Thursday, April 12, 2007

Jay on "Free Speech"

Don Imus’ idiotic comments were just that — idiotic. However, what he’s exposed is how a cadre of race-baiting hucksters are working to undermine free speech in this country. If Don Imus were a rapper, he could talk about “nappy-headed hos” all the way to Grammy and never be given a dirty look by anyone. Yet because Imus is white, the racial sensitivity police feel the need to go on the offensive and ensure that such terrible words are never uttered on the public airwaves again — unless of course, they’re spoken by a rapper.

Imus’ comment was a contemptible act, but it was hardly worth the public lynching he’s now receiving — especially not at the hands of a racist like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. If it’s wrong to use such terms to describe black women, then the Reverends would be far better off attacking the “ghetto” culture that treats black women as sex objects, refers to them frequently as “bitches” and “hos” and glorifies violence, drugs, and mindless rebellion.

Setting aside the fact that the rampant sexism and drug culture in rap music has been the target of criticism from both within and without the black community for years (including by both Sharpton and Jackson), isn't it weird that Jay Reding only stands up for free speech when that speech is racism directed at black people?

I mean, if we were talking about someone who had criticized the war in Iraq, or the Bush Administration, we'd be hearing from Jay (and the rest of the right-wing) how that speech "undermined our troops", how it was "treason", and how the speakers should be "executed for treason."

Jay's acting like he's the first person in the world to discover that there's sexism and racism in rap lyrics, and that the reason it's there is because black people are all racists and sexists who couldn't be bothered to object to it.

But that doesn't make any sense. It's white kids who love hip-hop, too; and it's white people who largely own the record companies. To a large extent, it's a white industry generating music for white consumption. So who, exactly, is the community that should be standing up to demand a higher standard in their music?

And it's not like racism and sexism is limited to hip-hop. Country music doesn't exactly represent a universal paradise of equality and respect of women (as I learned over two summers of working with country music fans in Missouri cornfields), and good luck trying to blame that on black people. I can't remember any time that I flipped past CMT and saw a black face. Are there even any black country music stars? But I notice nobody's having a conversation about sexism and racism in country music. I guess if you're a southern hayseed, you get a pass for not knowing any better.

Plus - you shouldn't have to tell a college-educated person this, but a discussion about white-on-black racism is definitely not the place where you want to refer to the white guy as undergoing a "public lynching." I mean, how stupid can you be?


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