osted on Wed, Apr. 11, 2007
Imus isnâ€™t the real bad guy
Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.
By JASON WHITLOCK
Thank you, Don Imus. Youâ€™ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.
Youâ€™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.
Youâ€™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 itâ€™s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.
The bigots win again.
While weâ€™re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, Iâ€™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 Centâ€™s or Snoop Doggâ€™s or Young Jeezyâ€™s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.
I ainâ€™t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they donâ€™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.
Itâ€™s embarrassing. Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white and black people, and we all laugh out loud.
Iâ€™m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.
But, in my view, he didnâ€™t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That shouldâ€™ve been the end of this whole affair. Instead, itâ€™s only the beginning. Itâ€™s an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.
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, weâ€™re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgersâ€™ 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 donâ€™t listen or watch Imusâ€™ 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 itâ€™s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that theyâ€™re suckers for pursuing education and that theyâ€™re selling out their race if they do?
When Imus does any of that, call me and Iâ€™ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is â€” a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when youâ€™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. Thereâ€™s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.
To reach Jason Whitlock, call (816) 234-4869 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com
Â© 2007 Kansas City Star and wire service sources.