By JASON WHITLOCK
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
You’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 it’s 1965 and delude
ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than
eradicating our self-hatred.
The bigots win again.
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.
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.
It’s embarrassing. Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make
racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was
hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white
and black people, and we all laugh out loud.
I’m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted
me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.
But, in my view, he didn’t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks
and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should’ve been the end
of this whole affair. Instead, it’s only the beginning. It’s an
opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim
platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.
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, 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.
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 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?
When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he
is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when
you’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. There’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 email@example.com
. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com