Nothing Unique About Imus' Race Trash Talk
that Imus is officially gone, the question is, will Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the civil rights leaders, black professional and women's groups demand that the Interscope Geffen A&M record label pull Snoop Dogg's forthcoming album, The Big Squeeze?
They should, and that means ignoring Snoop's loud protest that he's no Don Imus. He's not; he's worse. While Imus' "nappy-headed ho's" slur has been plastered all over creation, the 'B' and 'H' expletive-laced rant that Snoop unleashed against Imus has barely gotten any mention. His R-rated words are so vile they can't be printed in polite company. But here's the gist of what he said: Snoop gave veiled praise to the Rutgers women's basketball players as ladies of distinction. But that's only a ploy. To him, they're the rare exception among black women. Most are B's and H's, poor, hood-dwelling losers. In one grotesque sentence in his knock against Imus, Snoop managed to get in all the ancient stereotypes about black women.
This is the same Snoop that strolled out of a courtroom moments after copping a no-contest plea on felony drug and firearm charges and being slapped with five years probation and community service. He then delivered his self-serving Imus and I "are two separate things" rant.
This is the same Snoop that in the next few weeks will hit the road and promote The Big Squeeze, which has such good housekeeping titles as "We came to Bang Out," "Pop Pop Bang," and "Fuckin is Good for U." The album features some of Snoop's rap buddies and rivals and gives them a chance to be heard and, of course, bought. And you can be assured that these rap maestros offer a generous sprinkling of B's and H's and other endearing references to black women. And Snoop's corporate owners will bank millions off its sale.
Unlike the 350,000 MSNBC viewers and the few hundred thousand more CBS radio listeners that cackled with, and at, Imus' inane trash talk, millions of young and not-so-young people will dance to, talk up, and delight in the rapper's skewed descriptions of black women. That talk will be embedded even deeper in the youth and adult lexicon.
Snoop called Imus and other shock jocks that spew their on-air slurs "tired old white [men]." Imus paid the price and got canned for it. That only happened because civil rights leaders, black professional and women's groups, as well as legions of blacks picketed CBS, threatened to sponsor boycotts and threw mountains of enraged postings onto websites.
Within hours of Imus ladling out his bile against the Rutgers women, my mailbox filled up with these postings demanding his scalp. Yet, I have not received one angry email since Snoop made his 'B' and 'H' dig against Imus. I haven't heard any outraged calls for Geffen to pull the album, or threats of a boycott if they don't. I've heard no denunciations from Sharpton, Jackson or the National Association of Black Journalists, and not a peep from women's groups about him.
A few years ago the NAACP got called out for nominating some of rap's most vile women-bashers for image awards. The last straw was when the NAACP nominated R. Kelly, who was accused of sex crimes against underage girls. Though the NAACP voters back pedaled fast, and tightened the reins on who got nominations and awards, it set a subtle tone: it's better to ignore gangster rap groups than mount a full-court attack on them. Imus was a different matter. And many blacks have gone through tortured gyrations during the Imus furor to defend Snoop and claim that his offenses are different.
But Imus on his own would not have slurred the Rutgers women with the pejorative term "nappy-headed ho's." He would have demeaned them with something like this: "They're some rough-looking broads" or "They're some funny-headed chicks." That would have drawn few squeals. But "nappy-headed ho's" -- that line is straight from the rapper's playbook.
The day after Imus was officially canned by MSNBC, the shock jocks that thrive on on-air bashing and trashing minorities, gays, women, and Muslims, ran wild. They relentlessly played lyrics from the gangster rappers. This was damage control, and their insidious point was to cancel out the furor over Imus and deflect the finger of guilt from themselves.
In a perverse sense though, they got it right. Imus paid the price for his bile. On the other hand, Snoop and his buddies simply have upped the price for their records. As long as the outcry from civil rights groups and blacks remains feeble, scattered, and disjointed, rappers will continue to ring cash registers while self-righteously defying anyone to compare them to Imus.
Imus demeaned a basketball team. Snoop and his pals have demeaned a whole generation -- especially young black women -- and blacks have let them get away with it.
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Albion Monitor April
12, 2007 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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