I want to preface this blog by saying, first, I already composed a blog to say what I wanted to say here, very eloquently, but it vaporized into cyberspace. I was going to let it go and forget about it, but words have re-formed in my head, so I want to let them out…although, I am sure, nowhere nearly as succinct and as eloquent as I originally bred them to paper...
Secondly, as a big fan of the first amendment, I want to further address some points in the recent Imus Debacle which I blogged about earlier. Everyone has an opinion, and the subject has become a divisive one. There are many ways to approach it…either by taking the racism line, the decency line, or saying that Imus was a scumbag and he deserved it.
I am not a racist, or a bigot. This is not a racist hate blog, this is a blog about free speech, and political terrorism. My point of this blog is to point out my opinion, that the Imus issue has been blown out of proportion and has become a black eye on free speech. "He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither." – Benjamin Franklin
YES, his comments could be construed as racist and insensitive, but they are allowed to be. Keeping in mind, his is a comedy based show, and you never hear a comedian make a racist comment, do you? Listen to much stand up lately? The free speech that allows Imus to say that within the parameters of law is the same speech that allows a Dave Chapelle to work, or a Chris Rock, or a Louis Farrakhan.
But lets explore briefly, the free speech angle, and the real reason Don was fired. It had nothing to do with what he said.
Let me go on the record as saying I am not writing this blog as a disgruntled Imus fan, and not in the camp of his apologists. If he had been let go justly, I would probably not have a word to say about it. His release was not just though, and too many Americans are comfortable with saying that it is OK, and that he still has his freedom of speech, and that is not so.
First, here is the comment and apology in question:
Viewers note…the first use of the word "hardcore ho" was by the producer, Imus followed up with "nappy headed ho" and later the producer used the word "Jigaboo", not Imus. This leads me, in my sacrificial lamb theory, to wonder why we have not heard an outcry about the producer, or heard the word "jigaboo" complained about, just the "nappy headed ho" comment.
Next day Imus apologized profusely, and that my friends, is where the story should have ended. All Imus comments were legal by the terms of the broadcast code, the FCC code and the legal code. Apparently, the FCC has had no problem with it, nor did his employers. You see, nowhere does it say that what you say has to please everyone. You are allowed to be insulting. You are allowed to make fun of people because they have a rough appearance, or are bald, or are gay, or fat, or stupid. Nowhere do Americans have a guarantee that their feelings will not be hurt, and we do have guarantees that we are allowed to speak that way.
Imus has a background as a shock jock, and he is hired to make scathing and controversial comments, and that is what got him where he is after 30+ years, currently broadcasting on CBS radio affiliates and simulcast on TV on MSNBC.
After all of this, no one cared and it would have all blown over.
Enter Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
These fellows wanted to make an example of Imus in the name of racial healing. To them, an apology was not enough, as they wanted his job taken away. Now, to those who say Imus free speech was not taken away, explain to me this: How can a man doing his job within the parameters of the company line, the government rules and the law be fired for that? His "free" speech cost him his job and he no longer has a platform to speak from, or a career to earn, because Jesse and Al used terrorist tactics to threaten the sponsors of the show, and the networks, with a black boycott, protests and litigation. By the terms of the law and society, these men are toothless, but because no one can resist bowing to racial terrorism, it was easier to sever ties with Imus to appease the black leaders.
What if he had made fat comments, would the fat leaders do the same? How about the gays? If he had said something about them being diesel dykes, you thing GLAAD would be terrorizing his employers and sponsors?
Both men claim to be representing the will of the people, but I don't even see that many blacks who claim Jesse and Al as their spokesperson. This is succinctly summed up by Jason Whitlock in the previous blog I posted, and in this interview:
And here are Whitlock and Sharpton head to head (this one is a must see):
Look at how the topic is deviated from, into the agenda of needing more blacks on TV. This is Sharpton, and Jackson's agenda…no only the promotion of the black agenda, but at the cost and apology for there being too many whites.
Here is Jackson on Keith Olbermann. This too is a must see, and I am embarrassed for Olbermann, who comes off as a whiny apologist bitch. He practically says the line "I have black friends too", the famous white apologist line, when informing Jesse that when he is away, he has Allison Stewart take his place, and she is African American. He also starts by making it clear he went to see that Imus was fired too. I am sure Jesse had to wipe the drool off his ass after this clip…and note Jesses agenda, stating that Imus is on the air 1040 hours a week (there are only 168 hours in a week to begin with) and that MSNBC needs more blacks because they are "all day all night all white".
