On Imus and Stuff I was Trying to Avoid

Once upon at time there was this guy named Don Imus. He said stupid racist and sexist things on the air about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. He is a dick head. He got fired for being a racist, sexist, dick head. End of story.

Wait, no, not the end of the story.

Suddenly, all of the black people in the land started turning on themselves and blaming themselves for Imus’s comments. Now, these black people were a bit deluded. They thought they were talking about other black people. But somewhere along the line, after 1964, they forgot how to be one people. They forgot that pointing the finger at “them” was also pointing the finger at themselves. So sad. So very sad indeed.

You see, after Imus, the S.R.D.H., said what he said, black people across the land started emailing each other and going on tv and radio talk shows talking about how they really did Imus to themselves. They blamed their music, their ghettos, their Ebonics, their limited access to the best education in the country for people like Imus, the S.R.D.H. saying racist stuff like that. They discussed reasons why they shouldn’t be outraged about Imus, when there are misogynistic messages in their own music. It’s as though the powers that be sprinkled pixie dust among them and confused them and now they can’t distinguish between the cause and the effect. It’s a sad state for these people.

They have forgotten who controls the music industry, who controls the images they see of themselves on tv, in the media and on the silver screen. They have forgotten the role racism has historically played in the creation of their ghettos and how survival has caused many of them to forgo many of the luxuries and comforts others of them enjoy. It’s as if the lot of them has been brainwashed. They no longer think like the generation before them who knew that their survival as a people required unity and fighting for the collective. Instead, it seems like something akin to Stockholm syndrome is running amok in the land.

Is there hope for the people? Will those in the fringes who see the dastardly scheme at work learn how to communicate the need to stop the self-hating infighting? Will the people stop spending so much time being disgusted with one another and take back the spirit that embodied King and those of his time? Will the Cosby’s in the land offer solutions to the problems, instead of constant criticism? Or will they all turn completely individualistic and identify with “pull yourself up by your bootstraps, all by your damn self” ideology of …well, you know who the villains in land are. No need to utter their name.

Stay tuned for the next event that causes black people to convince each other that they shouldn’t express outrage about racism merely because there are problems at home.


9 thoughts on “On Imus and Stuff I was Trying to Avoid

  1. Following is the Cosby “bootstrap” excerpt and then a response from me…


    “We Can’t Blame White People”

    “They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English.
    I can’t even talk the way these people talk:
    Why you ain’t,
    Where you is,
    What he drive,
    Where he stay,
    Where he work,
    Who you be…
    And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk.
    And then I heard the father talk.

    Everybody knows it’s important to speak English
    except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor
    wi th that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
    In fact you will never get any kind of job making a
    decent living. People marched and were hit in the
    face with rocks to get an education, and now
    we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around.
    The lower economic people are not holding up
    their end in this deal.

    These people are not parenting. They are buying
    things for kids. $500 sneakers for what?
    And they won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.
    I am talking about these people who cry when
    their son is standing there in an orange suit.

    Where were you when he was 2?
    Where were you when he was 12?
    Where were you when he was 18 and
    how come you didn’t know that he had a pistol?
    And where is the father? Or who is his father?

    People putting their clothes on backward:
    Isn’t that a sign of something gone wrong?

    People with their hats on backward, pants down
    around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something?
    Or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up?
    Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress
    all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing]
    going through her body?

    What part of Africa did this come from?
    We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans;
    they don’t know a thing about Africa
    With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed
    and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.

    Brown or black versus the Board of Education
    is no longer the white person’s problem.

    We have got to take the neighborhood back.
    People used to be ashamed. Today a woman
    has eight children with eight different ‘husbands’ —
    or men or whatever you call them now.
    We have millionaire football players who cannot read.
    We have million-dollar basketball players who can’t
    write two paragraphs. We as black folks have to
    do a better job. Someone working at Wal-Mart
    with seven kids, you are hurting us.

    We have to start holding each other to a higher standard.
    We cannot blame the white people any longer


    Lex: I completely agree with your point that the Imus matter has caused an outpouring of cries for introspect within our community and maybe the cries are being used to tune down the racist and sexist nature of his rant. However, I feel as if the cries were always there…we just don’t turn our eyes or our ears to the matter until some kind of “serious” racial controversy happens and we decide to open up those particular “receptors”. You mention the Civil Rights Movement and the March with Dr. King … at that point in time racism was “in your face”. As a people we had to self check ourselves majorly in order to survive and move up. We had to pull ourselves up by the bootstrap as well as help pull the bootstrap of the man next door, the older woman down the block, the child across town, etc. We as a “collective” did more self-evaluation and more self-improvement because we were working against a common “enemy” that we could all easily differentiate. Today, that “enemy” is more stealth. More inviting. The “enemy” comes in a variety of colors shapes and sizes but the “enemy’s” purpose has evolved while we as a people has devolved. As Alexis stated, the qualities of the previous generation have not been passed down to us. Some of “us” are becoming our own “enemy”.

