Thursday, April 12, 2007

Much Ado About . . . Imus

I always get a kick when white politicians and pundits learn how flat out dangerous it can be to talk to and about black people. I also find it hilarious that they never seem to learn. Every month or two some new Caucasian big shot learns this lesson anew. And it doesn’t matter if what is said is “Imus bad” or even something ostensibly nice—regardless, these white bigmouths find themselves tangled up in their own guts.

Just a couple months ago Senator Joe Biden, a white democratic bigwig, “screwed up” when he dared say that black presidential candidate, fellow democrat Barak Obama “…is articulate…;” he practically got crucified just for “the implication!” (So Biden, you find it unusual that a BLACK man could possibly be well-spoken, do you?!) Implausibly, Biden found himself bullied into having to apologize for his “insensitivity and thoughtlessness.” Ha! Another white victim, and a liberal one at that, learns a hard eternal lesson!

A few years back in Washington D.C. some white bureaucrat got fired for using “racist language” by the black person in charge because the word “niggardly” was used in a report. The fact that “niggardly” means “stingy” and has nothing to do with the “N” word evidently escaped certain people’s attention. Lesson learned: Avoid, dodge, elude!

I’ve fallen into “the trap” a time or two myself. Long ago one of my so-called black buddies put me on the spot when I innocently used the word “boy” in a sentence referring to him. He took great exception to that even though I’m sure he knew better. It’s “that power thing” that American black folk have over us white folk when it comes to such rhetorical matters. For me, it was “once burned and never again.” I’ve found that avoidance is the best policy, because apparently it’s too easy to slip up. And even though not all blacks are prone to do this, you just never know when it COULD happen. Therefore: Dodge, avoid, elude!

I used to listen to Imus occasionally, usually by accident while getting ready for work if the TV happened to be on that channel. He irritates the hell out of me, almost as much as Howard Stern. My impression: He is a self-righteous cranky old man with nothing nice to say about anybody. After watching the clip where he dropped the “nappy-headed ho’s” bomb, it seemed entirely in character from what I remember of him. These college girls just advanced to the national basketball championship and he said something snide about them. That’s just who he is and who he’s always been. It seems there’s an audience out there that appreciates such mean-spirited observations and those are the people who listen to the jerk.

I can also tell you this with a reasonable amount of certainty: There aren’t a whole lot of black people, if any, watching and listening to Imus. That means that some white person spilled the beans and tattled to the likes of Jesse Jackson, The Rutgers Female Basketball Team, and Reverend Al! (That’s a joke by the way.) Just the same, when you listen to the Imus comment it’s obvious that it was a throwaway line said practically under his breath. The media is having a grand old time with THEIR “nappy-headed ho’s” story, and from what I can see its one they are doing everything possible to KEEP stirred up.

As I said, Imus isn’t the first or the last white big shot who got his pale nose slapped hard for not watching his “black people p’s and q’s.” I remember listening to Monday Night Football about 25 years ago to the announcer Howard Cosell as he excitedly declared during an outstanding running play, “LOOK at that lit-tle MON-key RUN!” I laughed and yelled at him on the TV, “Howard you’ve REALLY done it now man! You are FINISHED!”

That night Cosell committed THE ONLY unforgivable media sin being: “White guys saying “stuff” about black people!” Sure enough, after that, old Howard was washed up. It didn’t matter how sorry he was or that he didn’t have a racist bone in his body.

I don’t think Imus is a racist either. I WILL tell you this though, he’s a liberal who got careless. He thought his "liberalness" would protect him from himself. On top of that, ironically, he got a little TOO “ghetto” for his own good. There’s nothing more ridiculous than a white person trying to “talk black.” I’m sure black guys are quite entertained and probably more than a little contemptuous of white guys they see wearing their hats sideways while holding their crotch and talking smack. In effect, that is exactly what Imus was doing: he was trying to be hip and “talk ghetto.” Most of the girls he was referring to are black, and trying to be funny in his “Imus way,” he described them in “black speak.” What he was trying to say is that those chicks were some tough-looking, hard-playing gals and NO WONDER they kicked butt. The problem is that Imus is white and therefore he is not allowed to “talk black” about blacks. A black comedian can get away with it, but not a WHITE Imus!

“Nappy-headed ho’s” is the vernacular of gangster rap, AKA, “Ghetto music.” LOTS of Americans—White, Black, Asian, Latin, you name it—actually use that kind of language in sentences everyday all across America. Unfortunately, “The Ghetto” is not just a place in the inner cities anymore, now it’s a UNIVERSAL frame of mind. “Ghetto or Gangster Speak” has become mainstream and is being spoken by EVERYONE these days; even, it seems, by grumpy old radio announcers in their 60s. Imus too, evidently, has been influenced by “Ghetto Speak” and in a moment of weakness, or perhaps senility, he let some come out on the air. Oops. What it tells me is that he probably talks this way at times off the air, because when he said, “Nappy-headed ho’s” it came out sounding WAY too natural.

