Monday, April 9, 2007

So in mud…

I don’t have much time or energy to expend on Don Imus. But I do want to point you all to a few pertinent links.

To listen to Imus’s conversation today with the Rev. Al Sharpton on Rev. Al’s radio show, click here and stream it.

As always at times like this, black bloggers are crucial when it comes to breaking it down, sorting through the pieces, then putting it all together again, funky-side-up.

A brother called “plez” shifted his rifle scope to the left when he blogged:

“first, i deplore what Don Imus said because it was aimed at college students and not professionals, and the fact that he had to stoop so damn low to try to grab a laugh in what i would consider a fading career in broadcasting. he’s not funny, he’s not relevant, and he’s not going to have much of a television show after this week.

“second, what the HELL is going on with Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson?!? looks like they are falling over each other trying to ‘interview’ every clown who makes a racist/insensitive remark. i didn't know either of them had a radio show and now it begs the question, what the HELL do they talk about when there’s no Don Imus or [Michael Richards] to skewer?”

Addressing himself to whites who would point to Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle by way of entitling themselves to make racial wisecracks, the ever-clever Assimilated Negro blogged:

“Listen crackas, I’m not saying it’s fair, or that it’s not a double standard. It totally is. But guess what? American apple pie is filled with double-standards, injustices, and transfatlie goodness... but no apples! And since regulating usage of racial humor and epithets is one of the few things we can do with any sort of legitimate authority, excuse us if we’re not in any rush to let crackas like Imus and Michael Richards go all kkkrazy with their repressed racist feelings. All we have is the race-card; y’all have the everything-else card. So just fall back and let us lynch a cracka when they act out of line, okay?”

There’s at least one contrarian who argues (only half-jokingly) that Don Imus is the one who is owed an apology. It’s “dburt,” a.k.a. Afronerd, who blogged:

“Once again, due to the oh great and powerful White man, factions within the African-American community are angry, motivated and ready to march in order to oust Imus from his radio gig. I ask today, what I have continued to inquire about since this blog’s inception - where are these self-same folks when many in the minstrel end of the hip hop spectrum commit similar acts against Black women? I was listening to the Michael Baisden show this afternoon and as much as I like Baisden’s program, he said something that actually became the lynch pin for my current position on this topic. Baisden wondered why did it take two full days for Imus to apologize. Conversely, we are closing in on two decades and the hip hop community has yet to apologize to women of color for years of degrading imagery. Matter of fact, we’re not even asking for an apology or a boycott. And here’s the kicker - many young women of color will continue to dance in clubs around the country to the very music that disrespects them. …”

Afronerd’s basic point was echoed by Jasmyne Cannick, who blogged:

“[W]hat’s funny to me is that Sharpton defends Imus in a way by trying to make it about the fact that it’s a public television show where the slurs were heard…

“50 Cent and other rappers are on hundreds of radio stations around the country at any given minute of the day using the word ho and bitch, not to mention they’re also on television with their videos that do the same thing. And I guarantee you, there’s way more money in hip hop with these rappers degrading Black women than Don Imus will ever see.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking this is about Don Imus, because it’s not. It’s much more easier to complain about a white television commentator than to turn and look at yourself in the mirror and criticize your own.”

19 comments:

susie said...

I don't listen to Don Imus so I heard about this on other radio shows who played the clip and then discussed with callers, black and white, whether Imus should be fired. During that discussion the point was made that if it was a younger, hipper person making that statement it would be more acceptable. This was a view shared by multiple people.

All I can think about is how those young women felt and feel since it's the scandal du jour and the words are played over and over.

I'm curious about what they would have to say.

Way more than I care about what Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson thinks about it. Seems to me they are engaged in their own attention getting behavior.

Undercover Black Man said...

Hey Susie. It is odd how Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson -- of all people -- have set themselves up as father confessors for malfeasant white guys. The whole thing just feels like a media game.

SJ said...

As long as rappers keep degrading black women this won't stop. It's sad that so many white people view "mainstream rap" as black culture.

ItAintEazy said...

To be fair, both Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have condemned the derogatory messages of rap music (who here has forgotten Sharptons little crusade against that "Boondocks" cartoon episode?)

dez said...

(who here has forgotten Sharptons little crusade against that "Boondocks" cartoon episode?)

Er, me [sheepish grin]. Which ep was it, the one with the white rich kid trying to be a rapper? Or one of the other rapper-oriented eps? And what was Sharpton's beef?

Imus has always sucked.

Undercover Black Man said...

I don't remember Sharpton crusading against "Boondocks," but I'd have to guess it was the Martin Luther King episode... where Dr. King comes back from the dead and is so disgusted by the state of black culture that he starts dropping N-bombs.

Am I wrong, ItAintEazy? And what did Sharpton's campaign amount to? What did he do?

ItAintEazy said...

