Black People Are Attacked And Once Again They Fail To Respond To The “Right” Enemy

By Gregory Moore
Updated: April 9, 2007

SAN ANTONIO — When Don Imus called the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team a bunch of “nappy headed hoes” last week, we were all appalled that someone who has been in the radio broadcasting industry would make such a horrific mistake.

But then again if you have ever listened to “Imus in the Morning: on MSNBC or WFAN on the radio, such comments shouldn’t be a surprise. For over 30 years, Imus and his ragamuffin band of radio comrades for his program have been pretty much potty mouthed, sexist, racist and anything else you want to throw their way.

If you wanted to find a good definition of “Playa hating” in this time and age, Merriam Webster would have a picture of Imus’ nappy afro mug shot right next to the definition: “Anyone who believes he is all pious, believes that making fun of anyone and everyone because they have ability or accomplishments that he or she cannot achieve, someone who believes in espousing vitriol hatred towards any one group for no reason whatsoever is cool”.

That definition Don Imus and his producer, Bernard McGurk, who chimed in on the comments. It fits anyone who has been associated with the Imus show and has made offensive remarks.

But you know what the irony is? It’s just par for the course this day and age because no program director or executive producer is willing to yank a talk show with great ratings when the show’s host or contributors attack an individual, a people or group.

But as troubling as Imus’ comments are and the fact that he needs to be removed off of the airwaves, what is far more troubling is the fact that we have individuals who want to do the right thing and demonstrate their displeasure but they are going about to attack the wrong “enemy” for what they perceive as a wrong.

The NAACP, the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others want Black America to boycott MSNBC but in stark reality it should be CBS Radio and Infinity Broadcasting who should be getting the emails, letters of disgust and protests. But why has everyone chosen MSNBC? Because they seem to be the “easiest” target in the fight.

That’s typical of today’s “Black movement” when it comes to trying to bolster up support and make a move of change against a perceived threat. Even the NABJ’s Byran Monroe should know that the course of action isn’t to protest MSNBC but to go after a parent company.

The direction of any attack on getting Imus removed should be aimed at WFAN’s lack of willingness to listen to an audience or segment of the population who have felt harmed by one of their own.

No one at WFAN has even addressed the topic; they have all hidden behind their desks and “Dilbert” cubicles. But that should be expected by someone in the business that is afraid to stand up against what is wrong and forget about the profits or ad billing dollars that come forth.

What is truly amazing in light of this “Michael Richards” Freudian slip is the fact that the collective community known as the Black community still does not know how to project a response in a direction that will bear fruit from the toils of their labors.

If the NABJ, NAACP, Sharpton, Jackson and others want Imus removed, then forget about boycotting the offices of MSNBC. Boycotts these days, unless they are economic boycotts to the advertisers who “sponsor” the show on both radio and television, are an exercise of futility.

Those types of boycotts simply do not work because the sophistication needed to pull off them with any success relies on a willingness of a complete community to say, “No I will not buy this product”. That chance will not happen in this case.

However the next best thing is for the Black community to flex its muscle by voicing its outrage on its own airwaves. Shows like the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the Michael Baisden Show, Sharpton Speaks, Black Men Revealed and any other radio or television shows in the community need to make this an almost daily mission to let it be known their displeasure of someone attacking a piece of their culture; of their citizenry.

Black organizations, from fraternities and sororities to professional organizations and churches need to let their elected officials know that if they make an appearance on the Imus show, they will lose their vote.

Even the professionals in the media, myself included, need to act as if Imus doesn’t exist. If he calls, we say “No thanks. I’ve got a date with Slug in the next room”.

If the Black community really wants to stop such attacks on its culture, its people and its contributions to the American landscape, then it is time for it’s so-called leaders to learn how to fight these wars by attacking the “correct” enemy and quit reacting to the first “soft target” that just pops up on their radar.