Imus in the Morning

As an occasional viewer of MSNBC’s live broadcast of Don Imus’ New York morning drive CBS radio show, I wasn’t surprised that he would refer to the Rutgers girls basketball team as “rough girls with tattoos” and “nappy headed hos”. This is standard fare for the old shock jock that routinely insults women, Jews, blacks, whites, fat people, the President, politicians, his boss at CBS radio, and anyone else who comes to mind. Imus makes hurtful, cutting comments. That’s his stock in trade. It gets him ratings. MSNBC and CBS make a lot of money from the advertisers who sponsor his show.

I used to watch Imus for a few minutes nearly every day while shoveling down a bowl of cereal, but I’ve gotten sick of him; not because of his political incorrectness, but because of his incessant babbling about his wife’s non-toxic cleaning products and his constant complaints about his health. As I’m growing older the last thing I want to see in the morning is a physically deteriorating old white guy clearing his throat and talking about his next doctor’s appointment.

I didn’t see Imus on the day he made his comments, but after watching the tape of his remarks on Youtube, I came to the conclusion that neither the tone nor the words of Imus’ comments were out of the ordinary for the old guy. Of course, seeing a slight spark in the brush, the Vicars of Victimhood, Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton jumped into action, fanning that spark into a media-driven flame that would draw comment far and wide. At a press conference called to condemn Imus, Rutgers Coach Vivian Springer took advantage of free publicity time, spending thirty minutes describing the excellent season her players had enjoyed. Of course, the implication was that the season didn’t matter any more because of five words uttered by some over the hill guy in New York. In a quote that must have made Jesse Jackson’s chest swell with joy, Rutgers junior guard Matee Ajavon said, of Imus’ remarks, “This has scarred me for life.”

Give me a break, Matee. If the ladies of the Rutgers basketball team are as talented, intelligent, gifted, and resilient as your coach insists, and I don’t doubt that this is the case, none of you should have any problem overcoming the remarks of an aging old fart in New York City. Imus insults hundreds of people every year on his radio show. Most ignore his remarks. In the case of the Rutgers basketball team, an apology would have been sufficient. Indeed, Imus made the apology and agreed to meet with the team.

If anyone has it right concerning this whole Rutgers incident it is Jason Whitlock, a columnist with the Kansas City Star. You can view his entire remarks at:

In the April 11, 2007 edition of the Kansas City Star Whitlock writes:

“Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem. In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive? 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?

I ain’t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas. 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.”

Don Imus’ comments were stupid but they weren’t any worse than anything he would normally say on a typical day. In my opinion he didn’t deserve to get canned by MSNBC. Despite MSNBC’s high-minded moral reasons for discontinuing the Imus show, they didn’t step up to the plate until a week after the incident when most of the advertising money dried up. When the money went away, MSNBC got religion.

Imus has made plenty of money. In his youth he abused his body with cocaine and alcohol, leading to many of his current health problems. It might be more physically and spiritually advantageous for him to retire from radio and work with child cancer patients at his ranch in New Mexico. It really doesn’t matter much whether Don Imus stays on the radio or not. What does matter is that black leaders reject the entire concept of “victimization” and start preaching and insisting that their progeny get serious about education and personal responsibility. Opportunities need to be made available for all American young people to succeed, but this means nothing if leaders in the black community continue to legitimize the mindset of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

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