Wednesday, April 18, 2007
"Nappy headed ho's!" H-m-m-m let me think, do I know any white women to whom the term “nappy-headed” has been applied other than in derogatory comparison to the hair of black women? Nope, can’t say as I do. Neither has anyone else if they’re honest. I don't care what anyone says, Imus was referring directly to the black women on that basketball court. And while I appreciate NOW's standing up for women, will there ever be a time when any one, other than some black people, ever stand up and just say, "Stop treating black people the way you do, it is wrong!"? Why must it always be attached to some other issue? I have to say that Mr. Imus's work with young, inner city black children at his ranch and the charitable work with sickle cell anemia notwithstanding, he IS a racist! Going on an “apology tour” will never change that fact. The fact that he IS doing so much with young black kids is most troubling to me considering the comments he and his producer spewed. He has free reign to contort the psyches of all those little black girls with whom he and his wife interact constantly. He and his money can mold their self-image in ways that will affect them for the rest of their lives. It’s really sad and shameful the number of “For Sale” signs I increasingly see posted on black souls in this country these days. Though I’m certain it’s purely coincidental, his name, I – M – US, seems a jarring representation of the people who stand in solidarity with him. He IS them and they have no real intention of working to bridge the major divide between blacks and whites that still exists in this country. To use his platforms for that very noble goal would be too much like the right thing to do. Instead, Imus and those of his ilk grow more and more emboldened, using nationally syndicated airwaves, financed by advertisers whose products we all purchase, to repeatedly disparage blacks – and then apologize. The amount of support he's gotten, both white and black (troubling, but understanding), because he's such a "good guy" exposes the ongoing, deep-seated racism that persists in this country. No one wants to admit the very, fine line between prejudice and racism in this country. While neither is good, racism is definitely the more dangerous of the two because its feeling of inherent superiority is bolstered by the POWER TO MATERIALLY EFFECT lives and livelihoods based SOLELY on the color of skin. I’ve not met many whites courageous enough to admit that difference. Probably because doing so would mean owning a long-standing history of hatred, violence, ugliness, greed and contempt upon which the lives of many white Americans have been built. To blame what he said on what he’s heard in Spike Lee movies and rap lyrics is beyond absurd, though I fully expected it. The art of distraction and blaming the victim have both been perfected by people like Don Imus. As long as we buy into it, it will always work. And many of us have bought into it lock, stock and barrel. Continually bring up rappers is a conscious diversion not only from the Imus comments, but more importantly from the issue of race in America. In Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun, Lena, the matriarch of the Younger family buys a home with her late husband's insurance money in an all-white neighborhood - a dream long-deferred. Their racist, future neighbors hire Karl Lindner as a "welcoming committee" to try to buy them out to prevent the neighborhood from being integrated. After his buy-out attempts fail, his last-ditch effort to deter the Youngers was delivered with this very telling line, “You can’t force people to change their hearts.” He was right. Many whites in America may never own their heinous behavior toward blacks in this country. Looking in that mirror means having to face the kind of people they really are and have always been. All I can say is, apologies are really easy but it’s not what you say it’s what you do. It appears that we will continue to deal with the distractions that protect the men/women in the mirror. I don’t expect in my lifetime, to see the majority of them changing their hearts or owning how they and their ancestors through violence, degradation and disrespect have contributed to the Post-Traumatic-Slavery Disorder under which many blacks still live their lives.