Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Say No To All Hate Speak

I've been resisting commenting on Don Imus and his remarks about the Rutger's basketball team, but as this continues to be front page media news, it now seems like indeed past time to weigh in. (That's what blogs are for, right?)

I don't watch Don Imus...I have never appeared on Don Imus (I vaguely remember turning it down once when I was at SIECUS.) I think he is racist, sexist, homophobic...and obnoxious. Just like Howard Stern, I wonder how listeners don't feel debased just by tuning in.

I do wonder though how it is that the media condemnations have all focused on the racial aspects of his comments and seemingly ignored their sexualized and sexist connotations. The airwaves have been surprisingly absent of feminist leaders decrying his characterization of these strong, athletic, and beautiful young women as "ho's." Does racism trump abject sexism, or do we need to understand that such "isms" of any kind are both interrelated and immoral?

The bright side in this media circus is that his comments are not being brushed off but condemned loudly. We seem to have reached a tipping point in the past year in our culture...whether it's Mel Gibson, Ann Coulter, Isaiah Washington, or Michael Richards, hate speech is no longer excusable, at least in the public square. And that's something that's long overdue.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I too have been wondering why the media did not pick up on the Rutgers players OWN comments that this was aweful for African American women and for ALL women to have this said on national radio. Then, last night a few media outlets started to address the disparity of attention paid to racism versus sexism in this case. Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press was featured on NPR "Talk of the Nation" (to listen click here http://www.npr.org/blogs/talk/2007/04/imus_verbal_implosion.html). She has also written a column called "Get rid of Imus and Sexist Rap Too" (http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070410/COL10/704100332/1164). Then, I heard reports on ESPN discussing the topic. On Pardon the Interruption or PTI, Michael Wilbon chastised the media for making this only into a race issue. Suggesting that most of the reporters are men as are the people Imus has talked to since the incident. He is a highly esteemed sports reporter and made these comments during primetime ESPN (for more on his show see http://sports.espn.go.com/espntv/espnShow?showID=EOPT).