I could not give two shits about the Imus thing, even on a bean and bran filled day, but sweet Jesus, the idiocy floating around our fair internet about this is staggering.
Over at Blue Coller Republican, Austin Farley says:
How many millions have the “Urban” Rappers made while using the same terms and far worse? Why is it when an old, white dude says one silly thing the Sharptons of the world blow it out and then the fellow gets suspended? We do not have the freedom of speech in this country. We are free to speak what others like to hear, but nothing more. How is it that blacks can talk about whitey enslaving them, beating them down and much more, but nothing is said?
(Yes, I know, I KNOW. But let me take it: Mr. Farley, black people can talk about whitey enslaving them and beating them down because white people did those things. White folks enslaved black people and, for fun, regularly knock the shit out of them and kill them. Less frequently now than in the past, but the past was not that long ago.)
Jay Bush sounds a similar theme:
However, what’s most interesting about the Imus incident is that the allegedly racist terminology he used (“nappy-headed hos”) doesn’t have it’s roots in white culture. Terms like pimpin, hos, ghetto and nappy-heads are regularly heard in hip-hop music and black comedy. Hip-hop especially is heavily marketed to a white audience, in fact it’s been written that as much as 80% of rap music is purchased by whites. Given this reality, is anyone surprised that some white people have adopted the language and mirror the image of popular rappers?
(Yep, again, I KNOW! Bush, please, Imus is not a rap fan and you and I both know it.)
I mean, when fucking Kleinheider has the most reasoned post on the whole thing (‘reasoned’ being in the context of what folks on the right are saying), we’ve clearly entered the Land that Brains Forgot.
So, let me spell it out for you. First, rap artists don’t use those terms in an uncontested fashion. Black women are not running around cheering about how every time they turn on the radio or television there’s someone’s brother or cousin or friend or lover or husband–a person they ought to be able to count on to really understand them and what they’re going through–calling women ‘bitches’ and ‘hos.’
Pam Spaulding, a black woman at a prominent blog, talks about that today. Shoot, the women at Spelman were pissed off about this very thing back in ’04.
The problem is not that black folks are just sitting back quietly accepting whatever vomits forth from the record industry; the problem is that most white people don’t have the thoughts and opinions of their black peers even on their radar. I doubt they even know how to find out what regular black people are thinking and saying about things.
And why would they? Because as much as they grouch about Sharpton and Jackson, Sharpton and Jackson are on their TV screens spouting out opinions. Most white people don’t have to do any work to discover what’s on the minds of Sharpton or Jackson, whereas hearing from actual black people who can’t get on cable takes a little more effort. Far better to triangulate from the appearances of black folks on the news, ESPN, and BET what’s going on in the black community.
Never mind that that’s a little like watching CMT in order to figure out what white Nashvillians think about life.
So, yes, point one–blaming black people for not speaking out against the misogyny in rap when you don’t actually know if black people are speaking out against the misogyny in rap is a bullshit move and you should be embarrassed.
Point two: it is wrong to call someone a “nappy-headed ho.” Period. It’s wrong to use trait closely associated with someone’s race in a disparaging manner. It’s wrong to say that a woman sells herself in a degrading fashion as an insult.
Both of those things are wrong. They don’t become less wrong just because you can find examples of other people using those words.
Really. You really want to argue that it’s okay for Imus to hate black women because some black men hate black women? That’s your big moral stand? If some black men can hate and degrade black women, it’s not fair that some white man can’t hate and degrade black women?
Need I remind you that no one should be hating or degrading black women?
Again, Sweet Jesus. I can’t believe that has to actually be articulated. It’s wrong to hate and degrade black women. Period. Regardless of who else is doing it. It doesn’t matter if every man in the country and most of the women were to degrade and hate on black women.
It would still be wrong.
It is seriously gross to hear grown ass folks who seem to be able to think and write coherent thoughts excusing the hatred and degradation of anyone.
And, just to top it all off, there’s a level of white-loathing in this whole discussion that I find disturbing. “Boo hoo, a lot of white people buy rap music and we’re too idiotic, even though we’re grown-ups, to not repeat what we hear. Boo hoo. Poor us. If only those black men with their seductive music would stop brainwashing me into opening my wallet and buying it and listening to it, then I wouldn’t have to use those words that I know, if I said them to my mom, would cause her to cry or slap me. Woe is me!”
Nevermind that this whole “but rappers say it!” is bullshit and we all know it, because Imus is not some huge rap fan.
Even if it were possible for, say, the Three 6 Mafia to brainwash him (“Inside peanut butter, outside jelly”–who does not want a car like that?), Imus would actually have to listen to them for that to happen.
And he doesn’t.