Thursday, April 12, 2007

on imus and the amazing race

During this week's episode of The Amazing Race: All-Stars, Dustin and Kandice chose to yield Eric and Danielle. Eric repeatedly referred to D&K as hookers throughout the rest of the episode. He called them hookers to the camera, to Danielle, and he called them hookers as he recounted the tale to other teams. I find it rather timely that this episode aired in the midst of the Imus brouhaha over his "nappy headed hos" comment. I do not condone the remarks Imus made, but I hear a clear distinction between the joking delivery of Imus and the hate-filled voice of Eric. Eric's comments hit my gut and made me nauseous, while Imus's merely made me cringe a little. Imus made an error in comedy in passing; Eric intended to defame.

I do believe the Imus controversy is a little out of hand. When the story first broke, NPR began each segment with a warning that there was graphic language that could offend listeners. This morning during the top of the hour news recap, the line "nappy headed hos" was thrown in mid-sentence without warning. We all know what Imus said; we've already become desensitized to the words and continue to argue whether intent of comedy makes a difference.

Jason Whitlock, the most honest sportswriter, tackled the issue of Imus yesterday. Here's how the column ends:

I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.

No. We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.

The whole column is here

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