Imus is a sympton, what is the problem? - 4.10.2007.2
What a day. There has been a lot of discussion on Mr. Don Imus and his comments against the women’s basketball team for Rutgers University. I’ve written a bit about it as well. I’ve also had, and continue to have several conversations on this with men and women, Whites, Hispanic/Latinos, and African Americans of ages from mid-twenties to the mid-forties. While there is no one that supports Mr. Imus, that I have been in touch with, there are differences in what should be done.
Every woman I have spoken too has been amazed that Mr. Imus would make such a statement. Each has been shocked and outraged by his words. To say that they took his words as offensive is to say the least. Every one of them has been absolute in their decision to see him fired.
As for the men, there are different takes on what the outcome should be. I’ve seen a guy bowled over by the comments, just stunned. I’ve seen a young man that felt it should be shrugged off. I’ve discussed this with a man that felt resignation or firing would be too harsh a punishment. And there have been calls for him to be gone.
So I have absorbed it all. And I have been challenged to explain why I felt the need for Mr. Imus to be fired. I want to share part of my reasoning, because the fact is this goes far deeper to the national psyche than anyone seems to be addressing right now.
Mr. Imus attacked innocent women that never gave a reason for this attack. They did not deserve or engender any reason for it. I doubt that any woman could. But I will give the point that were this a public figure, a politician or comedian or some such, then perhaps there could have been some sliver of humor. Had this been a response to an attack against Mr. Imus, then perhaps there could be some understanding of his words. In either of those cases perhaps there could be room for him keeping his job after an apology. But that is not the case.
I commented yesterday that I felt the decision to suspend Mr. Imus was a vacation being forced on him. I still stand by that thought. My fear was that this was something the corporations behind his radio station wanted to just wait out the storm and go back to business as usual. The fact that the suspension would not take place for a week was puzzling and seemingly confirmation of this. I have heard that the reason for the delay is due to fundraising for charities this week by Mr. Imus. I cannot confirm that right now, though it could explain why the controversy was created, though not excuse it. Obviously NBC and CBS have been evaluating the situation and seeing how the sponsors react, because that is the defining factor for them, money. Were there any other reasons that the corporations cared about action would have been immediate and far sterner.
But the pressure has run up quickly. Mr. Al Roker, who works at NBC, has called for dismissal, along with many others. I have heard that 3 sponsors have left his show, most notably Staples, but again I cannot confirm this. There has been a small protest at CBS corporate offices, and coverage in most news media (except the local Binghamton newspaper). At least one interviewee has canceled so far.
continued at my Black Entertainment USA site ...