I hate thinking about things like this because I go through life patently refusing to acknowledge racism. It's not that I don't think racism exists... but I firmly believe there is no such thing as "race". To describe someone simply by the color of their skin, which is such an arbitrary thing, especially if you're an American of African descent, just makes no sense. It boggles my mind that despite all the various hues of skin and mixed parentage that we Americans posses in our country, the fact that we still identify as "black" or "white" is completely illogical.
So when things like this come up, it sort of forces me to confront the fact that I'm one of a handful of people that I know, who apparently doesn't think like everyone else as far as "race" is concerned.
Now the comment that Imus made regarding the Rutgers team was really, really unfortunate. What makes it worse, is that as a derogatory term for women of color, it's not even the latest term. Which I believe is "chickenhead" (scroll down to #6). Snoop Dogg warned "White" people that they really shouldn't try to talk slang or do the "Fo Schizzle" thing cuz they always got it wrong. This, I think, is a prime example. So it kinda sucks for Imus that he's being slammed and he didn't even get the term right. The funny thing is, I wonder if he would have gotten into as much trouble if had???? How many people outside the hood know what a chickenhead is yet? Hey, I only found out recently, and I'm on -25 on a regular.
But whatever. The next thing that bothers me is the fact that Reverend Al got up on the Today show this morning with Imus (who was just fabulously defiant, if you ask me) and had the audacity to slam him to his face, after slamming him on his radio show the previous weekend. Generally, I like Reverend Al. He's a fighter. He unapologetically fights for whatever he believes in at the moment, and he never, ever goes away. I respect that in a person, even if I don't like what they're fighting about. (Well, maybe unless they are crazy and illogical...then it's kind of a pain in the ass.) But Reverend Al basically said he wants Imus' head on a platter because he wants to finally do away with the language of racism. To which Imus defiantly replied that the term he used didn't even start in the "White" community, it started in the "Black" community.
OK. Personally I thought Imus had a very good point. I have been *extremely* disturbed by the blatant and frequent use of the word "Nigga" in the black community. I don't care how you spell it, don't care in what context it's said... I find the word offensive because at its root, it was used to debase the African portion of my ancestors. And I hear the word ALL the time... even among these poser-wanna-be-hood Italian and Irish kids out here on The Rock. And down on -25 one day, I heard the following conversation by two brothers walking down the street:
"Yo, that nigga did (something-don't remember)"
"Which nigga, the fat nigga?"
"No, the Spanish nigga"
"OH! YO! THAT nigga!?"
I got into a discussion about the word nigga fairly recently, and I was saying that I totally support the symbolic "Ban the N-Word" resolution that got passed here in the city. Because we *really* need to stop using that word. I once saw two kids on the subway talking; every other word was "nigga" and the elderly brown-skinned woman standing next to them literally cringed every time they said it. My friends were saying that overuse of the word had taken the sting out of it... but I really don't think so. Because at some point, some white guy saying that word to a black guy is going to get into some serious hot water. And yet, the record industry pushes out these albums by these one-hit wonders spiced with that word and nobody says a thing.
I told my Sun that I know he’ll grow up and curse; much as I’d prefer that he learn to be loquacious and have an extended vocabulary, I *know* he’ll curse cuz we curse in my family. We try not to but it’s in the blood. But I told him I will NOT tolerate the N-word. I told him why it bothered me so, and what the history of the word was and I told him that if I *ever* hear him say it, I will jack him up in a heartbeat, in front of all his friends.
So... to get back to Sharpton, instead of him going after Imus, why doesn't he also--if he really means it--go after those record labels? You know, how 'bout slamming Jay-Z???? And Al: Didn't you say that when James Brown died you'd stop putting the relaxer in your hair???
I feel kinda bad for Imus. When I first came back to this country in '77, Imus was the DJ on "66--W NNNNNNN BC!" and he'd do this bit about the The Reverend Billy Sol Hargus and play the song “I don’t care if it rains or freezes, long as I have my plastic Jesus riding on the dashboard of my car”. I had just come up from sunny Jamaica and didn’t have any friends yet, it was cold as shit to a little girl used to a constant 70 degrees. We had no electricity and no heat most of the time, and I’d spend hours listening to the radio, and especially to Imus cuz he always made me laugh. He made me laugh again this morning too, cuz he “accidentally” called Reverend Al “Reverend Hargus” and nobody caught it. I like that in a person. :-D
But I don’t condone what he said at all. It was WAY out of line, WAY over the top and wasn’t even remotely appropriate. And it points to a much deeper issue—the way brown-skinned Americans are perceived… and that issue isn’t going to go away any time soon.