Letters To The Editor


April 17, 2007

Media often fail to display diversity

Maybe we should hold those rap artists whose success stems from misogyny as accountable for their language as Don Imus ("Remark renews old hip-hop debate," April 13). But I'm disheartened by the way the discussion over Mr. Imus' remarks has so quickly diverted attention from the accountability of media organizations for such language.

Mr. Imus' radio and television employers connected their decision to fire him to some commitment to diversity.

Without some broader changes in their programming, however, it's much easier to believe they did it only in response to pressure from advertisers.

Look at the lineup on MSNBC, for instance. From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. each weeknight, every host is a white male.

Furthermore, African-American reporters and commentators might get called in to discuss "black" issues, but otherwise they are few and far between.

This daily display of white male privilege does a lot more harm than 50-Cent or Snoop Dogg ever did.

While Mr. Imus' former bosses may talk the talk, their daily programming demonstrates that they don't yet walk the walk.

Jeremy Skinner


Make hateful lyrics next item for reform

Now that some African-American men and women who have authority and power have used their positions to get Don Imus fired over his insensitive remarks, maybe they can go after the various rap groups that promote hateful and derogatory remarks against black women ("Remark renews old hip-hop debate," April 13).

These rap groups use hateful language to describe black women. They also promote crime and sex, among other things.

And were it not for their music, Mr. Imus probably would not have used the expression he used on his show about the Rutgers women's basketball team - an expression that came from rap songs.

So it would be wonderful if these powerful men and women would go after the rap groups and make them clean up their songs and stop denigrating black women.

Kathy Riley


Where's the outrage over real atrocities?

I'm not one to support Don Imus' crude joke regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team. It was repugnant and unjustifiable ("Under pressure, CBS drops Imus' program," April 13).

However, the outrage over it from the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson appears to be no more than a vehicle for self-promotion.

They've gotten themselves on TV by screaming the loudest and leading protests at media outlets.

But where is their outrage over a true horror - the black people who are being exterminated by Janjaweed Arab militias in Darfur?

Hundreds of thousands have been killed over the past several years, and an estimated 2 1/2 million people made homeless.

So again I ask, where is their outrage?

If these black leaders had been screaming and protesting about this genocide, a true obscenity, I'd be the first to stand with them.

The Rutgers women may have rightly been offended. But none of them lost her land, was driven into a refugee camp, was raped or saw her husband murdered or her children tossed on the burning pyres of what had been her home, by some stupid remark on the radio.

Joel R. Sacks


Let hip-hop culture clean its own house

The language that got Don Imus fired was coined by the hip-hop culture of rap music ("Under pressure, CBS drops Imus' program," April 13).

The lesson here, at least in the broader sense, is that some of those who profess to be offended by such reprehensible "street" language need to get their own houses in order.

Jerrold L. Brotman


Could Mencken host a talk show today?

In today's "politically correct" climate, I'm afraid that neither Mark Twain nor H. L. Mencken would be allowed to host a radio talk show ("Under pressure, CBS drops Imus' program," April 13).

Melvin Feldman


Parker perpetuates gender stereotypes

One of Kathleen Parker's recent columns certainly was "a gift for Ahmadinejad" (Opinion * Commentary, April 9).

She suggests that men should go to war while women stay home and be mothers and implies that the West is wrong for putting "mothers in boats with rough men" while the "Islamic men [who] `rescue' women and drape them in floral hijabs" are positive male role models.

If I were in the Bush administration, I might say that Ms. Parker is demoralizing our troops and giving hope to the enemy. She at least shares their perspective on gender roles.

And most dangerously, she fears that allowing women to be "in boats with rough men" makes women more likely to be raped.

Rape is about men asserting power over women.

Ms. Parker's perpetuation of the idea that men are supposed to be assertive and women submissive only encourages the aura of male dominance that leads to rape and the cultural acceptance of rape.

If we want to be really patriotic, let's encourage the spread of such American values as decreasing power disparities between races, classes and genders.

The Rev. Brian Adams


Women in military understand the risks

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