretty sure that in the UK comments like that would fall foul of the broadcasting authorities and would be subject to investigation and the sacking of the perpetrator and fines for the broadcaster. I suspect that the speaker and the broadcaster would be liable to prosecution.

  • UPDATE:

    The meeting prompted a series of testy exchanges, and Imus grew visibly frustrated at times. During one exchange, Imus said he can’t win with “you people.” Sharpton was clearly irritated by that remark.
    In another encounter, Sharpton said, “If you walk away from this unscathed …”
    “How am I unscathed by this?” Imus interrupted. “Don’t you think I’m humiliated?”
    During commercial breaks, Sharpton walked out of the studio and said few words to Imus.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070409/ap_en_tv/imus_protests_51

  • Hi Nicola!
    It’s interesting the insultive slang in America for those who wear religious turbans is “Diaper Head” but never “Nappy Head.” Language is so fascinating.
    Stevie Wonder — in his song “I Wish” — quotes “nappy head” in this way to reflect a very specific sorry time and place in a repressive American social history:

    Looking back on when I
    Was a little nappy headed boy
    Then my only worry
    Was for Christmas what would be my toy
    Even though we sometimes
    Would not get a thing
    We were happy with the
    Joy the day would bring

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/steviewonder/iwish.html
    The most bizarre cover of “I Wish” — you can download it from iTunes — is by Celine Dion where she sings “Was a little nappy headed boy” without changing the lyric at all for her Las Vegas show. Truly wacky and it shows she isn’t really sensitive to the deep Racial rifts in American culture and society indicated in that hardcore phrase.
    I’m sure there will be some kind of public drive to punish Imus. We’ll see how the politicians line up for or against him. He does a lot of their bidding on the air, so it will be quite a thrill to watch them try to defend him.

  • Hi David,
    Here’s another update from Chicago:
    Jesse Jackson wants to meet with NBC leaders. “We want to meet with the president of NBC,” Rev. Jesse Jackson said on the RainbowPUSH website. “We want NBC to make a choice between a coalition of conscience and Imus.”
    Jesse Jackson also said forgiveness is a “process,” reports Metromix:

    Asked if he could accept Imus’ apology, Jackson said “forgiveness is a process, not a statement.”

    Interesting concept — the “forgiveness process.”

  • Akismet didn’t like my last comment.

  • In the UK the term for turban wearers is towel head – greatly helped by the fact that we have a towel and bedding supplier called Osman which is far too close to Osama for the British to miss.

  • Hi Chris!
    Yes, I agree forgiveness is a process and it should include suffering on both sides. Often the offended is the only one who suffers while the offender just offers up an empty apology.
    Sorry about Akismet eating you! It must be hungry for us again!

  • Hi Nicola!
    Yes, I think I’ve heard “towel head” here too as an insult. Oh, what woe we wish upon each other!

  • The beat goes on…

    Imus could be in real danger if the outcry causes advertisers to shy away from him, said Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio.
    “Everyone is on tenterhooks waiting to see whether it grows and whether the protest gets picked up more broadly,” Taylor said.
    Imus isn’t the most popular radio talk show host — the trade publication Talkers ranks him the 14th most influential — but his audience is heavy on the political and media elite that advertisers pay a premium to reach. Authors, journalists and politicians are frequent guests — and targets for insults.
    He has urged critics to recognize that his show is a comedy that spreads insults broadly. Imus or his cast have called
    Colin Powell a “sniffling weasel,” New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson a “fat sissy” and referred to Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, an American Indian, as “the guy from `F Troop.'” He and his colleagues also called the New York Knicks a group of “chest-thumping pimps.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070409/ap_en_ot/imus_protests_55

  • It’s good to see Rutgers, and the insulted students, taking a hard stand against Imus. I hope they remain strong and unbending:

    Several members of the Rutgers womens team met with the president of their University to talk about the racially charged comments Imus made about them on his radio show.
    “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.”

    http://wcbstv.com/topstories/local_story_099172628.html

  • Here’s a link to a video of the Sharpton and Imus interview:
    http://wcbstv.com/video/?id=98414@wcbs.dayport.com

  • The video of Sharpton and Imus on that site runs 18 minutes. Wowser! It’s a great interview and I wish they had the whole two hours online. Sharpton cuts up Imus in the first 8 minutes and never lets him up for air — deservedly so.

