Meridian Star

April 12, 2007

April 11, 2007

By Fredie Carmichael

Executive Editor

All this Don Imus stuff has me thinking: what the heck is wrong with us?

First, we the American public salivate over Anna Nicole Smith's death — and subsequent DNA baby's-father-drama (who even cared about Anna Nicole before her death?). Now comes Don Imus, an old fart who made a despicable comment about a women's basketball team. The comment was no doubt offensive, but my question is this: who the heck cares what Don Imus thinks? Are we surprised? He's made statements like this in the past.

I for one would like to see him lose his job due to the market — ie. sponsors dropping from his show or lack of listeners. All this talk about having him fired is only fanning the flame of his popularity. Had this not happened, most of my generation would have never known who he was.

What bothered me the most about the Imus case is the ignorance that came in the aftermath media ratings bonanza. Last night, I heard more than one political commentator on more than one cable network use this comeback: "black people use this language all the time in rap music; why not go after them? Why can they say it and not Imus?"

And, in case you're wondering, most of these commentators were old white men.

Don't you just love it? Bring up a race issue in America and every person out there has to throw rap music into the mix.

Don't think there's a racist element to that weak comeback?

How about this: When Issiah Washington, the Grey's Anatomy star (who is black) made disparaging comments about homosexuals, most people conceded he was being insensitive at best and a hateful person at worst. He ended up entering rehab.

During that media rant, I never once heard anyone blame Eminmen (a white rapper) for his homophobic lyrics, as if to say, "Eminem disparages homosexuals, why can't Washington?"

Even if you don't like my analogy, the bottom line is this: Imus' remarks have absolutely nothing to do with entertainment, or in this case rap music. I fail to see the correlation.

There's a country song called "Redneck Woman" in which Gretchen Wilson sings about the pride of being a "redneck." Now, if the tables were turned and a black person referred to her as a redneck in a derogatory way, I'm sure she would see the difference.

Along those same lines, when someone makes racists statements, it is not OK to play the "well black people use it in their music" or the "black people call themselves that" card. That doesn't make it right and has absolutely nothing to do with the point.

I'd say it's racists to even insinuate that there is a correlation.

This Imus remark, to me, should never have been a huge story. He's a radio host, not an elected official.

I think there are far more important stories.