Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Hairy Discourse of Race: Radio Misrepresents Black Women Again

So far, the women basketball players of Rutgers have done well to represent themselves both before and after the "Ugly Imus Incident," so here I raise a small, side point that I find potentially relevant to the discussion regarding whether the old man should retire from radio. I wonder if anyone else has noticed that none of these women--among the visually heterogeneous mix I saw on three television channels over the last few days--had visibly curly, much less "nappy" hair. While it's possible that had their hairstyles been curlier, they might have taken the broader racist sexism even more personally; however, what these women have articulated so well in their statements where they refuse to separate racism from sexism, is that the days are long-gone when old white men could subjugate, silence and belittle the accomplishments of women (Black or otherwise) by, simply, invoking and insulting their appearance. Truly, the old man has sealed his own obsolescence, dating himself and his radio product, by demonstrating that he lacks more than merely the deftness and savvy needed to wield popular cultural representations, insider jokes, and critical "hipster" language for radio entertainment. What he needs, rather, is a college intro to the intersections of race and gender in the new millennium. As undeserving as he is, the Scarlet Knights are giving him a crash-course, very powerfully and on their own terms.

Various Links on the Outcome and What Can Be Done:

Installment 1:
The Post on the Firing
NPR on the Broader Context
What about Black Trash Talkers?
Feminist Majority Campaign against Hate Speech (Letter to CBS Template)
Free Press Media Diversity Campaign (Write the FCC)

Installment 2:
Everybody Hates Don I.

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