  • UPDATE:

    NBC News President Steve Kapas released this statement late Monday: “Beginning Monday, April 16, MSNBC will suspend simulcasting the syndicated ‘Imus in the Morning’ radio program for two weeks. This comes after careful consideration in the days since his racist, abhorrent comments were made. Don Imus has expressed profound regret and embarrassment and has made a commitment to listen to all of those who have raised legitimate expressions of outrage. In addition, his dedication — in his words — to change the discourse on his program moving forward, has confirmed for us that this action is appropriate. Our future relationship with Imus is contingent on his ability to live up to his word.”
    MSNBC announced that it would go ahead and air the previously scheduled Imus radiothon in support of the Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund, the CJ Foundation for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome research and the Imus Ranch planned for Thursday and Friday.

    I have no idea why they are waiting a week to suspend him! You either suspend him or you let him stay. You don’t let him continue to plead for his job on the backs of broadcast charity work.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17999196/
    The suspension will not end the dispute or heal any wounds — it is the coward’s way out in the hope the matter will simmer down.

  • I think this was the exchange “that made things worse” as mentioned earlier in this thread:

    At one point, the exchange between Imus, Sharpton and a female caller grew testy. Imus became frustrated and exclaimed, “I can’t get anywhere with you people.”
    “What do you mean by ‘you people’?” Sharpton said.
    Imus responded that he simply meant Sharpton and the woman.
    In another encounter, Sharpton said, “If you walk away from this unscathed …”
    “How am I unscathed by this?” Imus interrupted. “Don’t you think I’m humiliated?”

    http://www.wnbc.com/news/11586673/detail.html?dl=mainclick

  • CBS Radio has joined the Imus suspension:

    CBS Radio and MSNBC both said they were suspending Don Imus’ morning talk show for two weeks following his reference last week to members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17999196/

  • David,
    It seems incredible to me that our society is such, that, there is no tolerance for caustic humor, or political incorrectness from certain areas of our culture. On the one-hand, anyone in America or outside of America, can make fun of our President and/or any members of Congress, or any political figure they want (Remember Chavez a few weeks ago? And what about Jon Stewart). No one seems to take offense to any of this.
    But when it comes to our sports heroes, they are held on such a high pedistel, that anyone making any reference, that someone deems derogatory or in poor taste, is immediately condemed. And most especially if the target is considered a minority.
    For me, this goes well beyond a simple joke or derogatory comment. The outcry this has created, pulls at the very heart of our society. It’s okay to speak freely, but it must be tempered. We must censor our views otherwise, our comments will be viewed as offensive. We can make fun of our own heritage/culture but heaven forbid making fun of someone elses heritage or culture.
    I hear no outcry against Gansta’ Rap, Hip Hop. Rock and Roll, Grunge or any other music genre that expresses offensive opinions through music. Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson have not come out publicly asking for them to be stripped of their recording contracts, but they have certainly made their statements on this incident.
    Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are living in the 60’s and so is Imus. The banter that goes on during his program is old school “locker room” humor. Apparently, there are those, who find it necessary to try to make an example out of this situation, so be it.
    However, we all should be concerned about living in a society where were are fearful of what we can say.
    What ever happened to “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?

  • Thanks for the comment, Brian, and welcome to Urban Semiotic!
    This is a narrow issue: Calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy headed hos” in the glimmer of their great accomplishment of playing in the national finals against Tennessee is just plain wrong no matter the mouth from which the hatred was spewed.
    If Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or a Black rapper or even Oprah said what Imus said — they, too, would be in the same and deserved hot water.

  • David,
    I agree that what was said was wrong. No question about it. But the fact remains that a double standard exists. Most of us have heard Chris Rocks stand up routine, but I have not heard the black community stand up and say that he is wrong in offering offensive banter towards the white community. They consider it comedy, so it is okay. But when a white person offers similar banter, then the leaders of the black community come forward. This just does not seem right.
    We have come so far in race relations, but there is always seems to be an underlying current of hate and mistrust. What Imus said and now what Sharpton and Jackson are doing, don’t you think it is putting more bricks on the wall, rather than helping to tear it down?
    I think this whole thing is very sad.

