(pops in Donny Hathaway's Extension of a Man)
Man, this is an incredible record, I must say. Clint, if you're feeling Hot Buttered Soul, seek this right here. Alright, let's talk about some racist cats. Don Imus is a bigot. There's no way else to cut it. That doesn't mean everyone that listens to him is a bigot. I mean, I watch O'Reilly, but I'm not an asshole like he is. Wait, let's start over...
There's a few sides to this story that I want to hit on. I've been just aching to get it out so here I go. There are three gas faces to hand out here. All for very different reasons, but well-deserved nonetheless.
First, let's talk about...
Besides the gas face for being an bigoted idiot for his comments to begin with, his attempt to combat his critics by saying that rappers routinely "defame and demean black women" by calling them "worse names than I ever did," is as silly a defense as a fool like Imus could've put together. Let's get something straight, poor Mr. Imus, like most people who use this defense is what I like to call a victim of context. "Nappy" is not a bad word. Neither is "headed." "Ho's" certainly can be used in a derrogatory manner and I would agree that using it in reference to a woman is quite disrespectful, but it's not a rarity. And, let's just get something out in the open, it's ain't just rappers that say the word, "ho." You put the words "nappy headed hos" together and it gets pretty tricky. I'm not sure what the white man has a hard time grasping about the concept of "things different races can say, but the white man can't." It's weird. Why are stupid white men are always getting hung up on the "Well, why can they say it and not I?" It should be a square on the $25,000 Pyramid: "Things Different Races Can Say, But the White Man Can't." Just so everyone can know those words or phrases.
Here's the easiest way of putting it. In an office, those words directed to a black female would be considered highly inappropriate and grounds for termination. Now, if that'd be grounds for termination, then broadcasting it to the entire nation probably would be as well. And, Mr. Imus, the difference between you and a rapper is that, like it or not, people pay to hear the rapper say it. It's not an issue of right or wrong, it's context. If your name was Richard Pryor and, maybe, you were actually Richard Pryor and you had a packed house of people who had paid to see your act knowing the material or sensitive nature of some of the content, it might not have gotten you fired. When you're a white man with a microphone and a history of controversy, you might want to show a little more restraint when speaking of the opposite race. And, despite what most people are spinning around the country, you can't say the "n-word" or "ho" on broadcast radio. Consider it like pay-per-view. If you want to hear the real explicit stuff, you're gonna have to pay for it. Of course, no one is actually paying for their music these days, but let's say they are.
It's like the violence and language on HBO, you can get your cable standard (which allows some language, yes) or you can pay for the real stuff. You don't hear anyone complaining about HBO or Showtime, right? It's because with the exchange of cash or money suggests that there's then a consensual agreement. Now, the people that went to see Michael Richards on that ill-fated night paid, but the difference is that the dude col' went off on some serious, serious racism. I think everyone can agree that they wouldn't have seen that coming. You know what you're getting with a rap record. You know what you're gonna get watching HBO at 11:00pm on a Saturday night. You know what happens in strip clubs. You know that if you hop in the octagon with Royce Gracie, you're gonna get your ass whooped. You're not stupid. But you're probably not expectant to be called out in the audience as the "n-word" if you go to a comedy club on a Friday night. Context, folks.
I'm trying to think of a reason that an old white man would use such language if for no other fact that he is, in fact, a racist and no reason's coming to mind. Mr. Imus might not be a racist, but as voice on the free airwaves, you have to have better judgement.
Then we got...
REV. AL SHARPTON
Sharpton, too, is a sensationalist. He thrives on spectacle. Now, with that said, I appreciate the balance that he provides to certain social injustices, however, often times I find that he can often take a situation from bad to worse with a few stupid comments on national stage. Once again, we find Sharpton blurring the lines of responsibility claiming that Imus' actions are the result of specifically hip hop culture which has long-held the word "bitch" and "ho" as acceptable. Furthermore, he believes that it should be the record labels that should step up and finally put an end to their use.
In this, not only does Sharpton take the easiest way out by tossing the blame off on the big bad wolf, but he, in result, also let's the truly responsible off the hook--parents and guardians. Those words and their use have been around long before rap came along and holding the industry responsible is a purely political move because attacking parents would mean losing political support. Remember, it's never the population's fault when you're earning political support. We'll blame cigarette companies, gun manufacturers, fast food companies, the film and music industry--anyone before we'll blame the core of value and moral development--the family. It's garbage. The world is a scary and impressionable place, but the family represents the most important and direct line to development and, likewise, the strongest gatekeeper for material deemed inappropriate.
In Al Sharpton's world, everyone is a feeble, weak-minded embicile that can't think, act, fart or take responsibility for themselves and, when done an injustice, they're due a public apology (embarrassment). Look, Imus doesn't need to apologize for being a bigot. He's a racist jerkoff. The world will happen to him. A man of his age probably learned only one thing from all of this and that is, "Opening your mouth can get you fired." Those thoughts and beliefs are deeply embedded in his poor mouth and as fickle as those comments were to him, so was that apology. Apologies are a good lesson, but for adults, the best lesson is to hit 'em in the checkbook. It's unfortunate, but true.
And then, lastly, there's...
In what could only be explained as a Courician blast of fiery confrontation, Meredith Viera decided she was gonna high-horse the aforementioned Sharpton on the "Today Show." In the interview, the usually quite sensitive yet challenging Viera brought out Sharpton and, as some had said, "held Sharpton's feet to fire." I would say that was true if she actually made any valid points, but all she referenced is the ol' tired "double standard" point of view without acknowledging the fact that the machine she feeds could be accused of the same thing. It's okay to say what Imus said on network television, yet not okay to say it on the radio. "They're all over the radio!" exclaimed Viera, yet she failed to point out that on her own network, programming from seven o'clock on is littered with such derrogatory sentiments not made by rappers or black actors. And, last time I checked, more people watch television than they do listen to the radio. How many kids you know are sitting in front of their radio these days waiting for Young Jeezy to come on. And with MTV hardly even playing music videos anymore, where are they picking up this language? Whatever, Meredith, you're the "concerned mother" of the "Today Show" and it's great for ratings, but wouldn't hold much water in court. Gasfaced!
Look, this whole thing is silly. It really is. I don't believe that it took the celebration away from the Rutgers basketball team. I don't believe it's the music industry. I don't even believe it's the rappers. It ain't Mims. It ain't Jeezy. It ain't Unk. It's the networks who take endorse certain politics and read it like news in the hopes of securing more advertisers, more profits, more business dinners, more executive trips abroad, longer cars, bigger planes and better plastic surgeries. The media serves advertisers because advertisers pay the bill at the end of the day. You have to make up your own mind. You have to scrub every situation with your own morals and principles to see what's right and what's wrong. It's only my opinion. Hopefully if you're even visiting The Root Down, you understand what that means.