Tuesday, April 10, 2007

imus action

so, if you're not as cynical as i am and want to lodge a righteous complaint against the radio station, CBS and MSNBC you can go here - thanks to the women at the National YWCA, we have a handy dandy letter just itching to burn through some PR flak's inbox.


i talked to my dad briefly yesterday.
he sort of chuckled and said, 'i read your blog today and, man, you're really mad.'

and i guess i am. the heart of my anger seems to be our society's crass hypocrisy. we say we're a nation of 'values', but are we really? i don't think so. we already know there's a huge 'values' divide on the so-called Big issues like gay marriage and abortion; somehow, our 'values' have been defined by the position one takes on these two things. but i think our values are often defined by the smaller things - by our daily conversation and acts.

when are we, as a group of people, going to assert that at the very least, being a bigot - or talking like one - is ugly and distasteful. like, what if your kid called another kid a 'nappy headed ho'? wouldn't you, as a parent, be mortified and angered that your child lacked all social skills? so if we'd punish our child for being so mean and bullying, why don't we, as a social group, punish those who create the worst in our society?

we punish murderers, predators and thieves. why can't we punish a bigot? no, not by prison but by social isolation and derision. why can't we say we cannot tolerate that?

i keep thinking about that book, The No Assholes Rule. if a racist, misogynist, homphobic asshole threatens civility and civil behavior, get rid of them. fire them,if you will, for the good of the rest of us.

don't you think?


Evorgleb said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"Nappy headed Ho" were do you think that middle age man got those words from?

ding said...

i think he dredged them from the dank subterranean depths of his reptile-like brain.

now, if i'm to infer from your comment that since language like that is sometimesused in the african american community, that we're not supposed to hold imus' feet to the fire - what are you, five?

that's like some kid saying to his mommy, "well, all the other kids are saying bad words! why can't i?"


Anonymous said...

Yes, I am saying that Imus thinks that if the Hip Hop community uses it, then why can't he? If African Americans don't do anything about the sexist language used against their women, then why should he?

Now, what kind of world were you living in before you wrote this piece?

Nappy headed hoes? Uhmmm... Didn't you write something about responsiblity,earlier? It's time the buck starts somewhere.

ding said...

i'm so glad you're interested in taking a harder and closer look at how certain aspects of hip hop have objectified women.

most of the criticism has come from black feminists, women activists and young women who look at the industry and see something horribly wrong.

(if you want me to give you some sources i'd be happy to.)

this criticism from the women in the black community has not, until very recently, floated to the top of our cultural radar screen. now, suddenly, because of imus, all sorts of people who never cared before are suddenly asking, 'what are you black folk doing about that bad rap music?'

the thing is, we've been doing something about it; that kind of cultural work has long been a part of black feminist practice and scholarship. but i'm so glad you're interested in learning more!

the movement to change this patriarchal culture can't have real impact until we start affecting the bottom line of the giant media corporations/artists that make it, sell it, market it and distribute it - by, of course, stopping people from buying it.

now. will you join us black and white feminists who want to talk about misogyny and patriarchal oppression and help us change a culture of women's objectification in all media?

because we'd be so happy to have you join us.

ding said...

in fact, if anyone would like to do some reading on hip hop and misogyny, this is an excellent place to start:

Mark Anthony Neal (Duke University Black popular culture professor and author of four books including New Blackman)
Hip-Hop journalist Joan Morgan (author of the groundbreaking When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: My Life as a Hip-Hop Feminist)
filmmaker Byron Hurt (director of Beyond Beats and Rhymes, a film about misogyny and hip-hop)
Raquel Rivera (New York Ricans From the Hip-Hop Zone)
Professor Tracy Sharpley-Whiting (director of African American and Diaspora Studies at
Vanderbilt University and author of the forthcoming Pimps Up, Hos Down: Hip Hop and the New Gender Politics)

*these sources culled from felicia pride's article on aol, "Does Hip Hop Hate Women"? in her article she makes a really good point about the horse/cart types of arguments made about the role hip hop plays in women's objectification: the question should be "Why do black men think it's okay to disrespect black women? Where does that impulse come from? Why do black women think it's okay to disrespect themselves?"

to spread around the attention, it's the same phenom as the Joe Francis thing and the Girls Gone Wild dvds - what makes it ok for Francis and his crews, his customers and the girls in the tapes think that it's ok to ask a girl to show her boobs (or have sex in a van) because a guy's going to give her beads?

it's not the medium itself; it's the attitude that predates and uses the medium to express it.