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mer

Rich, why you so smart? Seriously though, language has always been a tricky subject in the history of well, language. I think your points are valid, smart, and very well written. I read the pussycat blog and it is funny how people just assumed you didn't like Asia because she's black rather and not just because she sucked and was unplesant. Jumping to conclusions can be just as bad as saying terrible things.

janine

Imus didn't just get fired over the "nappy headed hos" incident. I think the nail in the coffin was that during his apology he said "you people." His job is to be a communicator and he proved over the course of a week that he's less and less good at that. Language changed too much for the zombie cowboy. Only GWB can be that incompetent and keep his job.

The other interesting thing is that he apologized to Sharpton. He was so removed from the fact that he was referring to actual people (in this case the Rutgers b-ball team) that he didn't think until over a week since it happened. That kind of disconnect also made him dangerous.

Besides, if aliens land in Harlem and say "take me to your leader," no one is bringing them to Al Sharpton.

janine

...and when I say dangerous, I mean dangerous to Viacom/MSNBC's bottom lines.

Bella

Rich, I think you are a great writer. I never looked at your other blog until I followed that link for your PCD write up. The comments over there are hilarious. My favorite was "U girlz need to spellcheck before u post"

jeremy

I hear ya. I blame the Jews.

Leanne

I am constantly both entertained and enlightened by your blog. I have fun, I laugh, and I learn things. I believe most of your faithful readers feel the same way. Thanks for keepin' it real.

"I don't care if you think I'm racist, just as long as you think I'm thin."

-Sarah Silverman

camille

rich, beautifully written.

Lea

I have to say, Rich, it is quite obvious that most of the posters on the VH-1 blog do not read your blog. I was amazed and horrified by the lack of actual words in their posts. Plus they did get your sense of humor at all.

I didn't watch America's Next Top PCD, but I did catch the last two girls singing in the final and, well, they got the cat part right. I hear better things coming from the feral cat in heat behind my apt.

MsKit2u

Rich,

I've been reading you for a little over a year now, (I thank the LJ-land person who linked me to your blog), and it has fairly consistently brought me a little dose of sunshine on at least a weekly basis.

I've followed you over to VH-1 and read your posts there too(stalker much?!), although I agree with the poster above who said they don't "get" you.

I wanted to thank you for this post. I don't agree with everything you say, but I agree with a lot of it. I think it's important that it be said, and I'm glad you're using your platform to do it.

So, thank you.

Keep doing what you do.

Lea

To MsKit2U:
Thank you for reading my post the I intended and not the way I wrote it (they DID NOT get your sense of humor)

Kendra

Thank you. You very elegantly covered the problems with Russel Simmons call for censorship, and the fact that racism is still deeply embedded in our society. I think your last point is a very important one; even if those specific three words stop being used someone will come up with another three words.
And seriously, what's up with 'faggot' not being included? That word is just as offensive as the other three. I guess that's proof that homophobia is still considered an acceptable prejudice.

Montserrat

I've seen "hoe", "bitch", and "nigger" used in contexts and with meanings that don't offend. Not "faggot".

As for "nappy-headed hoes", that bothered me at many levels. Two great coaches (Pat Summitt and Vivian Stringer) and two great teams with compelling stars and leaders and interesting personalities. To call the Tennessee Lady Vols "wannabees" (light-skinned, "good" hair) and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights "jigaboos" (dark-skinned, "bad" hair) too? Offensive. He made fun of a sport and people I care about.

Don Imus didn't know about the two teams and didn't care to know. And made assumptions about them that totally ignore what's in plain sight. And thought he was being funny. I was appalled that he didn't know the Lady Vols, a team I've been following for years, and reduced them to being "light-skinned, good hair, white people-wannabees". He reduced the great achievement of both teams to get to the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship finals by focusing on their color (and being really wrong about it too) instead of their athleticism, team play, defensive skills, will-to-win, etc. And they're a fun group of people too that get along with each other.

And as you mentioned, it's stupid to call the Rutgers basketball team "hoes" because logically, they could not be, but he called them "hoes" anyway and made assumptions about them based on what? And thought it was funny. The "nappy-headed" part is similar because the players have different hair styles, mostly not nappy - couldn't he see?! Why didn't he see?! It's only funny if there's some truth there and I didn't see it.

But I wouldn't find it funny because there is a "good hair-bad hair" divide. "Nappy-headed" people have "bad hair", so if you like to wear your hair natural or "nappy" and feel great doing it, it's going to be a sore point. So calling the Rutgers team "nappy-headed" as a joke to belittle them resonated negatively for those of us who like to wear our hair "nappy". And we're a little more self-conscious because of it. So it's hard to have a thick-skin about it. Don Imus intended to offend. He was callous and uncaring.

