For those of you who think Don Imus got a bad rap, and you know who you are, how do you defend this Maya Angelou poem parody a producer on his show read last month?
“Whitey plucked you from the jungle; for too many years took away your pride, your dignity and your spears.”
My guess is you can’t and you don’t because just like most of Mr. Imus’ “comedy” it ‘s about cruelty rather than wit or insight. In fact, I would argue that it’s even more offensive than the now infamous “nappy headed ho’s” remark which ultimately lost him both of his high profile, high paying jobs. Yet it was usually simply shrugged off or excused as the madcap antics of one of our beloved American shock jocks.
Am I glad Mr. Imus has been fired? More relieved then glad. I want to believe those in the media who have said that this incident has given the country an opportunity to explore our still very real and very deep racial divisions in this country but then I think about how the same things were said after Hurricane Katrina and the Michael Richards outburst but people moved on sooner rather than later after those too.
I also roll my eyes at the notion that the black community’s loudest voice on these issues is Rev. Al Sharpton, a man who for about 20 years has demonstrated an amazing talent for self-promotion and little or nothing else. His role is a true national leader is highly suspect and his record as a public figure is incredibly dubious and checkered.
As reprehensible as Imus’ behavior has been, I don’t think he can hold a candle to Rush Limbaugh’s radio rants in a competition for who spews the most purely hostile bile. And programs like Vh1’s “Flavor of Love” have arguably contributed far more to the degradation of Black Americans than anything Mr. Imus has said. As far as I’m concerned the work of healing this nation’s racial wounds is far from over and we shouldn’t be looking to men like Rev. Sharpton to do it for us.