Clearing the airwaves

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Fifty years ago, nine black students in Little Rock, Ark., wanted simply to attend the high school of their choice. They suffered insult and injury in the process, but handled it with the utmost dignity.

Fifty years later, 10 members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team, eight of whom are black, not only entered the school of their choice, but took the school to the NCAA national championship game.

We've come a long way.

But amazingly, these student athletes, too, have suffered injury and insult, from shock-talk radio jock Don Imus.

And they, too, have handled it with dignity and maturity beyond their years.

The young women met the nation Tuesday, standing on the national stage and fielding all manner of questions about Imus and his despicable comments that they were tattoo-wearing "nappy-headed hos."

Now, in many ways, the nation is depending on these young ladies to help us make sense of all this - and perhaps after they meet Imus soon in a private setting, they will.

Will they accept his apology? And even if they do, should he keep his job after his two-week suspension?

More importantly, where will this discussion lead the nation?

In several directions, we hope.

First, we need to reassess our penchant for rewarding entertainment that is nothing more than hit-job insults. The Rutgers team is not Imus' first victim. Naked incivility and hatefulness, which Imus specializes in, isn't funny - and, as we've seen with the Rutgers women, there are real people on the other end.

If people like Imus need to be fired, it's ultimately the listeners who will have to do it.

Second, Imus' remarks smacked of both racism and sexism - but mostly sexism. Such disparaging terms, after all, are used about women in the black community as well. Where and when did it become acceptable to refer to all women as a slang term for prostitutes?

Answer: In a culture that falls far short of honoring women as the good book commands.

"They are the antithesis of the vulgar portrayal that Imus made," Rutgers Athletic Director Bob Mulcahy said of his team.

Indeed, so are almost all women.

Imus' remarks are, Mulcahy said, a "stunning reminder" of the consequences of hurtful comments.

Rutgers President Richard McCormick lamented Imus' "disregard for the dignity of human beings ..."

That's what this is really about. Our God-given responsibility to honor each other.

Neither racism nor sexism has a place in this society, as McCormick said Tuesday. Especially so far removed from Little Rock.

It isn't as important what happens to Don Imus as what happens to his persona, and others like it. Whatever happens to Don Imus, his schtick has to go. This meanness as entertainment, this racist and sexist insults for laughs, this incivility for hire, it's got to go.

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justus4
111
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justus4 04/10/07 - 11:18 pm
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I like Imus. He should not be
Unpublished

I like Imus. He should not be fired. He is only a sympton of the problem. America is a racist nation based on evidence of the past. He was being funny and I believe he IS funny. Whats not is: WHY can't the nation apologize for the institution of slavery? How can folk constantly be asked to atone for sins, when the biggest sin of all will not even be addressed? Total hypocrisy! Where are blacks on cable shows? No where..NONE. Talk shows. NONE! Why? Its the same 'ol tired song...This has continued long enough (250 yrs) blacks must find a way to upset this happy median of only white men/women on TV and radio.

bone
23
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bone 04/11/07 - 04:25 am
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dwise99, the nation cannot

dwise99, the nation cannot apologize for slavery because that would be admitting guilt. the litigation that could result from such an admission would bankrupt our country. i (and every other white person in the U.S.) am sorry a black person is still in this country against his or her will. i don't know what else i can do & i don't expect our government to be responsible for assuaging your feelings or those of your deceased ancestors. if you feel like things would be better for you in your native country, go ahead and move back; if you feel that America is a land of opportunity and you wish to remain here & lead a productive life, then you'll join the vast majority of people and stop participating in the rabble-rousing, race-separating tactics of the NAACP, Sharpton, and Jackson.
as far as imus goes, he should be fired if the owners of his station feel that his presence on the radio will reduce sponsorship. if he has money to run his own radio station, he can say whatever he wants & not have to answer to anyone. as it is, though, imus is under the same freedom of speech limitations as the rest of us: say what you want, but be prepared to face the consequences if you offend.

daddy mention
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daddy mention 04/11/07 - 05:46 am
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dwise99,bone, both great

dwise99,bone, both great comments but what about the retribution established for the world war I and world war II, recognizing that slavery was th catalyst for americas prosperity. needs to be recognized and apologized for. systemic racism is accepted by the majority for the sake of the dollar. thats all thats really going on.

constitutionnow
0
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constitutionnow 04/11/07 - 07:10 am
0
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Hey daddy, my family

Hey daddy, my family immigrated here from Ireland in the early 1800s and suffered through well documented indentured servitude and discrimination as well. We also contributed in a large way to the establishment of the United States railway from coast to coast. Therefore, by your prosperity standard, can I get paid too??? I'll wait with breathless anticipation for my check. By the way, I think Imus should definitely be fired. But I also think that all the rappers who write and sing lyrics about crackers ho's and other things of that sort should also be tossed off of the airwaves with him. Please don't be a hypocrite!

ohhsweetconcord
3
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ohhsweetconcord 04/11/07 - 07:17 am
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Daddy, you are so incredibly

Daddy, you are so incredibly far from the truth. Slavery rarely make s economic sense as it artificially depresses the "wages" of laborers. In fact, the existance of slavery was one of the main reasons for the South's poor economy. The depressed costs for laborer made the South an agricultural society when it should have transitioned to industry like the North. Industrial societies are always more successful than agricultural ones. Ending slavery and quelling racism actually allowed the South to substantially raise its economic standards. Capitalist, industrial countries (or countries that love the dollar) were perdominantly the ones who ended slavery first. 19th century capitalist Britain and New England were very wealthy areas and were also some of the first areas to end slavery. Money or capitalism also leads to decreased racism rather than stimulate it. Money is only of one color: green. In capitalism, the most efficient and sucessful businesses are those that hire based on ability rather than appearance. Contrary to what most people are led to believe, racism only ended because capitalism created little economic incentive to discriminate.

