Why Ishmael Reed is my hero

Thanks to Br. Cedric Muhammad's always excellent BlackElectorate.com for this link to a Reed article on the hypocrisy of the corporate media establishment, the faux-feminist matriarchy and the anti-hip hop forces in wake of the firing of openly, repeatedly racist-speaking broadcaster Don Imus. And I, like many others, am disgusted by the way that the Euro-American libservatives have used the firing of Imus to launch yet another attack (perhaps the most vicious ever) against two of the leading figures in the ongoing movement for social justice in the US: Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Reed writes: "
The other talking point set forth by Imus was that his smearing of the Rutgers team was his first offense and an apology to the Rutgers should have been enough.

"On March 14th, this line was parroted by Tom Foreman after yet another ignorant CNN rant about Hip Hop. Foreman complained that Imus was being punished for 'a few ill chosen words'--thus obscuring the fact that Imus’ firing was a culmination of KKK-type comments about Jews, blacks, Muslims and gays that extend backwards across many years. The Rutgers slur was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Though Imus’ defenders claim that he is an 'equal opportunity abuser,' his ridicule of Gays, Lesbians, and blacks, especially black men was a daily feature of his program. Yet, gays and lesbians, whose organizations have been complaining about Imus for years, weren’t invited to participate in the 'National Dialogue,' because the networks and cable channels have found that they can make more money by promoting the 'racial divide.'

"Don Imus’ acolytes, like the former NYPD cop Bo Dietal, were all over television insisting that the Rutgers team should be the final judge of whether Imus remained on the job--young women who were not fully acquainted with Imus’ resumĂ© of past offenses against black women and who more were likely to cut him some slack. These young women might not have known that Imus called [African-American PBS news anchor] Gwen Ifill 'a cleaning lady,' a term which certainly wasn’t inspired by rappers. The Rutgers team might not have been tuned in to Imus when he and his crew joked about the manner by which Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X’s widow, was murdered, a remark that doesn’t appear in any Hip Hop song. And they might not have been listening when he and his buddy, the smarmy Bernard McGuirk laughed over an obscene parody of Maya Angelou’s poetry or when Sid Rosenberg thought it clever to suggest on the Imus Show that the Williams sisters pose in The National Geographic. Though the American cognoscenti wallowed before the man, even calling him bookish, Imus was apparently ignorant of Maya Angelou’s highly acclaimed body of work, even though she was President Clinton’s inaugural poet.

"The other Imus talking point was that it was all about Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Kill the messengers, even though the National Association of Black Journalists made the initial call for Imus’ firing. Researchers at Media Matters.org, according to The Wall Street Journa, posted the transcript and clips of Imus’ remarks at their website. This brought the matter to widespread attention, yet Media Matters (run by the gay former conservative David Brock, who wrote the infamous hit piece on Anita Hill) didn’t receive the kind scolding accorded Sharpton and Jackson.

"Frank Rich, another Imus stalwart, took another shot at Sharpton and defended his buddy Don Imus in the Sunday New York Times of April 15. Rich claimed the Rutgers basketball team and Don Imus were the only ones, during the entire episode, who weren’t hypocrites! Why isn’t the effort of Imus and his posse to deflect the attention from Imus to Sharpton and Rap music deemed hypocritical? Why wasn’t Imus’ pretending to distance himself from the man whom he hired to do 'nigger jokes' considered hypocritical?

"Why wasn’t Imus condemned for his attempt to transfer the blame of misogyny to black men instead of apologizing for his own verbal abuse of women? Frank Rich, who provided intellectual heft to the Imus show, was a former theater critic at The New York Times. Rich was the one who condemned the late August Wilson’s proposal for a Black Nationalist theater. I asked him in an email how he could criticize August Wilson’s black Nationalism, but cooperate with Imus’ crude yahoo bubba White Nationalism. Rich didn’t respond.

"After this cowardly display by Imus’ defenders--Rich, Bill Maher, and James Carville, et al.--how can they claim moral superiority to the men who are the targets of their relentless barbs, George Bush and Dick Cheney? (Vice President Cheney and his wife Lynne also appeared on the Imus show). Neither Cheney nor Bush ever called a black person a 'nappy headed ho' or referred to black men as 'gorillas.' Not on national television, at least."

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