Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thank God Imus isn't a Baby Boomer!

As someone who grew up in Ohio, I remember listening to "Imus in the Morning" on a radio station in Cleveland. I recall that he was funny and he played good music. The Don Imus we are hearing about today is definitely not the shock jock I remember from "back in the day."

His age has started to show in his behavior. He is cantankerous, obnoxious and no longer funny. Isn't this what we say about old people? The 68 year old Talk Show Host should've known better. But maybe he figured if Rush Limbaugh can get away with some of the comments he makes, then why can't he. Imus' reference to the Rutgers girls basketball team as "nappy-headed ho's" isn't all that shocking to me because it's something I'd expect to hear from a white man who was born and raised during part of the Jim Crow era--before the Civil Rights Laws of 1964 were passed. It's a statement that doesn't surprise me coming from a white man who is a part of the good ol' boy network. His comments are a part of the way white men think of black women---dating back to slavery days.

What Imus said aloud is what is in the hearts of many "white shirts" in America who make decisions daily in Corporate America. I was one of those black women who was talked down to by white bosses who wanted to "keep me in my place." As I documented in my book, "Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age," I had one manager tell me he thought I wanted him to show me favoritism because of my race. This was in response to a question I raised about not being included in the discussion of assignments for reporters because as an Assignment Editor it was my business to know who was doing what. My response to him in the heated exchange was, "No I want you to show me favoritism because I'm GOOD at my job!"

What Imus said is another wake up call about race relations in America---but sadly, many people never hear the alarm going off.

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