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No Apologies!

 

By Stephane Dunn

 

Imus in the Morning' is not a production of the cable network and is produced by WFAN Radio," said a statement from the network. "As Imus makes clear every day, his views are not those of MSNBC. We regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC and apologize for these offensive comments.

 

What? Are you kidding me? So, let me get this straight. If you’re a Hall of Fame Broadcaster with a rep for saying the ‘politically incorrect’, you can defame the character of a whole group of young women and in effect a whole race of women because you’re protected by the white male racy commentator thing, right?

 

If you’re the big network somehow not in charge, quickly issue a hey-MSNBC-is-sorry-but-we-don’t-directly-own-the-radio personality-or-show declaration. Don Imus gave his regrets so can we be a little shocked and move on already?

Sorry, but I’m just too sorry. I’m sorry that a public radio show under the umbrella of a media powerhouse can cast black women as “rough girls”, “hardcore hos” and “nappy headed hoes” with blissful ease and with no expectation of severe consequence or sustained public censure.

 

I’m sorry that Bernard McKurk, Don Imus, and their racist-sexist construction of the young ladies on the Rutgers’ basketball team are but manifestations of a continuing devaluation of the very humanity and physical distinctiveness of black women.

 

Since Imus is far too lazy to endorse anything but the hype—that the whole of black womanhood is contained in a rap music video, he and Farkus didn’t even think of checking their mouths. Next, they’ll be shaking their heads in feigned ignorance and saying they were merely copying some rappers and thought ‘ho’ was merely the hip way of naming black women.

 

I’m sorry that while Isaiah Washington, Michael Richards, and even Mel Gibson took a justified lashing for their respective homophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic slurs and were forced to deal with the defamed group, Imus and his partner probably won’t be subject to nearly the same level of public condemnation. But forget the requisite fake apology tour, there should be sanctions and jobs hanging in the balance.

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan published his infamous report on the black family and subscribed black family dysfunction to castrating, matriarchal black women. Imus and Farkus follow Moynihan in carrying on a tradition that has existed since before slavery was the law of the land--the privilege to demonize black women as animalistic, unwomanly, unattractive, and unworthy of respect.

 

I don’t even need to intellectualize, historicize, or theorize this too much ‘cause it’s really just this plain. In a week where I attended a rousing rendition of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues as part of the V-Day, end violence against women campaign featuring Ensler and Jane Fonda, twenty-two year old Clara Riddles was shot dead in the CNN Center amid a crowd of onlookers and Don Imus and McGurk affirmed that the bodies and personhood of black women continue to be free texts for verbal violence too.

 

I’m not sorry at all--‘sorry’ isn’t nearly enough.

Stephane Dunn is a writer, professor, and film journalist living in Atlanta, GA, USA. She has published several articles on film, literature, and popular culture and is the author of the forthcoming Baad Bitches and Sassy Supermamas: Race, Gender, & Sexuality in Black Power Action Fantasies (University of Illinois Press 2007).

 

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