RIP (Rest In Peace) to radio host Don Imus' career -- at least his CBS radio show and its simulcast. The firing of the longtime host represents another example of hypocrisy, selective outrage and our society's obsession with the "pervasiveness" of anti-black racism.
Imus, on April 4, referred to the predominately black Rutgers female basketball team as "nappy-headed hos," after Imus' morning show executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, called the women "hard-core hos." Furthermore, McGuirk described the women's NCAA championship match between Rutgers and Tennessee as the "jigaboos versus the wannabes" -- a reference to Spike Lee's movie "School Daze" about the tension between light-skinned blacks and dark-skinned blacks.
After first dismissing the remark as a joke, Imus apologized several times, and agreed to go on Al Sharpton's radio show for a beat-down. Follow the bouncing hypocrisy.
Sharpton never apologized for falsely accusing a former assistant district attorney in 1987 of sexually assaulting black teenager Tawana Brawley. A New York grand jury determined the whole Brawley affair a hoax, and the assistant DA successfully sued Sharpton and two other defendants for defamation. A unanimous, multiracial jury awarded the assistant DA $65,000 from Sharpton. No apology.
In 1989, after the "Central Park Jogger" was viciously attacked and left for dead, Sharpton called the jogger a "whore" and accused her boyfriend of committing the crime. No apology.
Jesse Jackson also criticized Imus. But in 1984, when the Washington Post's Milton Coleman reported Jesse Jackson called Jews "Hymies" and New York "Hymie-Town," the reverend initially denied the statement. Days later, Jackson apologized for his anti-Semitic remark, thus taking longer to apologize than did Imus for his racist, sexist remark. Jackson's friend and confidant, the Nation of Islam's Minister Louis Farrakhan -- publicly threatened black reporter Coleman on radio and warned the Jews, "If you harm this brother [Jackson], I warn you in the name of Allah this will be the last one you harm." Jackson refused to condemn Farrakhan's remarks.
Director Spike Lee also called for Imus' head. Lee, in a 1992 interview with Esquire, stated that he disliked interracial couples: "I give interracial couples a look. Daggers. They get uncomfortable when they see me on the street." This puts him on the same side of the line as, say, David Duke.
Republican Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., complimented Senator Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., on his 100th birthday by saying, "I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."
Lott apologized and explained that he intended to flatter an old man on his 100th birthday. He appeared on BET for an hour-long beat-down. Spike Lee, on national television, without evidence, called Lott a "card-carrying member of the Klan." No apology.
The hypocrisy does not end with this trio.
Presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., became the only candidate to publicly call for Imus' firing, "He didn't just cross the line. He fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America. The notions that as young African-American women -- who I hope will be athletes -- that that somehow makes them less beautiful or less important. It was a degrading comment. It's one that I'm not interested in supporting." Apparently the senator ignored his daughters' sensibilities when he allowed record mogul David Geffen to hold a fund-raiser. Geffen's company produces rappers like Snoop Dogg, who liberally uses the b-word and the h-word, brags about getting high and produced X-rated videos.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., also slammed Imus, yet she held a fund-raiser with rapper/producer Timbaland. In his own music, Timbaland uses the "b" and "h" words, as do other artists he produces.
As for CBS, the radio network that canned Imus, they, too, showed a selective outrage. One of the network's popular syndicated radio hosts -- who provides men advice on how to handle women -- routinely refers to women as "skanks" and "bitches."
A poll showed reaction to Imus' firing split down black-white racial lines, with most blacks agreeing with the firing and most whites disagreeing. Call this another example of hypersensitivity/payback on the part of blacks. For the Rutgers basketball team represents a group of accomplished women, which include a high school valedictorian, a pre-law student and a classical music prodigy. How many of them even heard of Don Imus before his offensive remarks? Do any of these ladies have hip-hop/rap music with misogynist lyrics on their iPods? Here's a suggestion -- ignore the remark. After all, in the great department store of life, Imus operates in the toy section.