Saturday, April 14, 2007

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT: The Don Imus Case -- Just Blame Black Folk. . .

WOW, if I didn’t think I was ill before – for weeks!!! – the Don Imus flap is enough to surely send me back to my bed!

Okay, things that happened correctly: bottom line – the guy was fired.

What Don Imus said was not a “slip of the tongue.” This is the man who called respected journalist Gwen Ifill –- an African American woman –- a “cleaning lady.”

He is the man who has made so many racist, sexist, homophobic comments through the years that his listeners – and indeed, the country – have viewed them as “normal.”

And were it not for bloggers (God Bless ‘Em!) picking up on it, Don Imus might still have a job.

Actually, scratch that.

If it were not for corporate executives seeing a loss of green (money), Don Imus would still have a job.

Make no mistake, it was not the public “outrage” or letters or calls or e-mails from civil rights activists and individuals across the country that did in Don Imus.

Nor was it that CBS or MSNBC all of a sudden grew a backbone and a conscience.

What really did in Don Imus was the loss of revenue in corporate advertising to his program.

Major long-term sponsors pulled out, packed up their suitcases of money and took it to another playing field. Don Imus became a corporate liability and therefore had to go.

In Amerikkka, “justice” is colored green.

So now, not even 24 hours after he has been fired, a curious – and oh so predictable – public re-writing is now taking place, and it goes like this:

“Don Imus wouldn’t have EVEN KNOWN to call those Black women ‘nappy headed hos’ IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE BLACK HIP-HOP COMMUNITY!!!”

Now, people PLEASE!!! AS IF a WHITE MAN in Amerikkkan society has EVER needed permission – AT ANY POINT IN AMERIKKKA’S BROKEN, RACIST HISTORY – OR NEEDED AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN TO GIVE HIM THE WORDS – to denigrate Black women!!!

But the media is simultaneously creating and eating up this “new reality” with a silver spoon.

Talk shows, bloggers, and media are asking the question “why is a radio jock held responsible for calling a group of [B]lack women a slang term for prostitutes. . .when scores of rappers have gone multi-platinum using the same word and uglier ones in reference to [B]lack women everywhere?(The Washington Post, Remark renews old hip-hop debate, Friday, 04.13.07)” while ignoring the following:

There is a cultural context of white supremacy that cannot be ignored and that gives different “weight” and power to words spoken depending on whether the speaker is African American or white and to whom the slur is intended. For example: an African American person calling me a “nappy headed ho” – while reprehensible – does not carry the same racial baggage and racial significance of a white person calling me that. In white Amerikkka, the term “nappy headed” has been used for 400 years by white people denigrating African Americans. Black people picked up the term as a pejorative FROM WHITE PEOPLE, not the other way around. Now consider this: if a Black person calls me a “nappy headed ho,” while wrong, their use of it denigrates me AND them. When a white person calls an African American a “nappy headed ho,” it denigrates all African Americans (especially in a white society where the wearing of “natural” hair is STILL an issue in 2007!!!!) and uplifts the notion of white hair texture being “normal” and desirable.

The white music producers and corporate representatives that control the music industry are ultimately responsible for what is produced for public consumption and they are choosing to push down our collective throats music that is denigrating to the Black community. Remember MayMay Ali? Of course you don’t. She is a rapper whose career was truncated by white music producers who told her that her music was “too positive” and not “hardcore” and “street” enough for them, and she is just but one of many examples.

Rap and hip-hop today have increasingly become a 21st Century minstrel show orchestrated by white music producers and corporate heads who want the green for the amusement and consumption of disaffected white (who are the majority of buyers/listeners) and African American youth who uncritically inculcate these toxic images of Black America and act toward our community accordingly.

For both groups, it means acting in a debasing manner toward Black women and mothers.

It means looking at Black culture through a very narrow lens which dismisses our most treasured accomplishments as “acting white” (as if Africans and descendants of Africans in Amerikkka have not always valued, fought, died for, and achieved education and acted out of our inherent intelligence against the most crippling of odds).

It means promoting a view of “manhood” more in line with 17th and 18th century overseers who were broken under the daily indoctrination of the individualistic, “me first” “protecting the interests of white Amerikkka” philosophical thought and actions rather than the collective, “let’s rise as a people” interest that has been a staple of the African American community in Amerikkka.

And again: both groups may listen to the music. Both groups may act out of the messages of the music. BUT ONLY ONE GROUP will be lifted up by either group’s acting out of the negative messages of some rap and hip hop music AND THAT GROUP IS WHITE AMERIKKKA.

Final point: Do I think that misogynistic, homophobic, racist messages in any form are alright?

Emphatically no.

Do I think that the African American community has done enough to “censor” those messages in our own communities and to protect our youth from those messages?

Emphatically no.

BUT I find it so telling that the Amerikkka that is crying about “censorship” of Don Imus is now calling for “censorship” of rap and hip hop music. . .

I find it curiously telling that in their rush to assign blame to the rap and hip hop communities they are ignoring that white music producers control that music scene and the production and distribution of those negative messages. . .

I find it awfully telling that Amerikkka is now trying to blame Don Imus’ racism on the rap and hip hop community – as if this country has not been steeped in racism/white supremacy from its inception and as if now this is a new phenomenon created by the community most victimized by it. . .

And I find it laughable – - and an indication of the racist thought that is so alive and well in Amerikkka – - that when a “white privilege” is taken away, white Amerikkka becomes so panicked that now they are acting as if Don Imus – and their collective selves – are the “victims” because somehow the “normal” climate has “changed” and they cannot now get away with the hate speech that they made a staple of the Amerikkkan palate.

Moving Forward,


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