The Full Don Imus Transcript: yes, there was more

I know this isn’t exactly on topic for this blog (radio, not film/tv), but I feel this requires as much exposure as it can get, so I’m posting it here.

Last night, as I was trying to research the origins of the word “nappy”, I got distracted by this transcript of the actual commentary Imus made, in which the show’s executive producer, McGuirk, called the team “hos” even before Imus did… and then some (emphasis not mine):

IMUS: So, I watched the basketball game last night between — a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women’s final.
ROSENBERG: Yeah, Tennessee won last night — seventh championship for [Tennessee coach] Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
IMUS: That’s some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and –
McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That’s some nappy-headed hos there.
I’m gonna tell you that now, man, that’s some — woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like — kinda like — I don’t know.
McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
IMUS: Yeah.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes — that movie that he had.
IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough –
McCORD: Do The Right Thing.
McGUIRK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
IMUS: I don’t know if I’d have wanted to beat Rutgers or not, but they did, right?
ROSENBERG: It was a tough watch. The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.
IMUS: Well, I guess, yeah.
RUFFINO: Only tougher.
McGUIRK: The [Memphis] Grizzlies would be more appropriate.

“Jigaboos”, BTW, is a very old racist slur even my mother hasn’t heard since the 50′s. Urban dictionary says: “Derogatory n. pl. Black person. Usually of lower class and mentality.”

Now, my point is not to defend Imus – not at all. It’s that even if you take out the three words he got fired for, look at the shit that’s still there! And who do you think’s going to hire Imus’ replacement? Gee, maybe the executive producer who called them “hos” and “jigaboos”? Who has learned from this incident, “I can’t say ‘ho’ because that damn Al Sharpton will raise hell, but I can still go on at length with racial and gender stereotypes about cute little white girls and the rough black girls as long as I don’t use that word. Man, have my rights been infringed!”

Firing all of these men would be a nice start. And that doesn’t even begin to address the listeners who find this sort of thing not only acceptable but entertaining.

UPDATE: I goofed here – it’s worse than I thought. I thought Imus’ remarks about the TN girls looking cute referred to white girls, but apparently that team is mostly black. So what Imus is saying is that if a black girl is “cute” enough for him, he will not treat her to verbal disrespect, but if another black girl is not cute to him, he can call her anything he likes. I thought he was just being racist, but apparently he was being misogynistic and racist at the same time. Thanks, MattW, for pointing out what I missed here! ;)

Comments

  1. says

    I know it’s a minor thing considering how offensive the entire situation is, but I can’t help thinking that men in sports can have all the tattoos they want without it being commented upon.

  2. Jennifer Kesler says

    In addition to all the overt hideousness this transcript reveals, another thing that jumps out is that this is a bunch of men sitting around talking about how women look. It’s not a basketball game they’re describing – it’s a visual fantasy that is or isn’t meeting their wanking off standards.

    One team looks “cute” and the other team looks “rough”, and that’s more important to these guys than how either of them performed.

    If you stripped away the overt racial slurs and the excessive dwelling on the teams’ sex appeal or lack thereof, the transcript would read “to a of oh but the.”

  3. scarlett says

    I think such commentators are really responsible for perpetuating the idea that it’s OK to objectify women. Several times I’ve heard comments from men’s mouths (several of which are friends) which made me think that if someone wasn’t telling them it was OK, it wouldn’t be OK to them.

  4. SunlessNick says

    They beat Rutgers by 13 points.

    I don’t know how basketball commentary usually goes, but am I right in suspecting that if the teams had been men, they would have included the entire score rather than just the difference?

  5. Mecha says

    SN: Eh, the difference isn’t wholly uncommon anywhere. People talkin’ about sports have a lot of ways of referring to a score, because after the 10000000th time of saying ‘X won, A to B’, they got bored. I don’t think you can get much of a point there.

    I do think the overall point that ‘This isn’t Imus’ first, fifth, tenth, hundredth, or thousand’th transgression on his show, of him, staff, or guests’ is one worth carrying on. The problem isn’t just one person. It’s a society, a system. Groups. Etc.

    -Mecha

  6. mary says

    Have read a lot of commentary about this, and this is the first time anyone besides me mentioned the fact that the guys were sexist. Imus “offends everybody equally” that is his style. I don’t get your comment about “cute little white girls” because I did a search to see what the Tennessee team looked like and they had some “cute little black girls”. Beauty, of course is in the eyes of the beholder.

    I do not think he should have been fired, because he did not intend it to be racist. “Yo Mama” jokes are popular and might say “yo mama a ho’ ” or sister and it is not meant to be taken literally. The history of African slaves being raped by white masters made it a sensative issue in the black community.

    Society in general is insensitive to other peoples feelings. Sharpton could have used this as an opportunity to create peace and understanding rather than inflame bigots. And irritate those of us who are not.

  7. Jennifer Kesler says

    The TN team is mostly white. In comparing the basketball game to a movie in which a black cheerleading team competed with a white one, it became clear to me that was the differentiation the men were making.

