My buddy Dan argued this weekend that Imus is not a racist, or that his comment wasn't racist. Here is my reply via email and this blog.
I've been thinking about this some, and Imus' comment seems racist to me. It seems that he (wrongly) assumed that he could get away with making an extremely derrogatory statement about african-american women b-ballers...because he's a rich white guy, indeed, a regular good-ol-boy. If that kind of thinking doesn't reflect and support an underlying feeling of superiority, then I'm not sure what does. If he wasn't fired, then the fact that he said what he said and got away with it would've meant that its okay for a rich white guy to publicly demean black people who've been systematically and institutionally oppressed for hundreds of years. He didn't violate anyone's civil rights perse, but he did cross the line and vocalize a put-down of black women, which incrementally bolsters the still-alive-and-well (as you know and I know) system of thought that says white people are better than black people, brown people, red people and yellow people.
so what if a black person said that about a white team? say, something like blond-headed whores, If Chris Rock came out and called some white women's basketball team a bunch of blonde headed hookers, would that be percieved as racist?
I understand about PCness run amok, but I don't think this is one of those cases. And as Tina mentioned, it was the market that ultimately "punished" Imus. Is this a kind of mob mentality? perhaps, but it seems a lot better than the kinds of mobs that ruled in some of the southern parts of this country.
Explain yourself man.
P.S. I'm gonna post this on my blog.