Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Still Exhaling...Part 4

Equal Opportunity Indignation

The recent fury and outrage concerning radio shock jock, Don Imus is just another signal that the issue of race in America is a continuing work in progress. His remark about members of the Rutgar's Women basketbal team as "tatooed..Nappy headed hos," is another notch in his long winded career of equal opportunity indignation. Meanwhile,the nation's progress to healing is constantly being hindered by those who make offensive statements, later regretting them with the proverbial, "I'm sorry." Ultimately, I keep asking, when will these individuals learn that this type of derogatory, inflamming, deameaning and thoughtless candor is simply unacceptable in today's society. Especially when directed toward determined youth dealing with a daily barrage of negative images and soundbites in our 24/7 world. This outrage is not just for the Imus situation, but rather unilaterally, involving a calvacade of characters who have found fortune, as well as, fame in promoting insensitivity and shock. This group would include but not exclusively, rapper Busta Ryhmes, B-baller Tim Hardaway, and minstrel show comic, Charles Knipp as Shirley Q. Liquor. Everyone is got a reasonable "explanation" for their shitck or position, cloaking themselves in the name of humor or growing pains. Imus stated on the Syndicated Al Sharpton show that,"we were trying to be funny..."
All my life, I've been faced with verbage and assaulting language which caused pain and internal torment. Usually, I tried to act as if I wasnt' hurt by retreating to the obscurity of the corner of my bedroom, while reading books describing far off places and mysterious cultures. I didn't know the appropriate responses or why folks used "words" to deflate people. However, their mission to stymie a person's self esteem was a target that was rarely missed and unlike today's round robin of apologies, most were not forthcoming to me. Yet, I'm proud to say that I've weathered those earlier storms, finding a staunch voice within myself supported by a sense of self worth that is now ready for any dog fight. I'm no stranger to accusations, character assassinations, misrepresentations and down right lies that litter my past or future. I remember the first time I was called, "nigger,' or the "faggot,' combination to add further hate to the insult. Somehow, I've survived to now champion free speech but I want to add my disgust to the chorus who believe that "the apology tours," slapping on the wrist suspensions or any other rambling mea culpas are indications that the "race"element is still the 1,000 pound elephant in the room that we refuse to see. Celebrated journalist Gwen Ifill, who has been victimized by past Imus shots, in which his show called her a "cleaning lady," wrote in an (4/10/07) New York Times Op Ed piece: " ...So here’s what this voice has to say for people who cannot grasp the notion of picking on people their own size: This country will only flourish once we consistently learn to applaud and encourage the young people who have to work harder just to achieve balance on the unequal playing field.
Let’s see if we can manage to build them up and reward them, rather than opting for the cheapest, easiest, most despicable shots." Thank you, Ms.Ifill...no one could have said it better.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Once again a beautiful combination of racism and sexism intertwined to target black women. Honestly, I think the perpetrators of these offenses are often more shocked that anyone actually cared than anything else. With the economic, physical, sexual, and spiritual violence against women of color and queers that occurs on daily basis it always feels a little random that the media chooses these small manifestations of violence to focus on.

I read lots of stories about Ann Coulter calling John Edwards a ‘faggot’ but not one of them mentioned the alarming rate of suicide and homeless amongst queer youth. It’d be nice to see the media develop a greater analysis of the circle of oppression and violence that simultaneously creates these comments and is perpetuated by them.