I never cared much for Imus. I can’t say that I’ve listened to him more than a half a dozen times, ever; he never really took off in the Twin Cities (Pointless disclosure: Salem Radio engaged Imus for the morning shift at the re-tooled AM1570 within the past couple of weeks). I’ve always found his phlegmy, gargly-sounding voice unlistenable; as someone who grew up in the business, I’ve always found the old-school, big-name “shock jocks” (from back when that term meant something) to be deeply distasteful people; and as he developed as a reliable liberal outlet in a medium run by conservatives, I found him (counterintuitively) less and less interesting.
So he’s gone. Whoop di doo.
Of course, the scandal that led to his demise (?) teaches all the wrong lessons.
Jason Whitlock writing in the Kansas City Star sums up the real importance of Imus’ demise, and the way it went down. You need to read the whole thing – but I’m going to excerpt big chunks of it anyway.
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.
William Raspberry wrote an excellent column about 15 years ago, officially consigning the petty racism of name-calling to the “Pathetic, Ignore” bin (and I’d love to find that article online somewhere). Long story short: anyone who thinks that ignorant morons calling black people naughty names is teh biggest problem facing blacks in America today – or even an important one – is deluded.
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.
The only question I have; which bigots?
Jackson and Sharpton, who believe Blacks in America deserve no better from their “leadership” to wallow in the sort of petty victimhood afforded by a statement as dumb (dumb!) as Imus’?
Or the casual, de facto bigots who control so much of African-American culture in America:
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.
If the misogyny and self-loathing in hip-hop were to be
directed self-directed at any other ethnic group, psychologists would queue up around the figurative block to try to find the cause of such a cultural dissociation.
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.
The thesis – that mainstream black culture has become Black America’s worst enemy?
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.
There is nothing quite as depressing as watching the various “Apollo” comedy specials and tours. And while Chapelle is funny (in the same way that “Borat” was funny – in a way that I kind of didn’t like myself for finding funny, in many ways), you watch it knowing that behind all comedy is some form of pain or another – and the sense that the “pain” behind the likes of Chapelle and the less-tony black comic community is self-hatred.
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.
Worse than a distraction; it’s going to give some of the lesser lights of the “civil rights movement” a sense they’ve “won” something, while the real problems just grind on and on.
And those real problems, more and more, drive Mercedes and wear lots o’ bling:
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?
…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.
Read the whole thing.
And ask yourself; with Imus gone but Fitty Cent and Snoop Dogg still acting out a stereotype more corrosive than Stepin’ Fetchit (because nobody seriously aspired to be Mr. Fetchit, while a generation of kids now use the word “pimp” as an adjective of approval), what’s really changed?
UPDATE: Flash at Centrisity adds 2,000-odd words to the subject.