IMUS MUST GO. Lest calls for the ouster of Don Imus from his daily radio show/cable TV simulcast become the sole purview of the men of the civil rights movement, I hereby step on my feminist soap box to say that the guy's gotta go. While it's generally agreed all 'round that, with their racist and sexist connotation, Imus's remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team were beyond all limits of acceptability, little attention has been given to the sexual nature of the comments.
When sexist men see women assert themselves, whether in opinion journalism -- as noted here by Sister Garance -- or, apparently, athletics, the tendency of men so threatened by assertive women is to sexualize their disparagement of such women. It's really a verbal sexual assault. Throw race into the mix, and you've got something even more despicable going on. When a white man sexualizes his verbal assault on a black woman, he's summoning the very worst of our nation's history -- the most egregious and largely undiscussed aspect of plantation slavery, the sexual abuse of slaves by white masters and overseers.
Over the last 24 hours, I've heard all manner of stupidity in the responses of media types to this problem. MSNBC was first with a two-week suspension of their simulcast -- but not starting until next week! Not to be outdone, CBS decided to suspend the radio broadcast that MSNBC televises for the same two-week period. What is this -- high school? Then Armstrong Williams, on MSNBC's Scarborough Country last night, said the market should decide Imus's fate. In other words, if he keeps his audience, he gets to keep his show. Anything less, said Williams would impede Imus's freedom of speech. I don't know about you, but if on my day job I call someone a nappy-headed 'ho', I think my boss has the right to fire me without abridging my constitutional rights. Thank goodness Brother Paul Waldman was on hand to bring some sanity to the discussion.
--Adele M. Stan