Monday, June 23, 2008

Mea culpa Monday: Imus knows which races will kill you

By Joe Uchill
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Pretend for a moment that you don't remember Don Imus calling the Rutgers women's basketball team a bunch of "nappy headed hoes." Pretend he didn't tell 60 Minutes that he hired a producer to make "nigger jokes." Pretend you don't know who he is.

Listen to this. Judge for yourself what un-Imus means to say.

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You catch that? Here's a transcript:

Warner Wolf: Defensive back Adam 'Pacman' Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys. Here's a guy suspended all of 2007 following a shooting in a Vegas night club.
Some Guy We're Pretending Isn't Imus: Well, stuff happens. You're in a night club, for God's sake. What do you think's gonna happen in a night club? People are drinking and doing drugs, there are women there, and people have guns. So, there, go ahead.
Wolf: He's also been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.
SGWPII: What color is he?
Wolf: He's African-American.
SGWPII: Well, there you go. Now we know.
Wolf: He wants to drop his nickname because he says there's too much negativity attached. I mean, people aren't going to know who he is if he drops his nickname? "Who's that new player?" Is there no respect, I-Man?
SGWPII: I'm not sure.

If it sounds to you like Radio Announcer X had a certain presumption about the race of people who shoot up strip clubs, you are pretty much exactly like everyone else.

Would you believe the generic host if he told you, "I meant he was being picked on because he's black," as the real one told the New York Times?

Does that explanation even make sense? Accepting that the host misspoke, Adam Jones still decided to go to a place where "people are drinking and doing drugs...and people have guns" and was still subsequently involved in a shooting. The non-Don would have been saying that people were picking on Jones because of his race, and not because he was involved in a shooting. If the anonymous DJ isn't making a racial remark, he's saying that people - him included - are totally okay with the shooting thing. A shooting in a place where he thinks people should go in expecting to be involved in shootings. That's pretty horrible, too.

It's pill, a guy who says "Well, there you go" as nonchalantly as possible when he asks if the gunfire involved black people was really defending black people, even if it makes no sense in context. Even if could swallow that for any old radio host, if you knew it was Don Imus, could you still?

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