He claims he wants to represent the depth and breadth of the American people, and 65% say Imus' firing was not justified.
What would Jesse say if a white leader of the Southern Baptist Convention insisted on more white programming on BET to better reflect society, or if any other black public figure were similarly censured for speaking against Jews or Whites or other non-blacks in a defamatory way?
I just find it appalling that these 2 can step forward and walk over the first amendment, cost a man his job, refuse to forgive him or accept his apology (and they are men of God?), in the name of racial healing, while then promoting their agenda of stopping "white control"? Who gives these men the power? Who elected them? Just as the Whitlock column points out, they are fighting an old fight and it is 2007, not 1964.
BUT BACK TO THE ISSUE…why Imus was fired was not because of what he said; it was because of the influence of these 2 men, who have no power. What really would have happened if NBC and CBS just told these guys to pound sand, and went on with life? They would have gone away; instead they empowered them by bowing to their demands, using the First Amendment as a doormat.
It is the leaders of the charge who have turned it into a race issue. Not even the Rutgers girls are guilty of that, to that degree. They probably weren't as affected until they were told to be.
Now, the essay speaks for my feeling toward the hypocrisy of those leaders. Fight a real problem; don't go chasing a 3-legged sacrificial lamb.
Each of them has a closet full of skeletons, and the more they talk in public, the more they are either contradicting their collective cause, or otherwise making it more of a race issue...just listen to the interviews.
No it was not a race issue...now it is. And it is dividing the country, which is why everyone has an opinion wherever you look.
Each has also said that speech is "freer" for blacks than whites. That does not sit well with ANY fan of free speech.
The other divisive point of hypocrisy is their CONSTANT battle cry that Imus must be removed to send an example for racial healing...BUT they did not go after Imus directly.... they undermined his career, removed him from HIS platform of speech by attacking his sponsors and employers. His apologies went unrecognized with no meaning to them.... nothing was enough.
Yet, as Whitlock pointed out in his essay, the members of the black community who do far worse than Imus TO the black community, go unnoticed by black leaders such as Sharpton or Jackson...or if they are addressed, it is as a friendly "summit" or other sugar coated plan. Lets see Sharpton and Jackson cut off a lifeline for a guilty black man by going after his record companies or the sponsors or the stores that sell them...or the TV stations or radio stations that play them. But that will never happen as we are seeing the double standard.
Free speech is free for all, or it is not. That is the point. The leaders are the ones making it a race issue.
AS FOR THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK, who are Jackson and Sharpton to not forgive Imus or accept his apology, when they are equally guilty? Why are they even relevant today?
Give me one solid accomplishment Jesse Jackson can claim since the 60s…he is always there, but what has he really contributed?
And same for Mr. Sharpton? Why is Al Sharpton relevant in 2007? Why isn't he on VH-1 "I Love The 80's" saying "remember me, I'm Reverend AL!"?
Here's a little background on Al…
The Reverend Al Sharpton
TAX EVASION: In a 1988 interview, Sharpton said he saw no reason why blacks should pay taxes. "If we do not have a justice system that protects us, what are we paying for?" Sharpton has faced multiple charges—and one conviction—of tax evasion.
TAWANA BRAWLY: 1987. Al Sharpton, during the infamous Tawana Brawley case, falsely accused a former assistant district attorney of raping and sodomizing Ms. Brawley. Young Tawana stated that white racists abducted, raped, and sodomized her, scrawling the initials "KKK" on her in human feces. A grand jury later found the entire incident a complete hoax. Most likely, Ms. Brawley, afraid of punishment for staying out too late, fabricated the entire story. This did not stop Reverend Al Sharpton, who accused Pagones an assistant district attorney, of the crime. "We stated openly that Steven Pagones did it. If we're lying, sue us, so we can go into court with you and prove you did it. Sue us—sue us right now."
Pagones did. After receiving death threats, and threats against his child, Pagones sued Sharpton and two others for defamation. A jury unanimously concluded that Sharpton defamed Pagones, ordering Sharpton to pay $65,000 to Pagones. The Reverend promptly announced his intention not to pay. A couple years later, Sharpton's buddies passed the hat and paid off Sharpton's debt, which totaled $87,000 with interest and penalties. To this day, never having paid one penny of his own to Pagones, Sharpton refuses to apologize, "I did what I believed…. They are asking me to grovel. They want black children to say they forced a black man coming out of the hard-core ghetto to his knees…. Once you begin bending, it's 'did you bend today?' or 'I missed the apology, say it again.' Once you start compromising, you lose respect for yourself."