Watching old Imus today get grilled royally by Al Sharpton was quite a thrill for me. Imus and Al are on the same side politically and yet there was the “good reverend,” not a forgiving bone in his body, demanding that Imus quit his lifelong profession no matter how much Imus said he was sorry to “You people.” I got a huge kick watching Imus’ disbelief that Sharpton was going to try to catch him up with that old “You People” booby trap. It reminded me of another white guy, a little white Libertarian fellow, Ross Perot, who fell on his own “You people” sword back in 1992. Remember? Check it out from Wikpedia:

“Perot was criticized for a remark made during a speech at the NAACP convention. Perot was sympathizing with the plight of African Americans during tough economic times, but referred to his audience as "you people", a phrase that was loudly objected to by some members of the audience, and deemed insensitive by the media.”

You see what I mean? When it comes to us white folk, when we even TRY to pet the “black panther” we will probably get our “well-meaning” “good-intentions” hand bitten off (grin!). And the BEAT goes on, right Imus?

Personally, I don’t care about Don Imus, never have. He’s been insulting people and saying outrageous things for 30 years, so maybe its time he retired. I say let Reverend Al have his way and make Imus retire in shame. After watching “Sorry Imus” perform his endless and obligatory “sorries” on the “Mea Culpa Circuit,” regardless of what ultimately happens to him, Imus has condemned himself to being eternally apologetic, forever sorry for trying to be a white guy who tried to get away with “talking black” about blacks. If he had insulted white people like he normally does then it wouldn’t have raised even a whisper. His mistake is a classic one.

It reminds me of a similar error made by one of my friends from Philadelphia, also a white guy. I don’t know what it is about that town, but a lot of guys I’ve met from there have a certain “way” about them. I guess you can say it’s a tough town and the guys from there are tough too. I know it’s a generalization, but they all seem to act and talk like Italian mobsters to me. What I’m trying to say is that “Ghetto Speak” comes very easily to “Philly Boys.” The mistake my friend made was while he was in the Air Force stationed in Arkansas while playing golf with a couple of his black Air Force “buddies.” Forgetting himself, the Philly guy made a comment about Doug Williams, a black Eagles quarterback at the time. Using “the vernacular” of the black guys he was with, he said something like, “Man! That f**king niggah can RUN!” The next day his two “buddies” turned him into the Social Actions Office for using words that they themselves routinely used, and with HIM! The fact that these black guys ALWAYS used the word “nigger” around my buddy lulled him into using it too—BIG MISTAKE! The incident effectively ended my friend’s career—he never made another rank because of it.

I think sometime today Imus is supposed to meet with the Rutgers girls. I have to admit that I smirked during their press conference today while listening to how “hurt” they were to hear how he had referred to them. Yeah right! Like anything he said had ANY effect on them. The whole thing is an obvious play to the media. Imus is an idiot for continuing to subject himself to these grillings. He’s already said he’s sorry and that he’s going to change “his ways,” so what more is there to be done? Perhaps he should commit public suicide? How about a hanging? I say, “Enough already Imus!” Just shut up and go to the Caribbean for your two-week suspension. After 30 years do you really need to keep working anyway? In “the vernacular” of our times, "it’s time to retire you narrow-assed cracker Mother F**ker!" Oh, and Imus, no offense buddy.


Kevin said...

EVERYBODY has one of these stories to tell, including me.

I worked with a black pharmacist (now retired) that used to like to tell racist jokes, in a sort of self-deprecating way. He was the only black person in the department. Some people laughed, some people (like me) quickly vacated the area. I did it because of my military experience. A word to everyone. If this ever happens around you, it is ALWAYS a trap and nothing good can ever come from it. In this guys case, I think it was to remind himself that white people were never to be trusted. When he drank (christmas parties, etc) it was like he suddenly would "remember" he was black. Yikes. Kinda like the Sgt. Major character in "A Soldiers Story".

My M.O. in these situations is to be as "White" as I can. If anyone tells a racist joke around me, especially someone of color, I pretend that I don't get the punchline. It's my own "White uncle Tom" character. You know, the "smile and nod your head" no matter what mentality. They may think I'm stupid (which is fine) but I am displaying no threat as such I am not likely to be attacked. I don't waste time worrying about the "rightness" or "wrongness" of this situation. I just accept it, deal with it, and move on.
This is one of the things, however, that I don't miss about the military- the potential to be convicted of a crime simply by being accused.

PhilippinesPhil said...

I love it...! You act as "White" as you can. Good one.

Funny how many racial pitfalls there are out there these days. Of course, unless you are in the military or a public figure it just don't really matter, does it?

You know, as long as we have Reverend Al's and Jesse's to keep everyone pissed off at each other I think racial tensions will stay with us for a long time. Its a like a business for "those people."

Ed said...

I wrote about this subject today too but on the Rutgers women's side. I think they need to grow some thicker skin or they really aren't going to get anywhere in life other than a ticket to a NAACP rally.