You're right, UBM, it was that MLK episode Sharpton was criticizing. Specifically he demanded an apology from Cartoon Network for defaming a historical civil rights leader. Naturally, people thought his attacks were petty, and McGruder lampooned those criticisms in later episodes, and apparently Sharpton didn't press the issue long after that.

Cal said...

There was a film on PBS about hip hop and its issues that was shown in February. The producer specifically asked Russell Simmons about the degrading lyrics toward women and his basic response was "it's not in my power to change the culture." Here is the link to the show:

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/hiphop/about_hiphop.htm

Harlan S. said...

I don't remember Jesse Jackson apologizing -- let alone conceding that he should be fired -- when he referred to New York as "Hymietown." I guess in the Jackson universe, Jews are fair game.

Undercover Black Man said...

I hear you, Harlan, except there's one key distinction: Jesse Jackson didn't use the "Hymietown" slur publicly. He ain't stupid.

Plus I think Jesse did do some serious fence-mending with the Jewish community after he got caught out with that.

ItAintEazy said...

I'm curious, UBM, since you were around during that time and place, how much shit did that writer get from his fellow blacks when he revealed the "hymietown" statement?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I was still in college when the "Hymietown" story broke ('83 or '84).

And though I eventually worked at the Washington Post and knew Milton Coleman a tiny bit, I never had a conversation about the fallout of all that.

Just have vague recollections that certain black folks -- like, Nation of Islam types -- considered Coleman a betrayer, a sell-out, etc., for reporting the remark.

Elyce said...

On the rapper point, I have heard many people ask, why don't black people protest rappers who continually denigrate women. We do, but it does not get the media coverage. A few years ago, Spelman College protested the rapper, Nelly, coming to the college for a bone marrow drive. It was during the time he had a video running where he swiped a credit card between a woman's butt cheeks. At first, they didn't want him to come to the school at all, then the student government said he could, but only if he would agree to a forum were they could ask him question him about the video and his lyrics in general. He declined to come. I think MTV covered it and USA Today had a small blurb, but it did not get a lot of media attention. They only way I heard about it was because I am a Spelman alum. My point is, I would not be surprised if there are more situations like this, but it does not get mass media exposure. During Tavis Smiley's "State of the Black Union," hip hop music is always, always a huge issue. But, again, things like this do not make the news.

daughterofthedream said...

Actually, I think the Spelman-Nelly Callout did get quite a bit of press around the country. I'm an alum as well and I remember being "impressed."

....even though I was a kid when it happened, to this day I remember quite a few oldheads of all classes (lol) who were still salty with Coleman. If his name came up in mixed company it was quickly followed by "you know he was the one who...."

dez said...

Another viewpoint:

http://sports.aol.com/whitlock/_a/time-for-jackson-sharpton-to-step-down/20070411111509990001

Thank God "Real Time" is back tonight because I'm really looking forward to Bill Maher's take on what Imus said.

Undercover Black Man said...

Elyce, welcome! Nice to have you here.

Let's hope for some useful fallout from all of this. Indeed, let's have that serious public discussion about the state of our popular culture... the influence of hip-hop, etc.

Way back in 1990 (!), when 2 Live Crew's music was being classified as illegal and obscene (and I was defending the group), I interviewed writer Stanley Crouch. He was up-in-arms even then about the culturally corrosive effects of rap music.

Crouch told me:

"The point I keep trying to make, man, is you cannot make a powerful Afro-American culture if you're going to base it on what hustlers and pimps think about the world. Those people have a distorted, vulgar vision of life because they live in a criminal atmosphere in which they see people at their very worst.

"That's what street life is about -- people living on a barbaric level in which almost any kind of conventional civilized morality is sneered at because it's in the way of these people achieving what they want. ...

"I became disturbed about this when my daugher, when she was about 7 or 8, was reciting the lyrics to one of those Whodini records, which went 'I'm a ho'...

"The lyric content was 'I'm a ho' and 'I'm a ho' and 'I'm a ho.' So my little girl was [reciting this]. I said, 'What are you saying?' She said, 'Well, it doesn't have any bad words in it' Then when I told her what a ho was, she was aghast."

Back then I saw 2 Live Crew in the context and continuum of underground "nasty" comedy records by Rudy Ray Moore and Wildman Steve. And I still don't think "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" rose (or sunk) to the legal standard for bannable obscenity. But I can't deny that 2 Live Crew coarsened the culture and did damage.

dez said...

I'm starting to feel guilty for owning N.W.A. and Ice Cube discs (but not Outkast or De La Soul [the fun stuff before they decided they had to be "hard"]}.

Elyce said...

"It's a completely different scenario. (Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about hoes that's in the 'hood that ain't doing shit, that's trying to get a nigga for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them muthafuckas say we are in the same league as him. Kick him off the air forever."

- Snoop dismissing comparisons between sexist hip hop lyrics and the recent sexist/racially charged remarks made by Don Imus

O-kay! I actually don't have words for that.

Elyce said...

I hope it is clear above that Snoop Dog said that, not me. I have to admit, he made me laugh, in his ignorance.