Okay. Let's start with this set of observations at Other Magazine:
# The white (male) commentary ranges from “You’re all reverse racists this is free speech fuck you lynching Don Imus Free speech fuck you!” to (sadly, wryly) “Yeah, he shouldn’ta said it, but it’s teh blacks overreacting that gives his comments meaning” (no shit. somebody actually made that argument.)
# Not a single white male in my search has been found to have the imagination to wonder what the Rutger’s women’s basketball team members feel about all this … like maybe are they feeling hurt or insulted. It’s all about Don Imus and what he does and doesn’t deserve. Can it be that this all comes down to a lack of empathy? Talk about identity politics! Look who’s identifying now!...
8. Let me break it down for you again:
* “nappy-headed”: no, whites don’t get to use it. It’s insulting: it’s too familiar, it’s too racist. And no, you don’t get to be arbiter of what teh blacks get to say to each other. Buleeve me, if you bothered to read anything that black people write, you’d already know there’s a long-standing and lively discussion of this issue. Your input is not needed.
* “ho’s”: no, you don’t get to say this about any women, black, white, or ignored. “Ho” is short for “whore”, which is insulting slang for “prostitute” and an insult commonly used to deride women, in the belief that a woman’s chastity is still important. Once again, black rappers may well be using it. Doesn’t mean Don Imus gets to. See above. Plus, who says black rappers get to use it with impunity?
* “jigaboo”: also not okay. No, it’s not from Spike Lee. It’s an old school racist term on par with the “n-word”, only never used as much. There is no universe in which it is not offensive.
* “context”: here’s the context, folks. The Rutgers women’s basketball team was news because they had just lost a championship game. Imus and pal decided it was appropriate to discuss both the Rutgers players’ and their opponents’ looks, because they are womenz. They pronounced the Rutgers team “rough-looking” (i.e. not good looking) and backed it up by saying they had tatoos and were “nappy-headed ho’s” and “jigaboos”. Spot the “ism”! This is racist, sexist, and entirely off topic. There is no way you can tweak this context to make it okay.
9. How long, sweet Jesus, must we sing this song?
(cross-posted at SeeLight
and sure enough, as if to confirm, the VERY FIRST RESPONSE out of the gate:
# Scott Says:
April 12th, 2007 at 9:32 pm
For the love of everything, please take back the internet from whining, thin-skinned hypocrites who like to tear down anyone they feel is beneath them, and police everyone’s language. Free speech is free speech, and granted, there are restrictions on it in certain mediums, but it is NOT your duty to police the world. Yes, I’m white and male. But I’m also dating a black woman. Know what she thinks? She doesn’t care a whit, and thinks everyone is overreacting… a lot. And no, “ho” does not mean whore. This is the ’00s, people, new contexts are given to words all the time. “Ho” would refer to attractive women in ebonics. Look it up. I just wish everyone would mind their own damn business.
So! how many cliches can we spot!
“my ___ is ___ and s/he thinks it’s just dandy”
"i haven't read or will not acknowledge a single point you've made, certainly not about o 'lack of empathy' or 'how do you imagine the women feel' or the whole thing was a completely gratutious and hateful and unprovoked attack by a very public and hence powerful figure on people who'd done nothing wrong in the damn first place, never even mind racist and sexist; it's all about how people should mind their own BUSINESS--just like I'm doing right now"
"free speech! help help i'm/we're/Don Imus is being oppressed!"
“ebonics!” "'ho' is now a compliment among Those People!" bonus points! nope, nothing offensive there!
“you’re all just too sensitive; as opposed to all the people like little ole me who nearly shit a kidney when it’s so much as implied that i or someone i admire might o horrors gasp shock be saying or doing something RACIST. I AM NOT A RACIST! I AM NOT DEFENSIVE!! YOU’RE THE RACISTS! YOU’RE DEFENSIVE, YOU FUCKING FUCK!!1ELEVEN!”
zzzzZZZZZzzzz. -who’s- whining? -who’s- thin-skinned? hey, y’know what, sunshine, “free speech” does not mean “can say anything you damn please with no consequences or even disapproving response whatsoever.” I know that’s a really fucking difficult concept, but TRY to process it. ALL "free speech" means is, you cannot be prosecuted or persecuted by the State for speech, in word, print or (we interpret) any other media. You understand the difference between "government" and "business," don't you? fine upstanding middle-of-the-road American boyo like yourself? Of course you do. Why, it's almost tax time!...
No one’s throwing Imus in jail. No one’s released the hounds. He has a high powered media job (which in fact, no, the First Amendment does -not- guarantee you, even if yer Mom did tell you you’re really, really special); as with any other job, his position there is not unconditional. In this case, his job is to say things that pull in an audience and make his bosses and corporate sponsors money. If he’s losing the audience–and he is–surprise! Bosses worry he’s gonna lose ‘em money; buh bye Imus. Unless you’re prepared to now say that yer agin’ capitalism 101, so sorry: that one won’t play.
p.s. your fly’s unzipped.