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Imus, Al Sharpton & Double Standards

The Imus stuff cracks me up. The fact that this guy has made it this far and has a job (notwithstanding his suspension) baffles me. Through all of this, it proves a few things.

First, money makes the world go ’round. Forget politics. Forget WMD’s (or lack thereof). It is cold, hard cash. Think about it. Imus is NOT funny (except looking). He has never done anything cutting edge. He has never done anything that can hold a candle to what Stern does on a daily basis. His show, his views and his clothing are sooooooo very irrelevant to anything and anyone but old bigots.

So how does he stay on the air? Cash. He makes money through advertising for MSNBC. Now that his sponsors are bailing, it is just a matter of time before he is fired. MSNBC has no conscience and did not suspend him because he is a bigot. They did it because his comments are costing them money. If they don’t lose much more money, and if the public outcry subsides, believe me, they will let him back on the air. But, whatever decision they make will be based upon money and not any proper pointing of their moral compass.

The second thing this shows me is that Al Sharpton is hysterical. Could be the funniest man on the planet. He needs to have his own TV show immediately. Immediately. I could listen to him (and Jesse Jackson) debate Imus and comment on this all day. Seriously. If I won the lottery, I would seriously consider contacting Sharpton and pay him to talk all day about Imus, race issues and how world problems should be solved. How has our government not put him in a think tank yet?!?!

Al Sharpton’s humor leads me to the third thing I learned from all this: double standards exist throughout every walk of life. Everyone is guilty of applying them, and anyone who claims they don’t is lying.  I have always known this, but it takes moments like these to remind me. The Imus situation is even more blatant.

Think about it. How can Sharpton honestly sit there with a straight face and debate Imus about his comments, without also debating every rapper/musician/movie producer/actor/activist/politician who makes racially insensitive comments? Racial slurs are bad no matter who uses them. The “N” word and all its connotations is not made OK depending upon who says it. I’ve heard the term “nappy-headed ho” hundreds of times in music lyrics, comedy sketches, TV shows and movies without any protests from Al Sharpton (or anyone else).

The simple truth of the matter is that through the media and pop culture, terms like “nappy-headed ho” are commonplace. Very common. Consequently, the terms have become acceptable means of expression. Often the users don’t use the terms with any actual malice or ill will. They do it to fit in because they’ve heard the terms on the radio, in movies, on TV or in conversations. This is bad. Very bad. No one should be called a “nappy headed ho” and the “N” word should never be used anyone again. “Anyone” means anyone. It shouldn’t matter if you are black, white, red, brown or purple. Acceptance of one group using the terms as opposed to others simply perpetuates the inequities and divisions that people like Al Sharpton claim to fight against.

Al Sharpton did nothing productive (except give Imus grief, of course) in confronting Imus. If anything, he is promoting more division by utilizing a double standard that goes unchecked everyday.

April 11, 2007 Posted by | Howard Stern, Politics, Race Relations, Racism, Rutgers Basketball | Leave a comment