  • There are plenty of Blacks, Brian, who do not like the degrading culture of their community.
    Any double standard isn’t an excuse for what what Imus said.

  • You are so right when you say that some things are so hurtful that no amount of apology can remove the psychological and/or physical damage. The scar remains, even after the wound has healed. I do not think Imus will be able to draw the political figures he has in the past. He would be better off retiring to the ranch and letting someone else (preferably an African-American woman who graduated from Rutgers) host his radio show.

  • Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Donna!
    It will be interesting to see if politicians stop going on the Imus show. I think they’ll remain as much as they can because they want the attention and the exposure and, because, they don’t actually listen to his show unless they’re waiting to go on air. I don’t think any of his political or journalistic guests have any clue just how degrading Imus really is in the scheme of ongoing hatred of his show over the years — a show that pretends to be “comedy.”
    If more and more advertisers pull away from Imus, the networks will have to drop him. They can’t afford to lose money by supporting an unsupportable racial condemnation.

  • BREAKING NEWS!
    MSNBC just announced Imus is finished on their network effectively immediately!
    They should have made that decision a week ago.
    Imus could not overcome the details of his past behavior, the loss of advertiser support, and calls from Barack Obama, Dr. Maya Angelou, Al Roker and other leaders in the Black Community asking that he be permanently removed.

  • I could not believe Imus could overcome the political fallout from this. He lost credibility. It would be a feather in MSNBC’s cap if they would think outside the box and hire an African-American with a “fresh approach” to host Imus’ show.
    The network did the right thing, in spite of the fact (they were thinking of the bottom line. Politicians, pundits, news correspondents, et. al., would not generally be inclined to posture themselves close to someone who is obviously racist, no matter what their past history.

  • Hi Donna!
    Yes, the wave against Imus — and his history — became overwhelming today. People began digging into the archives to help prove a pattern of behavior from him that was becoming harder and harder to defend.
    I agree all the networks, and not just MSNBC, need to get some prime time African-Americans hosts leading the discussions instead of just guesting.
    It will be interesting to see if CBS will follow NBC’s lead or not. CBS earns $15 million USD a year from his show — but they won’t earn anything if all the advertisers drop away.
    Dr. Angelou was powerful in her argument against Imus this afternoon and when Barack finally spoke out tonight against Imus on MSNBC — he was fired less than an hour later.

  • Dear Aunaetitrakul

    Hopefully, Imus would get a tough less for insulting the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team. I am glad that he is off the air. Maybe, he will attend to the “sensitivity training” this time.

  • Welcome to Urban Semitoic!
    Let’s hope some tough lessons are learned and taken to heart.

  • Magdalena Bonneau

    I am a Canadian who moved to the southern US a few years ago. I am white however I grew up in Toronto which is quite multicultural.
    I was shocked when one person tried to explain to me the difference between a black person and a “nigger.”
    I immediately told that person I did not want to continue our conversation and explained to him that I had just returned from working overseas in Africa.
    This person’s friend tried to explain to me that he’s “really a good guy.”
    Please.
    He’s an ignorant racist just like Don Imus.
    It was no slip of the tongue by Imus–he said what he really feels.
    And it’s high time we make people accountable for their actions regardless of their popularity.

  • Thanks for the excellent comment, Magdalena, and welcome to Urban Semiotic!
    I’m glad you cut off that conversation. It makes one wonder why that person felt comfortable enough in their own skin to start that kind of talk with you.
    Anyone who self-proclaims what a “great person” they are suggests to me they are nothing of the sort as evidenced in your example and in the life of Don Imus. Good people don’t have to say how good they are — we all see evidence of their goodness in their deeds.

