The raging media controversy over the stupid racial insult Don Imus threw at the Rutgers women's basketball team -- "nappy-headed ho's" - has led the usual cast of professional victims, like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the NAACP, to deplore the racist underbelly of the broader American culture.
But where were these people when the subject was gangsta rap? Arrogant and profane multimillionaires routinely insult and deride people, especially black women, with language one hundredfold more offensive than anything that ever came out of the I-Man's mouth?
Have the NAACP and other prominent minority groups marched with pickets outside BET or MTV for running raunchy rap videos full of N-words and "ho" references? Did they protest when the song "Hard Out Here for a Pimp" won an Academy Award? Its derogatory lyrics included the N-word and the word "ho."
To be sure, there have been some leaders in the black community -- like the late C. Delores Tucker and, more recently, Bill Cosby and Richmond, Va., Mayor Douglas Wilder -- who have campaigned mightily against this cultural self-destruction, but their appeals have been met by sneers and jeers from Hollywood.
Lobbyists for the NAACP and other groups have been equally silent over the shocking volume of racial material disguised as "comedy" on advertiser-supported basic cable TV. In the last two years, the Parents Television Council has counted more than 140 uses of the N-word on cable. Where were the campaigns to get those performers or executives canned?
This count includes the March 7 edition of Comedy Central's "South Park," kicking off its 11th season with its usual shock-joke routine. The network would not risk mocking Mohammad for fear of violence, but the March 7 show used the N-word 42 times in a half-hour. One of the main character's parents guessed the N-word on a "Wheel of Fortune" puzzle, and so the whole town of South Park repeatedly mocks him as "the (N-word) Guy."
In between the constant N-words, Comedy Central showed an advertisement for a new comedy series called "Halfway Home," about ex-cons in a halfway house. A white man under assault from people throwing water balloons looks at a black woman with a balloon and yells about his wet sweater vest, "This is cashmere, you fat whore."
Clearly, those alleged equal-opportunity insulters at Viacom are not as afraid of the NAACP as they are of the Muslims -- because the NAACP doesn't care. Its last leader, Bruce Gordon, now a board member at CBS Corp., demanded Imus be gone: "We should have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to what I see as irresponsible, racist behavior." Try to find any news account of Mr. Zero Tolerance campaigning against harsh rap music while he headed the NAACP.
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