The Real Issue avoided by the Imus controversy

The following is from Kansas City Star columnist, Jason Whitlock, nothing else needs to be said regarding this matter other than his words:

Imus isn’t the real bad guy
Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.

Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.

You’ve given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.

You’ve given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.

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.

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.

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

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.

I’m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.

But, in my view, he didn’t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should’ve been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it’s only the beginning. It’s an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.

I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had.

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.

But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.

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?

I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.

No. 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.

Thank you Jason.
(H/T: Tim Ellsworth)


3 Responses to The Real Issue avoided by the Imus controversy

  1. neilaquino says:

    I really feel you’re missing the point on this one. Mr. Imus did have a follwing and his words had impact. He made all types of slurs over the years and the signal his words and lack of punishment sent was that this stuff was okay.

    I’m pretty sure Laz that you have written before on ideas of absolute right and absolute wrong as being part of your value system. What does the conduct of others have to do with Mr. Imus?

    The rap music and many forms of pop culture are awful. We’ve talked about the free market system as part of the problem. Also at issue are leaders who remain silent. While I don’t know, and I’m not certain that you know either, that Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson have not addressed these issues, it is true that they need to do more.

    But again, the issue here is Mr. Imus.

  2. Laz says:

    Neil, agreed, Imus is responsible for what he said no question about it (and as of today he has lost his radio gig as a result) but that doesn’t mean that other issues aren’t shed some light. I’m not really a believer in the “my ______ made me say it” routine (age, race, tax bracket, upbringing, et al). The type of thing which Imus said is wrong no matter who says it, whether it’s someone who is white, black, brown, yellow or whatever. My beef is with people hiding behind race to say racist things (remember the Seinfeld episode where his dentist converted to Judaism just so he could tell Jewish jokes?). That in this country people can choose to be offensive is another issue altogether.

    Personal responsibility is something which we tend to harp on when it involves someone else’s actions but conveniently forget when it comes to us and/or ours.

    It would be nice to see the “Reverends” Sharpton and Jackson display the same outrage towards people who make similar statements as Imus’. That’s all I’m saying and I’m sure that’s what Mr. Whitlock was pointing out.

    They might have addressed this issue but not as vehemently as they have gone after Imus, that’s for sure.

    Did you watch Byron Hurt’s documentary on hip-hop?

    Consistency is something which is largely ignored, usually to push an agenda. I recall seeing a report on the Minutemen here in Houston. They spent some days taking snapshots of day laborers for whatever reasons. They waxed poetic about their right to do so, blah blah blah. When the tables were turned and some activists started taking pictures of the Minutemen and their vehicles, the Minutemen went ballistic. At the time and now, I think this is a great example of inconsistency.

    As always thanks for the comment!

  3. Laz says:

    Yo Neil, here’s one, A call to accountability by one Barack Obama.

    Though it has become increasingly difficult to believe anything that comes out of the mouth of anyone running for public office, but I’ll give “Barry” the benefit of the dobut.

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