  • I am no philosophical genius nor is Don Imus. So, what I say will do little to sway the views of anyone. But, what I DO in life will show the true value of how I should be judge, just as how others should be judged by their actions. I don’t disagree that Imus picked a very poor target in his program. Imus is entertainment. I don’t believe anyone could consider him a serious news broadcaster. Like the proverbial blind pig, he occasional will make people think but, that also comes with a lot of drivel.
    I also believe that more people have now read his comments then ever would have from hearing the airing of his broadcast because we felt this was news. There are now people who have never listened to an Imus broadcast, asking for him to be terminated. They have heard the comments second hand and before this, they never knew who Imus was or had known of him and already made a conscious decision to not listen to his show because of his style.
    We have added parental controls to our televisions so our children will not watch shows like the Sapranos or the L Word because we don’t like mobster style killing or lesbian style sex. Imus’s show should be treated no different and the decision of an employer whether to hire or fire should be less public opinion and specifically in the entertainment business, the ratings. If, you don’t like what Imus, Mel Gibbson, or any other celebrity personality (those people we all seem to fawn over because they entertain us) has done, don’t listen to them or go to their movies.
    My last word is about the word, written or spoken. I know words can hurt and can scar. The fact is in everyone’s life whether intended or unintended, they will hear something at some time that is hurtful. By making sure that everyone in this country is well educated and self confidant, they will know they are not what the commentator said they were. That is how we will get through situations like this. No one was shot, dragged behind a car, or thrown off a bridge. The girls are well educated at a fine institution. They were the butt of a poorly chosen monologue and they know their value to this country.

  • Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Dave, and I thank you for your reasoned and reasonable comment.
    I don’t agree with the argument Imus was entertainment. His show was 95% news and reporting and interviewing political and news media stars. When his show dug into the slop trough of hatred and mockery the other 5% of the time when he handed off his show — and his reputation — to underlings on the show, the value of his program sank and that’s when I knew as a listener to change the channel and come back in 10 minutes when the piffle was over.
    I think it’s fine that a comatose country was awakened to a Racial reality that has been in denial much too long. Will Imus land elsewhere again? Probably so. Probably on satellite radio where you’ll have to pay up to have your hate speech spoon-fed to you just like Howard Stern before him. Imus may do well in that “everything goes” environment, but I won’t be buying.
    Or Imus may choose to just do the right thing and wither away.
    Parental controls are important — it’s too bad more parents don’t use them — too often we have left the parenting of our children to the mainstream media and that does great physical and psychic damage to them.
    I agree words have specific meanings. Words can wound. Words can scar. Words heave led us to war and down into the pit of worldwide despair. Words are actions. Words are inspiration. Words are more cutting than a sword and sharper than a rapier wit.
    The fact that the Rutgers women ARE well-educated — and they knew not to buy a pig in a poke of an apology that was thrust upon Imus by his superiors and not offered from his heart — and they called him on it while the world watched. It was their very brightness that dimmed the dark insult and gave truth to Imus’ lie — and that’s precisely how condemned legacies are formed by one’s own hateful words.

  • Well a lot has happened in a few days. It makes ones head spin. I have continually watched the coverage of the intellectual “talking-heads” on television and I must say it is enlightening. I have come to the realization that the problem with this whole situation is not what was said, but more likely an opportunity for those with some influence, who dislike Don Imus, to go after him in a vindictive way. You see, the majority of individuals who were interviewed all said they did not like the man. My guess is he has said negative things regarding them and now, they have been waiting for the opportunity to take him down, which they did.
    The difficulty I am having with all of this, has to do with influence. It is hard for me to imagine that anyone would be “scarred for life” due to these comments. Maybe they are so fragile that it’s true, but as a basketball player, one would think, they would have withstood much harsher words, comments and actions from their coaches and teammates than what they have experienced here. These players have not risen to the level of achievement without pursevering and having a strong sense of self. No one, especially someone they don’t even know, could have such an impact on their mental well being by uttering those words.
    Thus the influence.
    Many of you may remember the sexual harassment claims that were occuring in the workplace in the early 90’s. What I recall from many of these claims, were the individuals who were offended by the actions or comments, were not the ones that the actions or comments were directed towards, but were simply in ear shot or eye sight of them. These were the individuals who would approach the other person and ask them if they were offended. If they said no, they were told “well you should be offended!”.
    That’s what has happened here. Those, who were not the target of the comments have come forward and told all of America that we should all be offended by what was said. What right does anyone have to tell me how to feel? What right does anyone have to condem me if I do not agree with them? I say none.
    One final note and I promise to let this entire topic be. I turned on the O’Reilly Factor last night. I never watch the program but was curious as to what some of the right has to say. The guest host was Michelle Malkin. She was interviewing Malik Shabazz regarding the Duke lacross players. He refused to apologize to the Duke players and then called her a “Political Prostitute” for the white community or something to that affect.
    I sat there stunned, and wondering if anyone was going to say anything today about it. I have not seen or heard a word. I guess it will always be a one way street…

  • by the way… Thank you David for allowing me to voice/write my thoughts and I enjoy very much, the other view points that have been noted here.

