April 30, 2007

Imus to minorities:  You're ugly

Imus’ insult conforms to a pattern of bigotryI couldn’t help remark, as a local professor of American literature, the extent to which Imus’ statements confirmed the outcries found in many of our greatest writers of color. A major theme in this literature is that one of the great legacies of slavery and its attendant racism in America is that African- Americans are reminded again and again in our culture that they don’t measure up to our mainstream image of beauty. The resulting poor self-image burns like an acid, and decays the abilities of people of color to live the lives of opportunity and freedom most Americans take for granted.

A case in point is “The Bluest Eye,” the beautiful and angry debut novel by America’s only living Nobel Prize winning novelist, Toni Morrison. In it, Morrison contends that black people, and black women in particular, are constantly reminded of their perceived ugliness, and this perception ruins lives. Her story centers around a family—Cholly, Paula, Sammy and Pecola Breedlove—who are told again and again they are ugly. They are each told it so many times that they come to believe it themselves, and it destroys them, each in a different way.

Morrison was writing in 1970, 37 years ago. Things are supposed to have changed. But what was it that Imus was saying to the Rutgers women’s team with the “nappy-headed hos” quote other than, “You’re ugly. You may have accomplished something on the basketball court. You may have gone further in your tournament than people expected. But my producer thinks you’re ugly, and I agree with him.”

2 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
But Imus is over, though he might find some small amount of resurgence on satellite radio. So far, he has survived his own bouts with American reality, and has thus been a communications personage since the 1960s. You only can go to such a well so many times, and then find it has become absent in psychological drought that he himself has created. The man is a millionaire and so will not suffer that much; what his current state dictates is that he will not be earning anywhere near what he thought should be his reward for his perfidy. Unless he still can find a willing audience for his brand of racial aspersion, and as far as we can see, that market still is as deep and wide as it always has been...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella

Rob said...

Don Imus is the tip of the right-wing iceberg. People like Rush Limbaugh continue to make fun of minorities:

http://www.racialicious.com/2007/04/30/rush-limbaugh-and-barack-the-magic-negro

Until the racist ravings of Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, Don Imus, Rush Limbaugh, et al. are a thing of the past, we should continue criticizing them. It's about the only way to get their attention and the attention of the American public.