April 10, 2007


There doesn't seem to be anything in the news today but Don Imus's racist insults against the women of Rutgers.

Why should a stupid insult about racial stereotypes be such a big deal? After all, it seems like half of the comedy on TV is the same thing.

Is racism so shocking? I live in a non-white neighborhood. I ride the buses and the subways with mostly non-white folks. In fact, the only time of my life in which I lived with mostly white people was college-and that was so culturally jarring to me I was driven to seek refuge in Christianity.

What I mean to say is that the racist structures and attitudes of our world are fully intact. Racism is a constant ambient in the world, at least the world in which I live. Maybe a stupid, racist remark like this one is difficult for us precisely because it makes us face the reality and ugliness of our racist society. It comes too close to home, as it were. Whether we suffer from racial prejudice or enjoy white privilege, we see too much of ourselves in it.

The saddest thing is that this boor has robbed these women of a proud and beautiful moment of their lives.


Frater said...

When another person(s) excels the most evil thing to do is try and rob that person(s) of their gifts/graces. Imus tried to do just that using the lowest intellectual weapon possible: racism.

Scott said...

Also have to keep in mind that not only was it a way to put this team in their place racially, but also sexually...as he (and his buddy) referred to them as "hos." I agree, Charles, this team's time of glory was a reduced to a time where they were reminded that they are considered lesser beings as women and blacks...even if Imus supposedly didn't mean it.

Anyways, I can't stand the concept of "shock jock" in general...I'd rather listen to music than to some ego rambling on trying to be "controversial."

Scott said...

"In fact, the only time of my life in which I lived with mostly white people was college-and that was so culturally jarring to me I was driven to seek refuge in Christianity."

It was deviants like Alison and I that pushed you over, wasn't it? ;-)

Charles of New Haven said...

Hee hee, Scott. In a world gone mad, you have to look for the deviants. ;)

Don said...

Imus' indiscretions are numerous. It's part of his on air persona. This time he went too far. Describing a basketball team as whores and then labeling them with an offensive racial slur was way too much. Nonetheless his error really brings to light a much deeper racial and social divide that has been a cancer in this country that has been swept under the rug. We are in denial about racism in this country. We can't talk about it because we deny that it exists. Thanks for writing about it. Peace.

Michael K. "Rose" McCleary said...

I think we fall into the media's game plan when we throw the "R" word around so easily. What he said was wrong, offensive, insensitive, and down right ignorant, but I wouldn't necessarily call it racist.

I think leaning on the side of generalization, is what allows foolish, and untalented, people like Imus and Sharpton to have the power they do.

Jeff said...

Don is right, shock jocks like Imus have been doing this stuff for a long time, but if there is going to be a crusade against the coarseness in the culture, I hope that African-American hip-hop "artists" get held to the same standard. If black men have publicly called black women "bitches and ho's" with very little public opprobrium for the last 20 years, It isn't shocking to me that a white man working for the same corporations thought he could get away with it.

One standard for everyone, please. I don't buy for a moment that "it depends on who says it, and how it is being said."