I love the Imus show. I watch it every morning. But I usually turn the channel during the comedy bits. The jokes in question -- calling the girls from a college basketball team some "nappy headed hos" -- I find mildly funny. Two black folks that I discussed this with yesterday (Nicole) and this morning (Andrew) found Imus' joke funny, and both said: "That sounds like what most black folks would have to say about that team".
What I find disgraceful is the conduct of the people demanding that Imus get fired. Imus (and when I say Imus, I mean him and the other guys on his show) didn't say that all black women are hideously unattractive, just that one group of girls. What triggered Imus' comments was that these girls have lots of visible tattoos, which I believe are indeed disgusting. I have spent nearly all of my social life with regular black guys, and I am certain that a very sizable portion of them had some similar comments for those girls, and "nappy-headed" would not have been one of the typical terms, but rather something even worse. Also, Imus commented on how "cute" the other team was, which was a team just as dominated by black players as was the insulted team.
When Imus had the guts to got to Al Sharpton's radio show and sit there for two hours taking a full-frontal assault, Sharpton brought out his own overweight, unattractive daughter and paraded her in front of the cameras to declare that when Imus insulted that one group of black girls, that he insulted all black girls, even Al's unattractive daughter. That is illogical nonsense. Imus in this incident called another group of black girls (ones with no obvious displays of tattoos!) "cute"; why doesn't that assessment apply to all black girls, including Al's chubby daughter? And by the way, Al's daughter isn't unattractive because she "fails to meet European standards of beauty". She's chubby, for one thing, and let's just leave it at that.
In addition, Imus regularly insults the appearance of many honkey women, including Ann Coulter, whom I can guarantee got even worse than these basketball girls, and yes, he has called her a ho... and even a skank! He also called his own honkey coworker Contessa Brewer a "fatass skank," and Hillary Clinton a fatass lesbo. No calls for his firing in any of those cases. Does that mean that Imus believes this of all cracker women? Imus even regularly refers to his own wife as a ho, and his show mates regularly claim that she cheats on him with various people.
Listening to popular black music, as well as popular morning FM black radio music shows every day, I cannot say that anything that Imus said in this incident is any worse than what I hear from those other sources, all without any significant fallout.
Then there are the fierce political positions that Imus takes, which usually coincide with those of the people now trying so hard to get him fired:
1. He hates Bush, and daily skewers the war in Iraq.
2. He led crusades to increase the veteran death benefit from about $10k to half a mil, and to improve disabled benefits, including the conditions at Walter Reed. In all these cases he held Bush and Cheney personally responsible. I do not think it could be possible to skewer and insult Bush and Cheney any worse than Imus does.
4. He advocated Harold Ford, Jr for a senate run for the past several years, and is perhaps singularly responsible for Ford's senate campaign, and for Ford becoming a national figure.
5. Imus loudly and regularly insisted that Bush's Katrina mishandling resulted from "racism".
6. Imus lambasted the anti-Ford ads featuring the white girl asking Ford to call him as "racist", heavily promoted Ford's senate bid, and denounced Ford's loss as a result of white racism.
- Imus regularly gives national radio and TV time to black musicians who otherwise get zero radio play, even from black radio and TV shows. This includes the Blind Boys of Alabama, which is all I can remember off the top of my head.]
- Imus also regularly publicized famous black Tennessee pastor Bishop Paterson, whom Imus credits with saving him from drug and alcohol addiction. Every day of Imus' broadcast he would play at least one Paterson excerpt as commercial segues, always praising Paterson's ministry.
- Has led, on his show, in the midst of all his "insults", very effective campaigns to replace toxic, chemical cleaning products with all-natural alternatives, and to get congressional inquiries into the toxic aspects of immunization.
I wonder how many honkies know, and have a favorable impression, of these black folks only due to Imus' advocacy. All this will be lost simply because some people just cannot permit other people to say certain things in public.
Imus' insult humor really does touch absolutely everything, including himself, his family, and the other members of his cast. In a nation composing 12% blacks, I doubt that as much as 12% of his insults go to black folks. He regularly says the worst imaginable things about fans of car racing, golf, hockey, about any white celebrities you can think of. If you haven't heard his almost daily imitation of NYC's Catholic Cardinal, including all-out mockery of the most sacred catholic rituals, leading a prayer, you are really in for something. The performer of this shtick puts a FedEx envelope on his head, and directs each sermon at Imus, regularly calling him all sorts of sexual deviants.
I do find it distasteful for a powerful person like Imus to ridicule people like the armature young women on that basketball team for things that they can't help, though choosing to disgrace your body with tattoos I call on all humans to help make that a source of disparagement. And I find Imus to be racist and sexist in the following way: He employs zero non-honkey males, and doesn't book enough non-honkey males. At least two of his cast members offer nothing of any interest, so there is no reason to believe that they represent the best-possible talent. He should at least replace the personality-less sports guy with somebody other than a honkey boy. He has promised to have a black person join his cast. If Rev. Al has his way and gets Imus fired, what are the chances that the replacement show will get the Rev. Al-endorsed issues publicized and pushed that Imus has, and a black cast member for a morning humor-politics show as Imus has promised?
The only solution I can imagine: people who are incensed by this need to toughen up and increase their toleration.