Kevin said...

Yeah, see, Ed, I kinda disagree with that. The players themselves didn't comment until after they were asked repeatedly by the press for reaction to what was said. So, these girls are students that play basketball. They have had rude things said about them by a public figure, gotten harrassed by the press about it, then exploited by so-called civil-rights(read:hate-merchants) activists. Should they have thicker skins? I don't know, I guess they should if they are to be treated like livestock.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Melodrama, thy name is Rutgers!

Its not a question of developing "thick skin," these girls are as shamefully "full of it" as their new defender and mentor, Reverend Al Sharpton. The Rutgers ladies are one step below professional athletes and have heard much worse on the floor. It's exaggerated outrage and no more.

Funny thing is if Imus hadn't made his stupid ebonical misstep hardly ANYONE would even know that Rutgers was national champion. They should thank him for the publicity.

Kevin said...

Hey sportsfan (lol)-

The Rutgers womens basketball team actually lost to Tennesee in the championship game. So, in effect, Imus was kicking them while they were down.

Besides, I still would argue that these are just kids that play basketball. If they are mad, it's because somebody told them (repeatedly) that they should be. Exploitation.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Exploited. Exactly right. They are the Tawana Brawley's of the NCAA. Both the good reverends squeezed some publicity out of them and then tossed them out with yesterday's coffee grounds wrapped up inside the very headlines they helped generate. Typical of Jackson and Sharpton to create victims that didn't otherwise exist...

Girlie said...

I remember back in college. It was my first semester here. I have no idea who "sensitive" they are to any color reference. I remember making a comment about how insecure this newscaster must be to become so white, you notice it in a few days only.

You could have heard a pin drop. I didn't even know why that was. Someone had to explain it to my why I mustn't mention color or the likes any "black" person or I might get into trouble.

I don't know why it's such a big deal. One cannot even make an innocent comment because then suddenly, you're a "racist".

BTW, under no circumstance must I hit my lock button in a vicinity of a black man when I am downtown stuck with a red light. Evidently, that's a huge insult.

Well, guess what, I will hit my lock button whenever I want to...and color does not matter. That is just plain stupid not to. My "AA" English teacher told me that.

PhilippinesPhil said...

One of the first things Filipinos, or any immigrating nationality, learn when they first arrive in the US is how to tiptoe with their words and actions around American Blacks. AAs, African Americans, are the most thinskinned supersensitive demographic in the country. Call me what you want, but its true.

Non AAs have been practically bludgeoned into submission. In effect many blacks have become bullies and some also show a profound streak of hypocrisy and racism.

Example: My Filipino wife went to Little Rock, Arkansas to play bingo. She bought her cards, spread them out in preparation to play and went to the restroom. When my wife returned, she found a black woman in her chair with her cards pushed to the side. My wife objected and the words flew, especially from the AA woman culminating in a "Why don't you go back to China where you came from bitch!" My wife yelled back at her, "Why don't you go back to Africa? ..and I'm not Chinese you idiot!" Some older white ladies, new acquaintances of my wife, urged her in frightened whispers to stop making "her" angry. "Just come sit with us," they pleaded, "its dangerous to make "them" mad." My wife was having none of that appeasement talk, she stood her ground and made management step in. My wife doesn't care from black, white or blue, if someone tries to push her, she pushes back. The white ladies tried to tell her that her life was probably now in danger because she dared to cross the woman. THAT incident is typical of race relations in the USA today.

I've heard black hatefilled pundits declare that its impossible for black people to be racist because of slavery and years of racism. Of course that's tripe. As a white guy it seems that I'm required to "take it," but other races shouldn't have to and they need to stand up for us "beaten down" caucasions saddled with eternal "slavery guilt."

Shoshana, I strongly suggest that when you get into your car to make it a habit to lock your doors immediately. You just never know, although I don't blame you for your personal racial profiling. Better safe and labeled as a "racist" than sorry.

Amadeo said...

And another recent "victim" of what obviously is political correctness, colored (HeHeHe) to perfection, was Rush Limbaugh re his comments on QB McNabb.

He too lost his spot on TV (with ESPN) as his "restitution".

PhilippinesPhil said...

With someone like Limbaugh, whom "they" see as an "their" enemy, "they" were aimed, cocked and loaded for ANY comment whatsoever that "they" deemed racist. It seems that ONLY blacks are allowed to make racially charged comments because according to them its impossible for them TO be racist. NONE of this stuff improves racial relations. All this double standard does is piss off white people. The hypocrisy makes us resentful and if anything, it CAUSES racists feelings. Sometimes I seethe with repressed anger that I cannot describe. That's all we need in our society, MORE anger!

PhilippinesPhil said...

I never called anyone anything. In fact, if I heard anyone use the word "nigger" I always confronted them, especially the black airmen since they were the ones using it so much. If they did not apologize to me and promise to stop using it then I demanded their ID card and turned them into social actions. NO ONE should use ANY racial tags EVER! Its unprofessional.