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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

When Michael Richards, Andy Dick, and Isiah Washington forgot to lie, they got in trouble. Don Imus got a vacation and more money. If you're a "shock jock", people don't care if you're racist, I guess. Ask Rush.

Some people think that angry, trash-mouthed talk show hosts like Don Imus (who are usually obnoxious white guys) are just free-thinking iconoclasts passionately exercising their First Amendment rights. I think they're big, loud, empty barrels keeping themselves busy by giving the rest of us splitting headaches. But whatever your opinion is, you should never make the mistake of thinking that this is "news".

It's not. It's thinly-disguised racism, and I'm sick of it.

I'm tired of cowards with a microphone hiding behind the First Amendment. Imus wasn't a fearless trailblazer like Lenny Bruce who was harassed, arrested, and finally banned from performing in public. Imus wasn't the controversial Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour being cancelled by CBS. Imus wasn't the subversive Bill Hicks being censored by David Letterman.

Whenever I hear a stupid white man vomit the word "nigger", "nappy-headed hos", or any other racist slur, it feels as though a dirty-fingered bum with a bad cold has suddenly grabbed me like a napkin and blown his nose. I still hate the word, and I hate the smug white sons of bitches who casually delude themselves into thinking they have a right to use it. (Yeah, that's right, Quentin Tarantino's idiotic rant in Pulp Fiction still outrages me.)

You don't.

Yeah, I'll admit that you're exercising your freedom of speech. Legally, you're entitled to that.

Morally, however, as an African-American male, I feel that you're exploiting your white male privilege. That's not "freedom"; that's acting out a mental disorder you inherited from your ancestors who imprisoned hundreds of thousands of innocent Africans centuries ago and brought them here.

But you don't own that word anymore, because you don't own me anymore.

Believe me, African-Americans know what happens when white people forget we're human beings and treat us like we're their property:

Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X are assassinated because they're niggers.

Clifford Grover, Eleanor Bumpers, Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Michael Stewart, Abner Louima, Sean Bell, and all of the other innocent human targets who found themselves on the wrong end of a cop's billy club or "warning shots," are brutalized and killed because they're niggers.

The men, women, and children of New Orleans either drown, are shot, or slowly starve to death in front of the whole world, because they're niggers.

And Barrack Obama will never be elected President because he's a nigger.

Uh-uh, "nigger" isn't just a word in the African-American community, It's a burglar alarm. It's telling me that somebody who hates me is knocking down my front door. That old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is a dangerous fallacy. When I hear the word "nigger," I know the damned sticks and stones are gonna be close behind, followed by an angry mob armed with nooses, knives, brass knuckles, baseball bats, and guns.

Remember Cabaret, the brilliant Oscar-winning musical by Bob Fosse? The Kit Kat Klub, a sleazy cabaret in Berlin during the 1930s, is used by Fosse as a grim mirror to reflect the gradual corruption of Germany before World War II. As the Nazi Party grew in power, the "comedy" routines on stage became more viciously anti-Semitic. And I'd bet you money there were "good" Germans who didn't think it was a big deal. What's the matter, you don't have a sense of humor?

Whenever an ugly racist slur turns into a punchline, look out. Not only isn't it funny-- it's deadly.

That sister from Rutgers who's suing Imus knows. I hope she has a good lawyer.

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