Monday, April 16, 2007

Three Theses on Don Imus

1) First, it's important to clarify the exact nature of Imus's racist/misogynist language. It wasn't just that Imus called a group of black women "nappy-headed hoes." This term was used to distinguish the Rutgers women's basketball team from the Tennessee basketball team. The implication is that the Tennessee women have straight hair, light skin, and are feminine and attractive, while the Rutgers women have curly hair, dark skin, tattoos, and are unattractive. This is why the Rutgers team was compared to the Toronto Raptors, and what the reference to School Daze's "jigaboos and wannabees" was about (although Frank Rich, who should know better, seems to think that "jigaboos" is a generic racial epithet).

2) I wonder if Imus's remark wouldn't have met more indifference if athletes hadn't been the target. Some people have pointed out that they were not politicians, celebrities, or other public figures, and should be exempt from ridicule; others (including Snoop Dogg) took the opportunity to point out the difference between student-athletes and "hoes." But I also think that the insult registered as especially heinous with the broader public because we love our athletes like we love our soldiers. It doesn't hurt that after bloggers, sports journalists (especially black sports journalists) were the first media personalities to take up the cause. And sports journalists have a huge platform, which not so coincidentally happens to overlap with that of the shock-jock radio DJs.

3) How wonderful was Gwen Ifil on Meet the Press? Check out the podcast if you get a chance.

1 comment:

DDK23 said...

Yeah, my biggest problem with his comments was that it was directed at Student Athletes. There was no reason to take shots at them. I don't listen to Imus, or any "shock jock" so maybe I am out of touch, but I just don't see his comment making any kind of sense. Not even funny in the most juvenile type of humor. Now should he have been fired? I am not to sure on that one…..but I guess I really don’t care.