Don Imus, Al Sharpton and African-Americans
The suspension by CBS and MSNBC of Don Imus’s morning show over some insensitive things Imus said is a blatant example of the double standard to which society appears to be placidly subscribing. In the land of the free and home of the brave, where the first amendment guarantees everyone the same degree of free speech, there are certain things that those of the Caucasian persuasion are not allowed to say. And if they do say certain things, then their punishment is swift, vicious and unforgiving, regardless of any apology that may be proffered, as the hapless Imus has just found out.
Imus was referring to players of a black women’s basketball team as “nappy haired hos” on his radio show when the wrath of God descended upon him. God’s wrath came to Imus in the form of the Rev. Al Sharpton, arguably the most racist person in America, who demanded that the talk show host be fired for his impolitic remarks. And in true form, everyone caved to Sharpton’s ridiculous demands.
So what is it with all the hip-hop rap stars raking in millions with “songs” about their “bitches and hos”, rhapsodizing over misogynous and racist behavior and freely using the “N” word, while people like Sharpton engage in a deafening silence. Is it okay for black men to say these things about black (or white) women, but it isn’t okay for white men to use these terms? Do black people have a patent on racial epithets that when used by people of other races constitutes a copyright infringement?
It would almost appear to be the case, given the degree of outrage aimed at Imus for his unfortunate commentary.
But let’s look at the other side of the coin, shall we? I recall a certain firebrand civil rights leader referring to New York City as “Hymietown” because of its large Jewish community and there wasn’t nearly the degree of shock and outrage as that displayed over Imus’s words. I would venture that this nameless civil rights leader’s remarks were much more “hateful” than Imus’s, as they were used to impugn an entire ethno-religious group that has long been persecuted. Yet today this civil rights leader is still out extorting money from corporations with threats of racially based boycotts unless certain donations are ponied up.
Then there is the case of the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, leader of America’s Black Muslim movement, who is constantly ranting about “the evil Jew” to his parishioners. Shouldn’t some sort of action be taken against the hateful invective emanating from him? Or is it because Farrakhan is black that he is exempt from the standards of deportment that apply to the rest of society.
More alarmingly, for Sharpton to insist that Imus be fired, is a pure case of the pot calling the kettle black (no pun intended), as Sharpton himself has his own history of racist misadventures, not the least of which is the Tamara Brawley affair, which found Sharpton a willing collaborator in the attempted framing of a group of white men for the non-existent rape of a black woman.
People like Sharpton make their living keeping the fires of racial hatred burning and acting as an apologist for racist acts and words that emanate from their own community. In fact, there is a school of thought that maintains it is impossible for African Americans to be racist, as they have been victims. To them acts of racism can only be committed by whites.
So long as we all agree to this sham we are establishing a double standard that does a disservice to both blacks and whites. It’s time that the likes of Sharpton be exposed for what they really are: cynical race baiters who thrive on keeping hatred and mistrust between the races alive.
Imus apologized. Enough already.