Had to get that out of my system...:-)

Montserrat.

Dandelion

loved this post. your eloquence is unmatched. I saw that yesterday too on the VH1 blog, and the response was shockingly racist and crude. It's just as bad (and wrong) for black people to say that black people are superior as it is for white people to say white people are superior. When will people start looking at people as individuals, anyways? Agh. But, for those of us who understand you, please keep doing what you're doing! Your posts are to humans as cheezburgers are to cats, as buckets are to walruses. <3

Deege

Russell needs to sit his ass down somewhere. He made millions off the use of the words he now wants to ban. Get the fuck outta here, Russ. I'm also disturbed by the double stand in my community regarding homophobia. Isaiah Washington gets a standing ovation at the NAACP Image Awards, but we're ready to go to war over Imus. I'm not on some Rodney King - can't we all just get along shit. I'm just on the can't we all at least respect eachother tip.

Deege

And I'm still mad at you for having dinner with Potes. But I will forgive you if you name your next adopted cat after me.

vagabondblogger

Imus screwed up big time (he's an ass to begin with), but I am a huge believer in freedom of speech - isn't that what got us all here - in bloggatory? I'm conflicted as to whether or not he should've been fired. When I'm back in the States, I listen to Rush Limbaugh - he's the enemy and I like to see what they're up to. I hate the crap I listen to here in Cairo, Egypt - it's all bump and grind club music. Bloggers are being arrested here, for expressing their views - trying to use their freedom of speech (which is non-existent, but they still try.) I'm tired, as well, of the Nanny State in the U.S. and people dictating proper behavior, new laws, blah, blah, blah, blah blah and so on and so on. It's never-ending. Yes, Imus' foot-in-mouth is good for dialogue, as I hate the hate talk too. What it all comes down to is censorship, and that's it. It's being practiced, in one form or another, worldwide. I think it's a matter of what we want as a society: Freedom of speech or censorship? And if we want freedom of speech, then I guess we're stuck with the "p.c." police and where does that take all the snark? Where does it end?

Christina

Wonderfully put Rich, as always.

Carmen Van Kerckhove

Rich, thanks so much for linking to the Racialicious post on the Oprah town hall shows, and for bringing up this topic on your blog.

> I'm glad Imus said what he did because of what it created: dialogue.

Yes, the Imus incident has created dialogue. But look at the topic of the dialogue we're having.

Instead of addressing the racism (and I disagree with you here - Imus's statement was racist, not merely "racial") of this old white man, we've all succumbed to his brilliant diversionary tactic. Basically Don Imus shifted the blame and said "Hey, look at those black men! They call their woman bitches and hoes all the time. Why can't I do the same?"

As a result, the dialogue we're having is not about the deeply engrained nature of racism in American society or the Eurocentric beauty ideals that makes "nappy" hair a bad thing. Instead, we're talking about misogyny in hip hop.

That's a conversation we need to have, but by having it now, all we're doing is falling for Don Imus's diversionary tactic.

We saw a similar turn of events following the Michael Richards incident. Instead of talking about the long history of racism in this country, the blame was shifted to African-Americans: "If black people use the n-word amongst themselves, why can't I?" All the dialogue then revolved around the n-word itself, with various black politicians passing symbolic resolutions to ban the word. Again, it's a conversation worth having, but ultimately it was a diversionary tactic.

> While I'd never, ever admit to practicing it, political correctness can be helpful.

I know what you're saying, but I really wish we would drop the word "political correctness" once and for all. It's a buzzword from 1991 that has been highjacked by the right. What I consider to be common human decency is labeled as "political correctness," to give it an air of uptight sissiness. Basically, if you're against homophobia and racism, that makes you "politically correct."

To quote Debra Dickerson, the term "politically incorrect" is "the rhetorical cul-de-sac where white hate went -- in goes racism, out comes political incorrectness. Use of this phrase is a tactic designed to derail discourse by disguising racism as defiance of far-left, pseudo-Communist attempts at enforcing behavior and speech does. However vicious, brainless, knee-jerk, or crudely racist a sentiment may be, once it is repackaged as merely 'un-PC' it becomes heroic, brave, free-thinking, and best of all, victimized."

AJ

Hey dude,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note and let you know how much I appreciate your site and thoughts. I am a very str8 acting bi dude (living a largely str8 life) and definitely feel that the ignorance directed at gay and bi men is never addressed. But, it is what it is. Keep on posting playa...you rock the house.

