An Open Letter To The Pundits

13 Apr

Don Imus said the following as he and his cronies were watching the Rutgers women’s basketball team play.

“Those are some nappy headed hos”

He repeated it. The cronies groaned. They kind of knew. Shit was going to come down.

And down it came. Censured, fined, fired, fired again. MSNBC, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, CBS, everyone had an opinion. The girls are going on Oprah. He’s refusing to talk to the press. He’ll only apologize to the girls.

Thankfully here you come, pundits. With the free speech and racist speech and your incredible non-insights. “We may never know if this is protected speech” to “Don Imus has always been a racist and he finally got caught” to the world-weary “after Anna Nicole, can anyone really deal with another non-story.” NPR had someone on saying how this was a seminal moment in history.

Yet here’s my problem. With all of you. Every single pundit, every talking head, every single syllable falling out of your pathetic mouths. Every one of you talk about how these women have struggled, how they are special, how they are scholars and athletes and that is why this is particularly heinous.

You are racists. Every single mutherfuking one of you.

Because I don’t care if you see a working girl with shitty braids. Nappy headed hos is a racist and derogatory comment. It is mean, and ignorant and it reveals everything about the man who said it — angry, small, stupid and addicted to reactions.

But implying that these women are somehow even more victimized because they have pulled themselves up by whatever bootstraps you imagine they have is ignorant as well. What does it matter that these young women are scholars and athletes? Why does that make it worse? Hate speech is not a reflection of the victim, it is a reflection of the speaker. You cannot hold the mirror up to the intended victim and parse it. Who these girls are, how they do their hair, how they dress, act, get grades who they fuck, who they worship NONE OF IT MATTERS. And by parsing it you Pundits reveal your own racism.

Because if he had called a group of hookers in Greenpoint nappy headed hos you would’ve been shaking your head and muttering “ohhhh Imus.” Because you feel that these young women deserve special protection. Because you believe only some black people deserve special protection.

And that is racist. It is small and it is destroying the fabric of our society in fundamental ways. And I don’t understand you, Pundits. I see how righteous you are and I find it sad, I find it pathetic. I find your racism so obvious.

People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they’ll have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say.
Kurt Vonnegut

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