  • Hi Brian —
    I don’t think people have the right to say whatever they wish — and if they speak unmitigated hatred, good people are going to stand up to to them and ostracize them and morally condemn their behavior. Rightly so.
    When hate is spoken and good people don’t confront it and stand up to it to stare it down, it lingers with an undeserved life to affect young and immature minds.
    That’s what happened with Imus. His words spoke an ugly truth about him and the marketplace punished him with nearly 100 advertisers deserting him and much of the public abandoned him as a social pariah.
    The only people I saw standing up for Imus in public were those who appeared on his show and financially benefited from hooking arms with him on a show that established and crowned itself as a propagator of hatred and despise against the powerless wary and the less fortunate.

  • I appreciate your conversation, Brian, and I thank you for sharing your insights. I hope you’ll stick around to help us take on other issues! :grin:

  • Hello David,
    I lied… I have a couple more thoughts to convey. I do not disagree with a thing that you have just said. But history has been known to repeat itself, and I wonder… is the McCarthy era happening again? Are we now going to condem our neighbors because their views are different than ours? Where does it stop? Where is our freedom to believe and think for ourselves? Must we always go along with the crowd, lest we be viewed as bigots?
    I know I have wandered from the original intent of this posting, however, there is an underlying air to this that is frightening. Two days ago, Al Sharpton, when asked about the rap music, danced around the questions and said that the black community will need to “discuss” this. As soon as CBS fires Imus, Sharpton immediately states that they are now going to focus on the entertainment industry. Could it be a deal was reached between CBS and Sharpton? Is big business controlling the show? And if we don’t play along, what happens then.
    Hatred is one thing, and society will most definately deal with those issues as we have seen here and rightfully so. But forcing ones views on others is not appropriate in any shape or form.
    One final thought…
    Where are the white counter parts to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson? They are the self proclaimed watchdogs of injustice to black america. Yet we have no counterparts to raise the issues when perceived harm is done. Not that anyone would have come to Imus’s defense in this case, but what about the Duke players. When race is involved, the only ones that stand up are the Sharptons and Jacksons. Could it be that the fear of being labeled a bigot causes people to stay in the background? Because, whether we like it or not, if there is a perceived injustice done to a black american, and one does not agree, they are labeled a bigot. And no one whats that label. Not even Archie Bunker.
    Brian signing off…. for now…

  • Hey Brian —
    No, we aren’t in the McCarthy era — but we are in the area where we need to be careful what we say to people in a return to courtesy and manners that we have been so sorely lacking in the past decade.
    We should not make fun of people for things they cannot cure or control: Race, Nationality, Disability and Gender are the big four. It’s easy to pick on people using those four touchstones because the topics are easy and universal.
    Is it proper Rush Limbaugh calls Barack Obama and Halle Barry “Halfrican Americans” because one of their parents is White and the other Black? I call that hate speech and he should be removed from the air directly after Imus.
    CBS is Viacom is BET is MTV is VH1, etc. Imus had to be handled first in order not to cloud the issue. Now they need to go after the Rap videos that are endlessly aired all day long.
    The Duke players aren’t a shining example of good behavior. Team members hired women for their party and then subjected them to racial epithets.
    The White Power Majority doesn’t need the same protections that minorities require because they set the agenda via muscle and the illusion of free will.

  • Pingback: Rutgers Pays Toni Morrison $30K: Commencement Speeches as a Pageant Play | United Stage

  • Pingback: A Great Black Moment in White House History: May I Touch Your Hair? | The United Stage of America

  • Pingback: Obama to Reward Restraint in Tuition Increases | Boles University Blog

  • Pingback: The Lesson of Don Imus: Red is Thicker than Green | Urban Semiotic

  • Pingback: Celebrity Semiotic: The Bad Parenting of Paris Hilton | Urban Semiotic

  • Pingback: Mike Rice is Head Bully of Rutgers Basketball « Boles Blogs

Share Your Thoughts:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s