ohhsweetconcord
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ohhsweetconcord 04/11/07 - 07:35 am
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And in response to the

And in response to the Chronicle, stop, seriously. We all know that you want to spread racial harmoney but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to pander to every Al Sharpton cause. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. Imus is simply a shock jock, not some important governmental figure or business leader. HE IS A SHOCK JOCK, therefore it is his job to, well, shock. Why is this even news? There are hundreds of shock jocks on the radio that say far more worse than anything Imus has said. But that's what people want to hear. Many people are entertained because they're shocked by racist, sexist, or any other form of humor. Though I don't actually think Imus is funny, I realize that he was simply trying entertain his listeners by making surprising statements. And why are we shoveling so much praise on these Rutger girls. Do they really need to hold a press conference everytime some insensitive prick insults them? That doesn't sound very "mature or dignified" to me. The mature thing to do would be to not even recognize the event and treat the situation as it actually is: not a big deal.

gagirl40
142
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gagirl40 04/11/07 - 09:07 am
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ohh...the reason the girls

ohh...the reason the girls held a press conference was because they were being hounded by the media. Each one, individually, was being bombarded with phone calls and e-mails. Had you listened to the press conference you would have heard this. Their comments and responses at the press conference were very "mature and dignified" as they didn't rant or rave about what Imus said, but spoke of how it's wrong to criticize someone over the national airwaves whom you don't even know and who hasn't done a thing to deserve such condemnation. And one press conference is not "hold(ing) a press conference every time some insensitive prick insults them". They were the subject of Imus' remarks that are consuming the media at this moment, they had no other choice than to respond. And they did, with grace and dignity. I applaud them! And about Imus' remarks, the worst part of it wasn't even played over and over again. He also commented on how cute the Tennessee team members were compared to the "jigaboos and wannabes" on the Rutgers team. Would he have said this about the men's team? Should he be fired? Well, let's just say the advertisers will make that decision. I think they'll make the right one.

dashiel
176
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dashiel 04/11/07 - 12:03 pm
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Imus is a very original and

Imus is a very original and funny man. He has never pretended to be anybody's spiritual leader. He's a gadfly! I suspect that Rev. Sharpton bears a grudge and has been waiting for an opportunity like this. I am almost as caught up on fake "dignity" as I am on endless basketball. Have a blessed day.

SnidleyWhiplash
2
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SnidleyWhiplash 04/11/07 - 12:33 pm
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First of all, the "wannabes"

First of all, the "wannabes" comment was a reference to the Spike Lee movie "Jungle Fever" if I'm not mistaken. So that part is a non-issue. Please listen to the sound clip before making comments.

Secondly, Imus *isn't* a shock jock - he's simply a talk-show host, and not even a particularly good one in my opinion.

I think the Rutgers women have handled all of this with dignity and grace.

Imus shouldn't be fired for what he said, he should be fired because he sucks.

concernednative
28
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concernednative 04/11/07 - 12:51 pm
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Each time an issue like this

Each time an issue like this comes up is shows how prevelant racism is. The bottom line is slavery led to more than a century of discrimination that left blacks with less opportunity due to deficiencies in education along with business opportunities among other things. This process is a work in progress to get it fixed. However, it left black disadvantaged and fustrated which is reflected today. However, blacks do have to press forward. But keep in mind that many of you in your 40's and 50's in the South went to superior schools and had better opportunities(civil rights era). So don't pretend it is so long ago and not relevant today. My generation (I am 32 yrs old) is the 1st to legally have a fair shot. But many of our parents went to inferior schools and did not have the means to pay for our education and help us start businesses etc. So it will take time to close the gap but we need to be accountable and work hard. However, Irish and other immigrants don't have the same plight because discrimination is typically based on appearance.

daddy mention
0
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daddy mention 04/11/07 - 02:38 pm
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to all who disagree on

to all who disagree on prosperity therum lets look at this slavery =infinite equity in a business venture (working capital with no strings for 200 plus years) no roi to pay to an investor) you bet your bottom dollar the business would succeed) but the moment that investor ask for compounded return the investors told it was a gift. thanks chew on that

ohhsweetconcord
3
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ohhsweetconcord 04/11/07 - 02:57 pm
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Gagirl40: Oh please, did you

Gagirl40: Oh please, did you even watch the conference? It was rife with victimization over a a VERY trivial issue. Did you see their faces? It looked like their entire families were just killed. Why do you think it was necessary for the team to defend themselves from some stupid comment by a old man on the radio. We should respect these girls for winning a National Championship and not for some silly press conference in response to some jerk with a microphone.
Doruks: Imus was a shock jock at one point in his career and still often "shocks" his listeners.

THESOUTHLOST
0
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THESOUTHLOST 04/11/07 - 03:04 pm
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did you hear about the female

did you hear about the female basketball team that was full of trailer trash, sleeping with their own brothers, hair that smells like wet dogs,females? by the way there were 2 black players on the team, so it could not be a racist comment. right?

_kpc_
22
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_kpc_ 04/11/07 - 03:27 pm
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thesouthlost....you are

thesouthlost....you are correct. That was not a racist comment.

bone
23
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bone 04/11/07 - 07:55 pm
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gagirl, i agree with one

gagirl, i agree with one thing in your post: the advertisers will be the ones to determine whether or not imus survives. but you're off base on everything else. grace and dignity? i think i'd settle for barely intelligent rather than the crap these "victims" spewed.

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