The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Imus gets booted…twice

Comedian
and radio talkshow
host Don
Imus, who had
been talking to
nearly half a million people in New York every morning
since 1979 through his radio show “Imus in the Morning,”
received severe criticism last week after he made comments
on the air about the Rutgers University Women’s
basketball team, calling them “nappy-headed ho’s.”

CBS, along with MSNBC the day before, officially
cancelled Imus’ show, meaning that he will no longer be
seen on TV or heard on the radio.
“In our meetings with concerned groups, there has
been much discussion of the effect language like this has
on our young people, particularly women of color trying
to make their way in this society,” CBS chief executive
Leslie Moonves told The New York Times last Thursday.

Imus, who apologized several times for his mistake,
admitted having gone “too far.” He was evenly sitting on
the other side of the table a few days after the incident
when Rev. Al Sharpton asked for him to take part in his
syndicated radio show. Sharpton, who was upset and
expressed his wishes to see Imus fired immediately, asked
him during his show, “Do you repent once a decade?”

Imus answered, “What makes a difference, a crucial difference
is, what was my intent?”
Imus said that he intended to be funny and that he
simply wanted to make a joke, which failed miserably.

How do you make a joke by calling a women’s basketball
team comprised mostly of black women “ho’s” and then
expect laughs? In fact, there is a crucial difference
between a joke and an insult.

Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer, whose team was given
a chance to speak in a press conference to express its outrage,
said last Thursday that the team is accepting Imus’
apologies and was “in the process of forgiving.” The team
demonstrated to be more mature than Imus during the
conference, where the players vented their anger without
insults. They expressed it by means of an intelligent attitude
that proved their moral superiority in the matter.

There is a question that must be lingering inside the
heads of countless Imus fans: what was he thinking? The
issue of racism in this country is a delicate one. Why
would Imus, who knows by now that what he says is
heard by a diverse New York audience, want to jeopardize
his career like this?

Well, the past provides us with a bit of an explanation
for Imus’ actions, a past in which he could not refrain
from making other demeaning comments. He called former
Secretary of State Colin Powell a “sniffling weasel;”
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson a “fat sissy;”
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, an
American Indian, “the guy from ‘F Troop;'” and finally,
the New York Knicks “a group of chest-thumping pimps.”

There are no doubts then that Imus had simply told
one too many “jokes.” His firing comes as a response
against racial stereotyping. MSNBC and CBS did the
right thing. Although Imus has been talking to generations
of Americans, by firing him, MSNBC and CBS show that
they care and know that this kind of behavior is not acceptable anymore.

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