News Release

Beyond Imus: What’s At Stake

JILL NELSON
A journalist and activist, Nelson is author of Straight, No Chaser: How I Became a Grown-Up Black Woman and editor of the anthology Police Brutality. She said today: “The absence of the voices of African American women in the current discussion of Don Imus’ comments emphasizes how irrelevant, powerless, and objectified black women are to much of the larger society. In addition, those who seek to equate Imus’ comments with hip hop lyrics, as if misogyny in hip hop somehow makes what Imus said okay, are acting as apologists for sexism, racism, and the corporate greed that is, too often, the American way.”

Nelson wrote in her blog on April 8: “I’m tired of racist, sexist haters like Don Imus hiding behind the notion that they’re courageously being ‘politically incorrect’ and striking a blow against evil ‘political correctness’ by using hate speech. Word up, Don: being racist, sexist, and disrespectful towards women and others isn’t cool, hip, or a revolutionary act of politically incorrect subversion, it’s plain wrong. Period.

“Ditto for those rappers, fans, producers, profiteers and others for whom tales of a hard knock life, drug dealing, and contempt for women seem too often to be the foundation upon which success is built.”

More of Nelson’s comments are posted here.

STEVE RENDALL
Rendall, senior analyst at the media watchdog group FAIR and co-author of The Way Things Aren’t: Rush Limbaugh’s Reign of Error, said today: “The Imus story isn’t about one man and one racist, sexist episode. Imus’ long-term and wide-ranging bigotry depends on the support of the media giants who air him, CBS and NBC, and the indulgence of journalists who put publicity before principle to appear on his show. His apology for the attack on the Rutgers women should be viewed in light of the empty apologies he has issued in the past when his serial bigotry has been exposed. Considering his track record, it’s time to stop talking about Imus and put the focus on his bosses, without whom his brand of hate would languish in obscurity.”
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