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Wanted: better allies, better MSM, more discussion

I may blog at length about this later when I have more time, but I wanted to toss this out there…

During this whole Imus debacle, I took note that several LGBT organizations quickly stepped up with statements calling out Imus on his racism and misogyny, including the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

I applaud that. It made me think back to a few recent events where the target of the verbal hate was the LGBT community — Ann Coulter hurling the “faggot” bomb about John Edwards at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or Tim “I hate gay people” Hardaway and his homobigotry during a radio interview.

Where was the support from black organizations, such as the NAACP, calling out the bigotry against LGBT citizens?

:: crickets chirping ::  [Ooops, it’s that fear of the third rail again.]

It seems so obvious that a group that has experienced horrible discrimination would be natural allies to other groups being denied rights, as you can see, here is the problem in front of us. The question, and it almost answers itself, is whether presidential candidates will toss LGBTs under the bus to court the black religious vote, which has been openly hostile in many respects to the gay community. Don’t expect spines to challenge the homophobia. See my live-blogging of the NBJC’s Black Church Summit for insight into the magnitude of the problem.

More, including thoughts on the clueless MSM,  after the jump…Back during the Hardaway incident, black lesbian blogger and activist Jasmyne Cannick asked that question:

Yesterday I called up the National NAACP office and asked them if they were going to condemn his statements.  The answer I got from the acting communications director was that the NAACP gets asked to respond to a lot of issues and that they would examine it and ultimately it would be up to the President, Bruce Gordon to make the final decision.

I really don’t want to criticize the NAACP, but what Hardaway said was just as bad as what Michael Richards said and look at how we got all up in arms over that.

Going back to Shirley Q. Liquor and GLAAD, I’d have to say the same thing, that it’s hypocritical of the NAACP to not condemn Hardaway’s comments.

And you know what happened?

For challenging the NAACP on its hypocrisy and silence when it comes to opposing bigoted behavior when directed at the LGBT community, she blogged that she had the pleasure of being harassed by them on her day job (her personal blog, obviously, is unrelated to her employer).

Well apparently my column ruffled a few feathers at the top because no sooner had my column been released then my boss starts receiving calls from the NAACP leadership complaining about my article.

Yes, this is what happens when the establishment, regardless of color, gets called out. We have a loooooong way to go on this one.

We all need to unite in fighting all bigotry.

Another note: along with the silence by POC-related groups on the litany of anti-gay epithets tossed around in malice, transphobic remarks by comedian Kimmel didn’t garner the response of gay advocacy orgs the way Hardaway’s comments did, let alone racial minority advocacy organizations. As I said, we all have a long way to go, and we can start now.


I intended for this to be a toss-off post for discussion, but it appears that I am still typing away…

You know, watching the coverage of this has been fascinating and frustrating. The majority of white talking heads bloviators out there about the Imus kerfluffle have shown me just how few in the MSM actually know black people — as in, not just a work colleague, but someone they have a close enough relationship to actually discuss race intelligently before going on the air.

If Newsweek’s Howard Fineman or the Boston Globe’s Tom Oliphant had actual exposure to the complexity and pain caused by Imus’s remarks, they wouldn’t have promptly trotted out there to say “Good morning, Mr. Imus, and solidarity forever, by the way,” or “I would like to continue to enable you to do a lot of the good things you do. Including, you know, talking about stuff happening in the world, which you do a very good job of on this show.”

The widespread self-segregation in our society has led to an incredible amount of ignorance, and because the MSM is white male dominated, their lack of basic sensitivity on race has been starkly exposed. Richard Muhammad, editor of Straight Words E-Zine, made some keen observations about the cluelessness and narrow racial perspective that results from self-segregation, and institutionalized lack of diversity in this post at Afro-Netizen:

The widespread anger in Black America was also apparently lost on a Public Radio reporter, who covered an April 9 demonstration in Chicago by the Rev. Jackson, saying only about 50 protestors showed up. The report downplayed the way Blacks have responded, implied the protest numbers signaled a lack of interest, and had no reactions from Blacks about the controversy. The reporter also apparently missed the hours of hot conversation on WVON-AM radio, starting at 6 a.m. April 9 with the Roland S. Martin and rolling on through three hours in the afternoon with the nationally syndicated “Keeping It Real With Rev. Al Sharpton Show,” and columns by sports writer Stephen A. Smith, out of Philadelphia, Deborah Mathis of BlackAmericaWeb.Com, Black bloggers and writers. Analysis came from white media observers.

What’s going on here? Perhaps that easiest way to explain it is found in the title of Starr’s on-line column, “Imus Is Us.” The “us” here consists of White America – white men in the media, in particular – unable to admit insults to Black folks actually mean something. It’s as if we are soulless beings and whites are always allowed to explain away, ridicule away, or ignore away the constant assaults on our dignity and psyche.

I think that watching these fumbling struggles is on the whole helpful — without it there won’t be any progress. What’s critical is that the MSM recognizes its deficits and actually does something about being more informed so that their debates on topics about race are less myopic — and reflect the real world, not just the one they inhabit.

The first step the MSM could take is to get it together and figure out that “the black community” is a inaccurate monolithic construct in their minds, and if their goal is accuracy, they need to expand their horizons a hell of a lot more about race — and gender issues and homophobia.


BTW, catch Jasmyne’s post, Strange Behavior: Snoop “I Beat My Case Again” Doggy Dogg on Black Women and Hos. A snippet:

It’s funny how we as Black people want to get all up in arms over non-Blacks calling us out of our name but we don’t want to confront those in our community who do the very same thing.  It kind of reminds me of Tim Hardaway’s comments about hating gay people.  Very few Black people, including the so-called Black leadership had anything to say about his comments.  Why?  Because it was thought that most of Black America agreed with him.  So are we also saying with our silence that we agree with Snoop that it’s ok to refer to some women as hos, you know the ones in the hood, just not the ones going to college?

Snoop Dogg and rappers like him didn’t become millionaires off of the dollars of Black men only.  No, us women contributed to their pocketbooks just the same, if not more.  We buy rap albums knowing that the lyrics are demeaning and degrading to us as women.  We bump these records in our cars and homes in the presence of our children allowing their ears to hear and see that it’s ok to disrespect women and call them hos and bitches.  Then we want to look crazy when they start calling us hos and bitches.  Who do you think they learned it from?


* Imus is history
* MSNBC drop kicks Imus simulcast
* Why Imus has to go
* Sponsors yanking ads from Imus
* Imus, don’t let the door hit you…
* Rutgers team responds to Imus 
* MSNBC suspends Imus simulcast for two weeks
* So which pols are going to go on Imus now?
* Don Imus: Rutgers women’s basketball team ‘nappy-headed hos’

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding