We talk a good talk in this country but we don't walk the walk,
particularly when it comes to the concept of Freedom, true Freedom,
the kind the Founding Fathers had envisioned when they drafted and
amended that wonderful document known as the Constitution. No country
has struggled harder with the concept of Freedom than America,
particularly when it comes to freedom of speech.
This issue is in the news again, with radio and TV host Don Imus in
trouble for remarks he made vamping it up about a woman's basketball
game. You've all heard about it by now, Imus called the players
"nappy headed ho's" and said it was the "jiggaboos versus the
wannabes." OK, dumb comments when there are eight African American
women on the court. As for the second line, if you're going to quote
a movie line, how about one everybody knows is from a movie, and not
a very contested line from a Spike Lee film, "School Daze."
Immediately the Black Offensive Police, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson
sprang in to action (is there like a Bat Phone for this sort of
thing?) and began demanding for Imus to be fired. Yes, these two
masters of media manipulation were calling for a fellow broadcaster
to be fired for what he said on air. And of course, no one is talking
about the real issues because they're too busy screaming racist!
Racist! Fire him! Remove his livelihood, drag him through the mud!
They forget that if Imus is fired he'll be on air again in a month
some place else (can you say Opie and Anthony, Bubba The Love Sponge,
Howard Stern, Isaiah Washington, Mel Gibson...add name here) and they
miss the point that what he said was more sexist than racist. But of
course, it's OK to demean women, American Society does it all the
time, women are still paid less than men, still are exploited in all
kinds of media, and still called 'bitches and 'ho's by a host of
people, usually in a rap song. But that's OK, forget that what he
said was sexist, he drew he race card.
For the record, I have no problem with nappy hair. I think it's
horrible the way that Black women for years have pressed, ironed,
used harsh chemicals that would burn a hole through a floor if
dropped from their heads just to live up to the White Ideal of
beauty. That's an entirely other article, but one that should be
addressed one day. Hey, it's your world, you WANT to do all that to
your hair feel free, but many do it to fit in better and that's just
But here's the bigger issue. While what Imus said is stupid, tinged
with sexism and racism, if we truly live in a free country, he's
allowed to say it. People are allowed to be idiots, allowed to be
stupid. Yes, they're even allowed to be sexist and racist. Did anyone
get fired from this team because of these comments? Is Imus calling
for the removal of all Blacks from the WNBA? Has he caused anyone to
not get admitted to a school, not get a job, is there any adverse
reaction, direct, quantifiable adverse reactions to his statements?
No, no there's not. And he's apologized for them. But I guess the two
people calling for his removal, the two ordained ministers, know
nothing of forgiveness, turn the other cheek or many of the other
Christian teachings. Like freedom, God isn't easy. The tenants of
faith are hard. Amish went to the funeral of the gunman who shot up
their community, forgave him and welcomed his family in to their
community. Christ forgave those who crucified him to a cross. Now
that's forgiveness. But a radio host makes a stupid statement and
apologizes for them and no, he must go, no forgiveness for him.
How insulting all this is. If he had made homophobic remarks, this
wouldn't be news. If he were Black, say Chris Rock, Mo'Nique, Marsha
Warfield, this wouldn't be happening. In fact, he's a victim of
reverse racism. The very definition of racism is when one race
believes it can do something that no other race can, when they feel
they have the right to do something no one else can do. Well, saying
that a Black person could make these remarks but not a White person
is an inequality and is wrong no matter how you slice it. But no one
ever looks at it that way. If something is so horrible that it hurts
people, then no one should be able to say it, period. Selective
censorship is stupid, and racial censorship is even worse.
But again, it goes back to freedom. Either we have free speech or we
don't. Look, I know my entire life I will have to deal with
homophobes, and you know what, that's OK. You can be homophobic in
the land of the free. I don't care if you don't like my lifestyle, if
you don't understand it, if you don't want me to marry your son. I
don't care if you write about how you feel it's horrifying and have
little meetings discussing how terrible it is. I really, truly don't.
I don't care if Isaiah Washington calls someone a faggot. Call me
that and I'll tell you it's an observation not an insult. Sticks and
stones. I draw the line when you legislate it, when you deny me
rights because of it, or when you incite someone to violence against
it. Have your views say what you want do what you want. Just make
sure you don't cross the line of saying that because you believe I
shouldn't' be here that we should make rules to make sure I'm not.
Then, you cross a line. Imus did not cross that line.
I realize this because I realize in the land of the Free, on the
airwaves and in real life, people are allowed to be bigots. We can
call them bigots, we can say if you listen to them you share bigoted
views. We can not listen. We can not buy products from people that
support them. But they are allowed to be bigots, and people are
allowed to employ bigots if they like. No one has a moral
responsibility to employ only people that fit the politically correct
mold of a good human, since that changes weekly.
The fact is Imus opened a dialogue about race and about sexism. That,
remarkably enough, is his job. He didn't wuss out, he went to the
belly of the beast and went on Al Sharpton's radio show.
I don't listen to Fox News because I believe it to be nothing more
than the propaganda wing of the Republican Party. They are elitist,
homophobic and so many things. Do I want them off the air? Well, I'd
like to educate those that watch it, I'd like if they represent
themselves as news that they actually report the real news, but no, I
don't want them off the air. Because they give me something to talk
about, they give me a chance to say what they are saying is wrong,
and present a different viewpoint.
People are racist. People are bigots. People make mistakes. Even
radio hosts. In the land of the free, that's how it's gotta be. And
in the land of the Christians, we need to forgive it if someone says
they're sorry and move on. I know words can hurt, but Imus' only
inflicted a small flesh wound. Get over it, there's other, bigger,
more important battles to fight. The racial inequality when it comes
to poverty is horrible, and Imus has nothing to do with that. The
invisible poor of Katrina that became visible for a moment are all
but invisible again. The number of Black men in prison or jail versus
white is shameful. There's so much wrong that needs attention and
needs to be fixed. This is a blip, let it go. Who knows, you may have
a new ally in what you thought was an enemy.