The Imus Situation (A long post.)
Everyone is saying this will open a dialogue regarding racial tensions. Then let's open this "dialogue".
Who truly perpetuates racism? Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are two of the most racist folks I know who use their positions of power to incite hatred over any little possible offense. Whoopi Goldberg and, sadly, now Al Roker, also have made this list. These are all prominent figures who take any moment a white person says anything that could be possibly construed as racist, twist it, profiteer from it and then claim some bogus moral victory.
Case in point: Duke Lacrosse. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson led a Salem Witch Hunt campaign against these boys before there was even enough evidence to prove they had any connection to the reported crime. Why? Because the accuser was black and the offenders were white. Had the accuser been white and the offenders black, they would have immediately jumped on the opposite side, claiming the accuser is racist and that the black offenders were being unjustly accused. Had both the accuser and offenders been white, they would have kept their mouths shut. Had both the accuser and offenders been black, they would have kept their mouth shut. And what happened? Turns out the accuser lied, the boys, having been persecuted by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have been completely destroyed by the press and their peers and given a metaphorical "Scarlet Letter" as racists. Have either Jackson or Sharpton apologized? Have either Jackson or Sharpton turned their ire toward the black accuser who got caught lying? No and no.
Bigotry at its best, folks.
It doesn't end there, however.
Where is the outrage at all the hate speech being profited from in black rap and hip hop culture? Nowhere. Yet most of them make a living degrading the black community and women (in general). Snoop Dogg even tried weighing in on the Imus situation saying Imus crossed the line because rappers (and I'm paraphrasing here) talk about women who sit at home and don't make a living as "hos" whereas Imus talked about college women. What? So any woman, of any race, who is a stay at home Mom is, under Snoop's definition, a "ho". Any woman who can't work for whatever reason, of any race, is a "ho" according to Snoop. Give me a freakin break. Disparaging comments are disparaging comments, plain and simple. Whether some woman stays at home and lives off her man or whether some woman goes to college and gets an education should make no nevermind. To call anyone a ho is disparaging, and there's no defense for it.
But it gets better. People in the black community are even trying to blame white America (which, by the way, also includes Asians and Hispanics) for rap culture now. In several posts to Al Roker's blog, folks have posted that rap and hip hop artists make their albums to sell to white America. What? That is the most ludicrous thing I've heard to date. Explain to me, then, why it is none of my white friends listen to rap or hip hop, yet every black friend I have (with exception to one who is hooked on Soul, and good for him) has rap and hip hop stations on radio preset and run out to get the latest rap and hip hop CDs. Explain to me, then, why it is that I go to McDonalds and see black kids working there with mp3 players lip syncing their latest rap album, out loud, in public, while in work uniform, spewing nothing more than hateful speech and getting applauded by their peers. No, rap and hip hop sell to their audience, and their audience is black america.
And this brings me to the granddaddy of hate speech: The infamous N-word. I fail to comprehend how a word with a 300 (or more) year history of being derogatory is suddenly considered a perfectly "ok" term to be used between the folk of the formerly-offending race. Saying that a word is ok for one race to use, but is a cardinal sin for any other race to use is quintessential racism. If these so-called black leaders wanted equality, they would be actively working to remove this word entirely from the English language. It should not be, and in my opinion is not, OK to be shared between one race. I admit, I've listened to rap before, not much, but enough to where I can say without any reservation that the N-word is not only used as a term of endearment but also a derogatory term! Oh how enlightened we've become! When a white person, Asian or Hispanic uses the word in a derogatory fashion, they're drawn and quartered; When a black person uses the word in a derogatory fashion, it's considered "entertainment". This is also a situation which is unique to the black community. I do not see the local Hispanics in my neighborhood running around calling each other "spics". I don't see other Italians running around calling fellow Italians "wops". And I most certainly do not see white folk running around calling other white folk "honkeys" or "crackers". No, this is something that is profiteered by black America to be sold to black America as "entertainment". That fact alone is a racist outrage.
Where is the outrage against the black-on-black racism? The racism a successful black, educated person endures from their fellow blacks? For instance, when Condoleeza Rice is called "white washed" by a black person, where is the public damnation or the national media microscope? I vividly remember watching the HBO special "Bangin' in Little Rock" nearly 15 years ago and watched gang members harass, slander and attack successful black businessmen and women simply because they were successful, but they called them any number of derogatory names saying they were the "white mans dog" or "still a slave". This happens to this day. Why is there no public outcry regarding this? This, to me, is a more egregious form of racism because great leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X sacrificed themselves to fight for equality and justice, but yet if a black person attempts to make a successful life made possible by the sacrifices of these leaders and their followers, they are ridiculed by their own race for doing so!
Lastly, I end on this note. The first, and biggest, step to promoting fairness and equality would be terminating the use of this, and yes, I'll be blunt, bullshit term of "African-American". That term alone is polarizing. You don't see Hispanics walking around saying they're Hispanic-American. I'm not walking around saying I'm Italian-American. You're American. I'm American. Again, civil rights leaders fought long and hard to remove the distinction between "people of color" and "white" people in the 1950s and 1960s, only to have the black community allow itself to self-segregate by appending the word "African-" in front of American.
Yes, America, there are race problems here. Problems which are perpetuated, predominantly, by black America. Problems which are marketed and sold, predominantly, by black America. There is not only a double standard, but a triple one, because a double standard exists in the black community alone. So let's discuss. You want a world that is fair? Stop slandering your own race when they're successful. Stop profiteering off of hate speech. Stop using racist vernacular and saying it's OK because it's only being done within the community.
PS. I'm a true blue liberal, so don't try hiding behind the "you must live in a red state" excuse, either.