CENTRAL PARK JOGGER: In 1989 "the jogger," a young white woman, was monstrously raped and nearly beaten to death in Central Park. Sharpton insisted—despite the defendants' confessions—that her black attackers were innocent, modern-day Scottsboro Boys trapped in "a fit of racial hysteria." Sharpton charged that the jogger's boyfriend did it, and organized protests outside the courthouse, chanting, "The boyfriend did it!" and denouncing the victim as "Whore!" He brought Tawana Brawley to the trial, to show her "white justice" and arranged for her to meet the attackers. Sharpton appealed for a psychiatrist to examine the victim, generously saying, "It doesn't even have to be a black psychiatrist…. We're not endorsing the damage to the girl—if there was this damage." (While it doesn't excuse his calling the victim a "whore" and denigrating any damage to her, or his accusations against the boyfriend, the convictions of the accused were eventually vacated, despite their taped confessions, after another man—whose DNA matched—confessed to the rape in 2002.)
CROWN HEIGHTS/ "DIAMOND MERCHANTS": In 1991, Gavin Cato, a seven-year-old black child was killed in a traffic accident in Crown Heights (in Brooklyn), when a car driven by a Hasidic Jew went out of control. Sharpton turned it into a racial incident. Sharpton led 400 protesters through the Jewish section of Crown Heights, with one protester holding a sign that read, "The White Man Is the Devil." There were four nights of rock- and bottle-throwing, and a young Talmudic scholar was surrounded by a mob shouting, "Kill the Jew" and stabbed to death. A hundred others were injured. Sharpton said, "The world will tell us that [Gavin Cato] was killed by accident…. What type of city do we have that would allow politics to rise above the blood of innocent babies?…Talk about how Oppenheimer in South Africa sends diamonds straight to Tel Aviv and deals with the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights…. All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise. Pay for your deeds." Later Sharpton said, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house."
ARAFAT: When Sharpton announced a 2001 trip to the Middle East, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach helped plan his itinerary. Sharpton, according to the Rabbi, promised not to meet with Yassir Arafat, yet only days later, Jewish New Yorkers opened the morning paper to see a smiling Arafat and Sharpton, meeting and shaking hands in Israel. Furious, Rabbi Boteach said, "Prior to our recent trip to Israel, U.S. black leader Reverend Al Sharpton and I discussed several times that there were to be no meetings with Arab or Palestinian leaders, not because I wished to set preconditions for our travel, but because the express objective of our mission was to show solidarity with Israeli victims of terror. The idea was to provide a magnanimous gesture of friendship and solidarity with the Jewish nation that would hopefully have strong reverberations for the relationship of the Jewish and black communities back home."
FREDDY'S FASHION MART/"WHITE INTERLOPER": 1995. A Jewish store owner in Harlem was accused of driving a black record store owner out of business, when the United House of Prayer, one of the largest black landlords on 125th Street, raised the rent on the Fashion Mart owned by a Jew, Freddy Harari, who then raised the rent on his subtenant, Sikhulu Shange, who ran a record store. At one of many rallies meant to scare the Jewish owner away, Sharpton said, "…There is a systematic and methodical strategy to eliminate our people from doing business off 125th Street. I want to make it clear…that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business." Following a demonstration three months later, one of the protestors, a black man, stormed Freddy's Fashion Mart with a pistol, screaming, "It's on now! All blacks out!" In addition to shooting, he set fire to the building, eventually killing himself and seven others. Initially, Sharpton denied having spoken at any rallies. When tapes surfaced, he said, "What's wrong with denouncing white interlopers?" Eventually, he apologized—but only for saying "white," not "interloper."
CRIMINAL JUSTICE: During the "Million Man March" in Washington, civil rights "activist" Al Sharpton thundered, "O.J. is home, but Mumia Abu Jamal ain't home. And we won't stop till all of our people that need a chance in an awkward and unbalanced criminal justice system can come home."
OUT OF THE KING MOVEMENT: Although he was 14 when Martin Luther King was assassinated, Sharpton claims he "came out of the King movement." Sharpton once explained, "I was on some show this week, and people said, 'Why don't you just let it go? Why don't y'all just get over it?' Get over what? Get over Dr. King dying? Get over Medger Evers dying? Get over Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner dying? Get over those four girls in Birmingham dying? We are never gonna get over it, and we are never gonna let you forget it!"
