Racism still prevalent in modern society, media

Saharra J. White

The first amendment is supposed to protect the freedom of speech. Some are still conversing about talk show host Don Imus and his statement when he called members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos.” So who cares why does everyone keep on talking about it. Don Imus isn’t the only person that has spoken out of line.

Actor Mel Gibson blames Jews for being “responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson, who spoke at CSUN in March, made headlines again after he cursed out an audience member. The audience member was questioning Gibson about the racism used in the film “Apocalypto.” When the woman was asked to leave Gibson said, “I think you’re a fucking troublemaker, so fuck off.”

The actor most of us know as Kramer has also said racist things. Last year, Michael Richards, known for his acting in the television show “Seinfeld,” called some black audience members at the Laugh Factory the n-word. This incident started a debate of who could and could not use the word.

Imus, just like Richards, spoke to Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, because apparently Sharpton and Jackson are the only leaders in the black community who have any input on these issues. Those in the media should look for some new sources to get sound bites. A leader that happened to be a woman would be sufficient since the comment made toward the Rutgers team was not only racist but sexist as well. Sharpton and Jackson do not represent black people. We did not have a roundtable discussion and vote for them as our leaders.

The reverends were not responsible for Imus being fired. When no one thought it was an issue to get Imus fired the National Association of Black Journalists pushed to get him off the air. Gregory Lee, a senior assistant sports editor for the Boston Globe on a popular list serve for the NABJ, said, “the media pushes the agenda on issues and stories? they ask the questions that get pushed on newspapers and broadcasts.”

NABJ pushed the issue for Imus to be removed from the air, and they succeeded. Some agree that Imus was out of line but it shouldn’t have cost him his job. Imus was also fired because advertisers like Proctor and Gamble don’t want to support someone who has said racist things. Maybe they agree with him, maybe they don’t, but the advertising industry knows they can’t afford to lose out on the spending power of Black America. In 2005, African-Americans spent $719 million. Since America was built on a capitalistic society advertisers always go where the money is at.

So why Imus? Why not Richards or Snoop Dogg? It has to start somewhere, and unfortunately for Imus it started with him. A man who has a history of using racist and sexist remarks has had his last word. Well, it’s probably not the last time, I’m sure he will come up again and apologize. Maybe he’ll even call up Sharpton again. As life goes on, you can now purchase a stuffed teddy bear with a shirt that has the words “Nappy-headed hos” on it, and the women of the Rutgers basketball team are now receiving hate mail. How nice. All I wanted for Christmas was a teddy bear with the words “Nappy-headed hos” on it.

Racism still exists in America and around the world. It is up to scholars, officials and leaders from organizations such as the NABJ to educate others and help make a change. The bottom line is if you want to see a change, you have to demand it.