Tuesday, April 10, 2007

White Men Can’t Jump – Too Far

This Imus controversy may be a moment for the nation to talk about race, but only up to a point. Because this isn’t about race. It may, in fact, be about how much we want to limit speech in search of civility.

It definitely isn’t about harming innocent 18- and 19-year old women.

This is about agendas. The Imus agenda is being able to continue what he has been doing better than almost anyone else for 35 years even though he is wealthy enough to retire and buy his own radio outlet. The victim community’s agenda is taking down a white man for the stupid phrase “nappy headed ho’” when it has no racial denotation per se, ignoring that “ho’” is a black invention.

The Sharpton agenda is Sharpton, nothing else. (My agenda is pointing out to those who don’t remember that this man is an exploitative, racist, anti-Semitic slug who poured lie upon lie in defense of the monstrous Tawana Brawley, instigated a riot that cost the life of a Jewish tourist and refused to pay a civil judgment for libeling a policeman as a rapist. He now pays cash for everything so the courts can’t attach any bank account.)

The advertisers’ agenda is getting the premium audience Imus delivers. The NBC and CBS agendas are making money.

Do you really think that the word ‘ho’ in this day and age is going to damage the most physically and emotionally strong women in America, those who play Division I basketball to the point she cannot cope? Is this language even close to other stuff he said that people laugh at? Do black comedians and athletes use white people as foils? Is Imus even 10 percent as obnoxious as the right wing radio racists? Is he even 5 percent as obnoxious as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?

I watched the Rutgers women’s press conference, and I am sure the rest of the nation was teary-eyed at the pluck this coach and her players demonstrated. I looked some stuff up of interest.

The team’s freshman GPA was 3.0, which is supposed to demonstrate that these women are not there just for their basketball ability. But freshmen usually get good GPAs their first semester. What will it be after four years? What will it be after six years, which is what the NCAA uses as metric for determining graduation rates? The last time this was measured, Rutgers women had a 73 percent graduation rate. The average for the entire top tier of teams was 82 percent.

When they sign up to play at the highest level, and give interviews and personal information for puff pieces, they can no longer claim protection from slings and arrows – though the Imus remark was uncalled for.

This inspirational coach, Vivian Stringer, is such as fine woman that at the beginning of the season when the team had two wins and four losses, she called them the “worst ever” and locked them out of the locker room, taking away their athletic gear and uniforms for a month. This is a woman whose star player boasted before the championship game:
She can call you every possible name, insult you so much. But, it’s only to make you stronger, prepare you for what others might say or what you might go through in life.
Good, another name-calling coach. This Scarlet Knight is more like Bobby Knight!

And here is a quote about one teammate by freshman Epiphanny Prince, apparently one of the smarter players on the team. “Us freshmen, we call her ‘mom.’ Hearing this from her should make we all confident that she will get an A in English.

The Rutgers team, coach and school administration have decided to let inane comments from an over-the-hill shock jock make them victims. And with Sharpton inciting from the sidelines, this whole thing is an opportunity for the politically correct to crawl out from under their rocks and use Imus to shut everyone else up whom they disagree with.

The only problem Imus has is that for the past week, there was no real news and that of all his provocative remarks, this one was not funny.

I made my choice, which is not to listen to his program, not patronize his advertisers and look askance at any politician who appears on his show.

Now, Imus needs to shut up, as do his attackers, lest they stir up a backlash they do not want to deal with – like the one that Sharpton created that resulted in the election of Republican Rudy Giuliani as mayor of New York. It looks as if Sharpton wants to elevate Guiliani to an even higher level. And that, of course, will help race relations.

Right, Yankel Rosenbaum?

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