FBI TAPES/COCAINE: In 2002, HBO aired a 19-year-old FBI surveillance of Sharpton with self-described mobster Michael Franzese and an undercover FBI agent posing as a Latin American businessman. The three were discussing promoting boxing matches and musical events. HBO's "Real Sports" got a hold of a hidden camera video that shows undercover agent Victor Quintana posing as a drug dealer trying to convince Sharpton to play a middleman in a big cocaine buy.
Sharpton asks the undercover agent, "What kind of time limit are we dealing with?"
"Coke?" the agent asks.
"Yeah." Sharpton says.
The phony drug dealer says, "Could be about the same time we have 4 million coming to us."
Sharpton: "End of April?"
"End of April. Six weeks from now. Is that a good time you think?" the agent asks.
"Probably," Sharpton replies.
Later on, the undercover agent offers Sharpton a finder's fee for help with the drug deal and says to Sharpton, "I can get pure coke for about $35,000 a kilo ... Every kilogram we bring in, $3,500 to you. How does that sound?" Sharpton nods in response.
The deal never went down, and Sharpton has said he was just playing along because he was scared of the would-be kingpin. "And I'm in his office. I don't know whether this man is armed. I don't know what's going on. So I kind of say, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah,' to get out of there," Sharpton claimed the tape was leaked by law enforcement officials to disrupt his 2004 presidential run, and he sued HBO, its parent company AOL Time Warner, and several individuals who worked on the story. No charges were ever brought against Sharpton because of the tape, which was allegedly made to get Sharpton to act as an informant for the feds into an investigation into corruption by Don King and the boxing industry. The HBO report featured former Mafia captain Michael Franzese saying that the FBI was on the right track when it targeted Sharpton in a sting back in 1983 to try and root out corruption in boxing.
Sharpton admitted in 1988 that he informed for the government in order "to get rid of drugs and election fraud" in black neighborhoods. He denied informing on civil rights leaders and organized crime figures.
FBI TAPES/DONATIONS: After Sharpton's name surfaced on wiretaps in an unrelated Philadelphia City Hall corruption case, the FBI launched a probe into Sharpton's fund-raising for his failed 2004 presidential run. The FBI secretly videotaped Sharpton on May 9, 2003, pocketing campaign donations from two "shady fund-raisers" in a NY City hotel room, and then demanding $25,000 more. The two fund-raisers were La-Van Hawkins and the late Ronald White. Hawkins is currently on trial in Philadelphia on corruption charges. White was going to be indicted, but died before charges were brought. A later wiretap recorded Hawkins telling White that they had raised more than $140,000 for Sharpton the previous quarter, but Hawkins was concerned that Sharpton had only reported about $50,000 to the Federal Election Commission, as required by law. Sharpton said the allegations were a "politically motivated smokescreen" to hide the fact the Justice Department is out to get him. He ripped the probe and the secret videotaping, saying, "Can you imagine what would happen if it was a white presidential candidate?"
Here is a repost of a recently circulated email:
Just so we're clear:
Imus Calling Black Women "nappy headed hos": Wrong.
Jesse Jackson calling Jews "Hymies" and referring to New York as "Hymietown" : Right. (Washington Post, 1984)
Imus Calling Black Women "nappy headed hos": Wrong.
Jesse Jackson having an affair and Impregnating Karin Stanford, then using rainbow coalition funds to pay her $40,000 and purchasing a $365,000 house to keep her quiet: Right
Jesse Jackson not paying child support for this child, and not visiting her: Right
Jesse Jackson Saying Duke La Crosse Rape Suspects who have been aquitted "deserved the negative attention" because they weren't acting morally by hiring a stripper: Right
I'm glad we have someone with strong moral values like Jesse Jackson to make sure nobody makes racist jokes on radio stations!
Thanks for showing us what's right and what's wrong Jesse.
And who can forget Al Sharpton, another strong moral figure who knows the power of words:
After District Attorney Steven Pagones failed to prosecute white suspects for raping a black girl (because evidence showed the story was fabricated) Al Sharpton accused Pagones Himself of raping the girl. Pagones successfully sued him for Defamation. Right
But it gets better:
Imus Calling Black Women "nappy headed hos": Wrong.
In 1995, Sharpton led a protest in Harlem against the plans of Freddy's Fashion Mart, a Jewish-owned clothing store, to expand into a black neighborhood. Sharpton told the protesters, "We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business." Three months later, an armed protester forcibly entered the store and burned it down, killing himself and seven others. Right
Thanks Jesse and Al for showing us what's right and wrong. I'm glad we can finally see the light now. I'm glad you guys stopped this guy, and all his charities for sick and homeless children, that will now dry up. Thanks guys!