When George Bush Sr. died, I posted to Facebook, “R.I.P. George... Jefferson.” I have a number of witty, inappropriate jokes saved in my phone for when David Duke or Eric Cartman’s absentee father, Rush Limbaugh, kick the bucket. I feel no obligation to be kind or respectful to bigots or those who have done harm to my community in the wake of their passing.
So when news broke yesterday evening that radio shock jock Don Imus died at the age of 79, it was no surprise that many black people, like myself, weren’t here for any of that “honor the dead” energy.
For those who are not familiar with Imus’ controversies, a brief history:
On April 4, 2007, during a discussion about the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship on his radio show, Imus referred to the black women of the Rutgers University team as “nappy-headed hoes.” Then, later in the show, his executive producer Bernard McGuirk remarked that the two teams looked like the “jigaboos versus the wannabes.”
After a storm of outrage over his comments ensued, Imus tried to excuse his behavior saying, “That phrase didn’t originate in the white community. That phrase originated in the black community. Young black women all through that society are demeaned and disparaged and disrespected by their own black men, and they are called that name in black hip hop.”
Of course, that fresh pound of deflective white nonsense didn’t help him any, so he eventually issued this statement of apology:
“I want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women’s basketball team, which lost to Tennessee in the NCAA championship game on Tuesday. It was completely inappropriate and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.”
Now some may feel that this apology was enough to forgive and forget, especially considering that the radio personality’s show was canceled as a result of his racist and sexist comments, but just a year, later Imus found himself in the headlines again after this exchange with radio host Warner Wolf regarding the suspension of Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Adam Jones:
Warner Wolf: Defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys, here’s a guy suspended all of 2007, following a shooting in a Vegas nightclub.
Don Imus: Well, stuff happens. You’re in a nightclub, for God’s sake. What do you think is gonna happen in a nightclub. People are drinking, and doing drugs. There are women there and people have guns. So there, go ahead.
Warner Wolf: Also, he’s been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.
Don Imus: What color is he?
Warner Wolf: He’s black.
Don Imus: Well there you go, now we know.
Its also worth mentioning that, in the aftermath of Imus’ “nappy-headed hoes” debacle, fellow shock jock Howard Stern discussed how he’d heard Imus make racist comments about at a black female co-worker while they worked at WNBC and, in response, Stern’s co-host Robin Quivers, who is black, said he’d made a racist comment towards her, as well.
So anyway, the world can celebrate the life of a racist all they want; I won’t and I’m under no obligation to be respectful about it.