Summer

Rich,
You've made some very important points, but so have some of your posters. Carmen hit the nail on the head when she said that these RACIST comments have not opened up a discourse on the country's racial climate, but rather shifted the blame to the behavior in hip hop and/or black culture. I believe in freedom of speech fully, but in certain forums where censorship supersedes free speech(i.e. public radio), limitations should be placed on Hate-filled or discriminatory remarks. Calling a group of women, not only hoes but JIGABOOS is unacceptable. The history of that word likens blacks to animals and it is horrifying to broadcast nationally as acceptable radio. Had Imus not been fired, it would have said to the world that it is acceptable to debase a particular race on air without consequence. I agree that homophobic language such as "faggot" should be deemed unacceptable and those who abuse it should be punished as well--but just because Russell Simmons didn't include it in his "quote" ban doesn't make the words that are included any less harmful. Rich states: "My contempt comes from the absence of "faggot" from his list." Had Mr. Simmons included said word, there would still be some other group or class feeling left out.
My point is, I belive there should be consequences when Hateful remarks are made against any group or class in a publicly censored forum. I am not against free speech and believe you can say whatever you want on subscription based radio, records, comedy shows or forums where the audience pays to listen and is warned of possible content. I don't think Russel's idea to have a SET STANDARD for RADIO versions of songs is a bad one. It is inappropriate to say bitch, hoe, or the N word on the radio and regardless of Russell's motivation, I agree with his actions.

winterwheat

As a professor of communication, I have to agree with you. The best way to infuse a word with power is to ban it from the collective cultural lexicon. Frankly, I feel that "the n-word" and other almost-verboten terms need to remain sayable, if only because they are extraordinarily efficient at identifying whoever utters them as rubes. Who wants to spend hours talking to someone only to find out later that s/he is Archie Bunker in Meathead's clothing (or worse, Gloria's)? Life's too short.

Foxy

I'll totally gay bash you the next time I see you.

bebebaby

I feel you on some of your comments and although Russell is probably just out and about now with this "cause" because he has a book coming out to promote. I don't think it's a bad idea to ban the words hoe, bitch and nigger from the radio which is what he is calling for. He's not saying to ban it from hip-hop. Words like shit, fuck, cunt are bleeped out on the radio and television, why should the word nigger not be considered derogatory and bleeped as well?

Traci

Rich, you are quite simply the best writer on the internet. Respect.

BayBB

While, 5 years ago I could have agree with your opinion 100%, I do have some reservations about it today. I was a teenager in the 90's when commercialized hip-hop became popular. I loved it and anyone that was against it was a "hater" and should not listen. As someone that loved songs like "bitches ain't shit" any many other misogynistic songs, I am disgusted with current as another blogger refers to it "Clearchannel hip hop". Rap has clearly gone too far. While people are given freedom of speech, radio and other media sources have limitations on that freedom. These words to NOT belong on the radio, on the television or in the public.

As a black woman, I have been disrespected more times than I can recall by men who clearly live the hip hop lifestyle. If I had a dollar for everytime a black man has called me a hoe or a bitch, (the reason 9/10 times because I don't respond to their advances) I could pay rent on my apartment for at least the next year. I totally and completely feel hip hop is to blame for that attitude. Honestly, everytime I can recall a man making disparaging remarks to me it has either been a transient or someone with their pants 4 sizes too large, down to their knees wearing a t-shirt that could pass for a dress. It's easy to tell someone else to have thicker skin when it's an issue that does not directly affect you or your community. Unfortunatly, my brothas and sistas are buying into the hype and making bad lifestyle decisions based on it. While part of me is trying to accept that it's their life and people need to make their own decisions, the other part of me sees how children (including those in my family) soak up the ignorance like a sponge. It's now cool to be ignorant and misspell words (see the Pussycat doll forum, it hurt my brain trying to read that mess).

I am tired of these record labels pimping out black men and at the expense of black women. Many of the rappers you hear on the radio do NOT write their lyrics; their entire sound, image and lyrics are created by record companies and they are the ones that need to be held accountable. They are getting rich off selling a negative stereotype of black people, it's shameful. That is not free speech when it comes at such a large price.

I do agree with the BS call on Russell Simmons though, fake yoga freak! He's full of it. I always found it funny how he tries to act so enlightened but he's married to the most materialist, gaudy, trashy woman on earth. It's clear he's all for anything he can make money from.

BTW, I was soooo mad that Asia won. She is so annoying!

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