I’ve watched with growing interest the unfolding of the Don Imus saga and, while I’m no fan of his, feel the uproar highlights a monstrous double standard at the heart of American society. His statements about the Rutgersâ€™ Womenâ€™s basketball team were obviously out of bounds — everybody agrees about that. But should he have been fired?
Hey, I don’t know why people enjoy these shock jocks in the first place. Imus and entertainers of his ilk have built careers out of insulting, name calling, envelope pushing, sexist banter designed to offend someone along the spectrum. What’s worse than that guys like this stay in business, is that there’s an audience to continually tune in and snicker at the filth. Fire him? Go ahead.
My problem is when we don’t equally castigate the gutter culture where these statements continue to fester and find root.
Michelle Malkin, in a National Review Online article entitled Top 40 Depravity, exposes this gutter culture by simply quoting from Billboard Hot Rap Tracks chart. For instance, the current No. 1 rap track is by a new sensation named â€œMims.â€ The song is â€œThis Is Why Iâ€™m Hot.â€ It’s topped the charts for the last 15 weeks. Hereâ€™s a sampling of what’s being pumped into the next generation’s collective head:
This is why Iâ€™m hot, Catch me on the block
Every other day, Another bitch another drop
16 bars, 24 pop
44 songs, nigga gimme what you got . . .
. . . We into big spinners
See my pimping never dragged
Find me witâ€™ different women that you niggas never had
For those who say they know me know Iâ€™m focused on ma cream
Player you come between youâ€™d better focus on the beam
I keep it so mean the way you see me lean
And when I say Iâ€™m hot my nigga dis is what I mean
Man, that’s deep. Isn’t this the type of language people are all up in arms about — degrading, demeaning, racially volatile? Whereâ€™s the sensitivity police when you need them? But as youâ€™ve probably guessed, the Top 40 list is filled with this type of language — references to hos, pimps, gangstas, bootys and blunts.
So why isn’t anybody calling them on it?
Constance L. Rice is a civil rights attorney in Los Angeles. Her commentary, Imus is not Alone, appearing in Wednesday’s L.A. Times, pointed out the discrepancy:
…Imus should only be fired when the black artists who make millions rapping about black bitches and hos lose their record contracts. Black leaders should denounce Imus and boycott him and call for his head only after they do the same for the misogynist artists with whom they have shared stages, magazine covers and award shows.
The truth is, Imus’ remarks mimic those of the original gurus of black female denigration: black men with no class. He is only repeating what he’s heard and being honest about the way many men — of all races — judge women.
In case you’re wondering, Constance L. Rice is not an angry white male. Either way, I concur. But perhaps a line from Billboard’s No. 6 song, â€œRock Your Hipsâ€ by â€œCrime Mobâ€, says it better than anyone:
One dumb radio/television shock jockâ€™s insult is a drop in the ocean of barbaric filth and anti-female hatred on the radio.
Wow! Some rappers I can finally agree with. Imusâ€™ comments are just â€œa drop in the ocean of barbaric filth.â€ We can talk about free speech all we want, but there’s gotta be lines. Yet somehow, we have allowed an entire industry of “barbaric filth” to grow unchecked. How can this language be *bad* when we’re giving Academy Awards to songs like It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp — a song which contains identical phrases to the ones Imus got fired for? Once again, it appears that Americans have two sets of lines. . . only, if you cross mine, it doesn’t bleepin’ matter.