Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mountains & Molehills


I'll tell you in advance that I didn't want to write about what I'm writing about... I wanted to write about something that was a much more important topic to me IME (In my estimation). I wanted to avoid the obvious & overcooked topics that are built about everywhere. Nonetheless, I find myself writing about the very thing that I was trying to avoid...



You know why I didn't want to write about Imus? There are a couple of reasons, but the most relevant is that the furor over the Imus issue is classic BLD (Black Leader Displacement). Black Leader Displacement is the focus on individual acts of racism & bigotry over systemic dysfunctions in American society that reinforce structural racism & discrimination. After BLD, what usually happens is PGBTS (People going back to sleep) because they feel that the strike against an individual represents a strike against the system that creates the condidtions that many of us live in.

Classic example: "Kramer" & his rant against "Niggers". There was a huge uproar, Al & Jesse came out against it, "Kramer" apologized profusely & went into rehab, Jerry Seinfeld gave him a polite spanking, & everyone went back to watching
Flavor Of Love. What actually changed? Not a thing. There's still a disparity in health related issues, We still earn less on the dollar, A large segment of men in our community are still unemployable, etc..

So when this came up, I was meditating that people would see it as it is; A redneck shock jock spewing the garbage that resonates with his listeners. You see lost in the hoopla is the fact that Imus is a mouthpiece for the demographic that he represents: working- to middle class white men who want America back. Talk show hosts don't say things that don't resonate with their listeners.

Early last week, I watched the Imus show on MSNBC to get a feel for the show. It was basically a hour of hyper-masculine white humor. They told a couple of bad jokes about Hilary Clinton, talked about politics with a conservative slant, had some musicians on, & shared a couple of bad gay jokes. At that time, I thought to myself "So this is how politics are transferred". I was actually going to write a blog comparing Imus & Steve Harvey before all of this jumped off. Now with the suspension, MSNBC can show that they are 'Politically Correct', Imus can say that he's served his penalty, Jesse can extort some fortune 500 company for 'sensitivity training', & we can all go back to sleep while 15 year-olds (who read at a 4th grade level) with AK-47s go to war in the streets for a dwindling drug trade. All this is not to say that those sisters don't deserve a apology; they do & are to be commended for their intelligent, well-spoken responses at the press conference. What I'm saying is that as long as we settle for the short win over the long victory, we'll find ourselves back here again.

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