    On one hand I can understand why Cosby would take the view he has and feel just in expressing it. As I noted before, I am SURE much of what he said, many of us have said as well. ESPECIALLY those of us who have had the benefit of higher education and the benefit of moving “out of the hood” if you ever were there in the first place! There is a sense of self-inflation that takes place as a black person moving into a place where many of us don’t make it. A sense of self-inflation that, in my opinion, is needed in order to survive in some situations where your perceived worth will be slashed in half simply based on your race or your race and gender. We just need to make sure we don’t take that same inflated attitude back to “us” as a collective because that is where we start to cause divide. I can’t even tell you the number of times I have had one of my secretaries tell me I am a “bourgouis-black/negro/(I even had one “light-skinned” brother use the term “darkie”(yet another way to try and bring me down))” and that they did not want to talk to me at first because of that. I do not talk down to them but at the same time, I do not “talk down” (jive, use slang) to them. It is just “the divide”. I had one of my secretaries tell me that there are 3 types of black people. Those like me (meant to go to school, use their mind, “talk like them”), those like him (meant to be an athlete, entertainer or secretary, the “regular” black person) and the rest (meant to do nothing, sell/use drugs or do the jobs no one else wants to do). That is a sad, sad, SAD way to think and quite unbelievable to me. However, it is those instants that at times, make me as a person want to go on a “Cosby Rant”. I guess my main question would be, “How can you have so much self doubt?” and then “How can you not see your value?”.

    I admire Cosby for taking a stand as a member of the generation who knew what it meant to fight as a collective against a common oppressor. I admire him for not worrying about “his ends” and taking a stand.
    At the very least, he has brought on another wave of self-reflection and that can never hurt if your roots are firmly planted!

    Maybe Cosby’s remark is the fire that restores the drag down activity up under the pot of tired crabs that have been trying to climb out of the pot for a while. But sometimes a little heat to spur action is good if the action helps all to move as a collective and get the pot closer to the edge and away from danger. Even if it comes at a time that draws attention away from the person in pinching distance who is turning up the heat.

  2. It’s disheartening to me that we — or they — feel a need to somehow justify what this man has done with self-degradation. Just because there are things we as a community need to address, doesn’t give anyone the right to be offensive, abusive and hurtful.

    Every community has its flaws, issues and, frankly, it’s embarassments. (I sit next to one every day and may blog about that later.)

    And for the record, I, with my habitually late self, am the FIRST COMMENTER!!!! Yay me!

  3. My perspective is naturally different because I am not black. (Nobody’s perfect.) But it seems to me that whatever problems exist in the black community are not in any way responsible for white assholes like Imus thinking it is okay to denigrate black people.

    The fact that he selected young women who are extremely well-educated and superb athletes demonstrates his insecurity about the fact that, thankfully, white no longer makes right. (The amazing dignity of those young people showed him up as nothing else could have done. It was just a bonus that he lost his job, and we are all better off without him.)

    Every community has problems. I believe that Jesus said “What you do to the least of them, you do to me.” I think it is the responsibility of those in any group who make it to the top to extend a hand to those below them. Blaming the least of them for assaults from outside the community is pointless and destructive.

    People evolve at vastly different rates. Until all are valued, no matter where they are in the process, no one, black, white or green, reaches the promised land.

  4. Lex, you gave me a lot of food for thought here. Much as I want us to clean up our own back yard, because I believe we are so much more significant than a has-been dumbass like Imus, I don’t want folks to let him off the hook. I guess my initial logic on Imus was one of those little pearls my grandfather used to share: better to keep quiet and let people think you’re a fool than open your mouth and prove it. Imus opened his mouth (yet again) and proved it. I don’t want that fool silenced. I want to hear cats like him so I know just how close or far way my enemies are.

    But seriously, as with all your others, this was a very thought-provoking post. Any time a post makes me challenge my own logic it’s deep. Kudos.

  5. I agree completely with Bill Cosby and kmf. My dad would have washed my mouth out and gave me Lecture #5469.B Section 7.4 on how I was taught better than to use ain’t and other improper English.

    I have always been called names because of how I spoke (and mind you, I can’t type worth a damn when I feel passionate about something).

    But we, as a community have lost sight of the issue and the target. Imus is an asshole, granted. But what about those rappers that we all love so much: Snoop Dog, 2-Pac, Biggie, Ludicrus (sp?)? We get mad when the white guy says something offensive, but we don’t get mad at our own when they degrade us.

    For several years now, I have stood back and evaluated the generations that came before us and the generations that have come after them. And I have come to the conclusion, “we” have settled. We got the right to vote, we got desegragation (to a point). We even put Black representatives in national, state, and local government. Then we settled.

    We settled for the drug-pusher’s in our neighborhood, we settled for inadequate schools, we settled for an increase in teen pregnancies and drop-outs. Then we blamed everyone else for the problem. But in the end we settled.

    If we had the same mindset as the generation of Dr. Cosby, Malcolm X, King…etc. I think we could repair the damage and get on the right track. But we must change the way we think in order to affect some sort of change. We must stop pointing the finger at Imus and Rush.

  6. I am quietly wondering if Imus is happy to have been bumped by the VT massacre? I’m sure it’s bitter sweet for him on some level.

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