Thursday, April 12, 2007

Imus out

Until someone else picks him up, that is. I attend a Black Land Grant college and last night in my social problems class, most of the discussion was taken up by the thoughts about Don Imus' comments and how the mostly African American students felt about his ousting, which was announced just before class began.

We had two ministers in attendance, my instructor and another campus minister for a discussion on students working in Mississippi on the Katrina flood, complete with a slide show. Then the topic went directly to Imus (it may have been my fault), and we spent two hours in earnest dialogue.

One topic the minister asked about was why Black rappers can use "ho" and racial epithets and it's "okay." One of the comments of the evening went to a wonderfully funny African American social worker, who said, "The women who audition for rap videos are "hos" and the women who buy rap are "residual hos." The entire class fell out laughing. I'd never heard of a "residual ho," but maybe I've led a sheltered life.

We didn't solve any sweeping social problems last night, but we talked with the Dean of Students, who was there, about how the college can better work to bring the races together. One thing I asked was about was the cafeteria. I've been to the cafeteria a couple times for lunch (I'm a night student mainly) and the food is really, really good. Yet I've never seen a white student there. What's up with that?

The Black students said that they don't go there because it's too loud. And the White students, they told me, bring their lunches and eat at one of the halls in a break room. I think, personally, the White students are too intimidated to go in because it's loud and extremely "Black," as one of the students said.

Fear is often at the heart of things, isn't it? I think the races in their hearts don't hate each other so much as they fear each other. My parents didn't bring me up to be racist; the most they said is that if we intermarried, it would be hard on our children. My parents were way ahead of their time and I thank God for the tolerance they taught me. I am not afraid of differences; I only fear that we can't heal these differences.

What gives me hope is that some are at least willing to engage in tough dialogue about how we can heal this great racial divide in America. As I've pointed out before, what Imus said was not a joke. He can hide behind that lame excuse all he wants. He is a racist and a sexist, or he would not have said those horrific comments to those beautiful, courageous women. By the way, did you watch the interviews of the women from the Rutgers team? Did they look like hos to you?

To my women readers and my readers of any color than White, if those women are hos, then we are all hos. I'll paraphrase Alan Ginsberg here by saying, "Ah, ho, while you are not safe I am not safe, and now you're really in the total animal soup of time."

To quote Ginsberg directly, "While I'm here I'll do the work. And what's the work? To ease the pain of living . . . " This incident has caused me pain. It should cause me pain, because it speaks to a great, great problem in America. Despite the Civil Rights movement and despite "integrating" our schools (have you been to a school in Compton lately?) and despite the lip service we pay to racial equality, this nation stands divided. I, for one, believe we can do better than this.


lushgurl said...

Yes I agree, here in Canada, "the great melting pot" racism exists, although maybe just not as vocalized. All I know is that we are all here together, and at the end of our days the colour of our skin matters not so much as the strength of our character. Isn't that what the great Dr, Martin Luther King taught us?

msb said...

Great blog today. I mean really, just who is the nappy headed ho anyway? Surely not those talented women playing for the love of the game. But what about that Imus guy working for ratings and $$$$. And that hair. Haven't seen anything nappier short of a sheep. I never heard of this maroon until a few days ago. Now he's everywhere. He'll probably join Howard Stern on pay radio and really make the big bucks.

SCoUt said...

"Did they look like hos to you?"
Just what DOES a ho look like? Let's not continue the stereotyping....
The comment about black rappers was also way off base in my opinion -- rap is a reflection of what is going on in the current culture. That is what is was always meant to be, and still is, when done by "underground rappers." Pop rap or mainstream hip-hop is about pop culture now and it got that way after the WHITE culture started buying mounds of their records and acting the way the thought BLACK people act. And SHE is perpetuating the whole "ho thing" by trying to be funny in a class that is having an honest discussion. A "residual ho"? C'mon girl, that's just not even fair to ANY woman on this planet. Sexist, mean spirited, and uncalled for.
I would have gone ape shit in that class with comments like that being bantered around. Until people can HONESTLY talk about race and race relations, it's all for show.
Firing Imus was one of the best things that has happened to radio in a long, long time. With free speech does NOT equal hate speech. I for one, have endured a life-time of it, and I'm sick of it.
Nice post. Sorry for the rant.

twodogsblogging said...

That is my point, Scout, what DOES a "ho" look like? Apparently Imus thought he knew. I don't know because by his definition, almost anyone who is different from him, no matter how superb their performance or how great their achievement, could be a "ho." Remember who defines most things in our culture--rich white males like Imus. He stayed on although he's been racist for years because it's all about the mighty dollar and he was a big advertising draw. As for rap, we all know it's mainly bought by White kids. It's just too bad that we have to use put downs, violence against women, denigrating women as objects, and a glorification of violence in music when there are so many things that would be more positive. Rap continues to sell and make big money. Ergo, few people call rappers on their lyrics, although there are many women in the music industry trying to affect change. The woman who made the statement about "residual hos" is a Black social worker, very well educated, and is entitled to her opinion, just like I'm entitled to mine and you're entitled to yours. I personally found the thought of being a residual anything pretty funny, which is what I see in life and what keeps me somewhat sane--humor, especially in words. I am the last person who would stereotype women by what they choose to do with their bodies. So this post was about how our class last night tried to have some discussion about how Blacks see this issue, and how the races can come together. You can rant all you want, I do, so fair is fair.

Noor Azman Othman GBE said...

Gee, I think I've been living too much sheltered life. I've to do a little bit of Googling to find out who's Don Imus, Rutgers et al.

I hope Romy not chewing something right now...

Lounge Daddy said...

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