    The history of African slaves being raped by white masters made it a sensative issue in the black community.

    Ya think? Do they not have a right to be sensitive?

    I really don’t care if Imus meant to be racist. He’s a public speaker; he should know better.

    There is no such thing as “equal opportunity offender” in a society where everyone is not equal. What could he possibly call white men, for example, that would damage them? That would change the fact that our next 17 presidents will be white men? That 90+% of CEO’s will continue to be white men?

  8. MattW says

    The TN team is mostly white. In comparing the basketball game to a movie in which a black cheerleading team competed with a white one, it became clear to me that was the differentiation the men were making.

    The Tennessee team is mostly black. I know we can’t be bothered with facts when making a point, right? There are eight black women and three white women on the team: Picture Here

    In fact, in the video clip he was watching when he was making his tasteless attempt at humor, it was all black females from Tennessee on the floor.

    Is it still clear to you what differentiation these men were making?

  9. Jennifer Kesler says

    You’re right – I had the wrong team. So what differentiation do you think they were making? That a black girl can earn a white man’s respect if she looks “cute”, but if she dares to have tattoos, she deserves to be called names?

    That’s not any better, you know. I mean, you do realize that…?

    Any way you slice it, they were engaging in a staggering display of casual racism, misogyny and white male entitlement.

  10. MattW says

    Imus picks on and insults people, nobody was immune in his world, that was his mistake. He was picking on their looks and that group of women most definitely didn’t deserve to be insulted by him. If nappy has now been declared by the PC police to be a racist term then Imus made a racist comment. I must confess, I did not realize you were a racist if you told a black woman she had nappy hair, I know that know. He certainly is not racist with his charity and he was one of the first people expressing their outrage on the air about the racial injustice of the Katrina mess. So while he may or may not be guilty of making racist comments, I don’t believe he is a racist in his heart, and that is what matters to me.

    Most people don’t understand that this “banter” he was having with these guys on the air is choreographed comedy schtick meant expressly meant to shock. While the remarks were not scripted, their job in this banter is to shock as much as possible. There was nothing casual about it in that respect. He was doing what MSNBC and CBS have always paid him to do – be a shock jock.

    He called his sports reporter a fat moose almost daily, he regularly called his wife “the green ho” (she is a leading environmental activist who he fully supports and she most definitely wears the pants in the family at home). He regularly insulted McGuirk, McCord, Ruffino, Rosenberg and they insulted him back. These people were in on the joke so no harm was done. It was the lowest, crudest locker room type of humor and they were the first to admit that.

    Is the Borat movie racist, anti-semitic and misogynistic? Most people I know thought that movie was hilarious. He also picked on real people that didn’t ask for it. Because it is funnier than Imus it is okay?

    It would be great if we lived in a perfect world where we could laugh about our differences and also respect one another. Where we could just turn off stuff we don’t like and encourage others to do the same instead of having self-appointed hypocritical Politically Correct police making the decisions for us.

  11. says

    What on earth does some movie, whether or not anyone here thinks it’s okay, have to do with this?

    I’m not even touching the specter of the “PC police”. Jeez.

  12. Jennifer Kesler says

    I’m not going to time on every absurdity here, but:

    If nappy has now been declared by the PC police to be a racist term then Imus made a racist comment.

    The word was always racist. The fact that this is news to you doesn’t mean anyone “declared” anything. It just means you were ignorant, and now you have been taught.

    I don’t believe he is a racist in his heart, and that is what matters to me.

    I’m sure that’s what matters to you, because obviously, it’s not the people he maligned.

    I don’t care if he’s racist – he’s a public speaker and he knows the rules. If you wreck into my car while you’re drunk, I don’t give a shit whether you’re an alcoholic or on your very first drinking binge.

    It would be great if we lived in a perfect world where we could laugh about our differences and also respect one another.

    (emphasis mine)

    Good news: we do live in a world where all that could happen! We’ve just decided by and large we’d rather be assholes instead.

    Where we could just turn off stuff we don’t like and encourage others to do the same instead of having self-appointed hypocritical Politically Correct police making the decisions for us.

    No, it’s so much better to have self-appointed hypocritical random white men making all the decisions for all of us.

  13. SunlessNick says

    Most people don’t understand that this “banter” he was having with these guys on the air is choreographed comedy schtick meant expressly meant to shock.

    So making a racist comment is ok, providing your intent is to offend rather than be racist?

  14. MattW says

    The word was always racist.

    Ah, yes. So children’s books like this and this are hateful racist books then? I can come up with lots more cultural references that seem to indicate that it isn’t a loaded racist phrase that should be irradicated like the “n” word. It is obvious from things like these books that this is a loaded, racist term that should be avoided by everyone?

    No, it’s so much better to have self-appointed hypocritical random white men making all the decisions for all of us.

    I don’t think I claimed that was better, my ideal would be when we all make our own decisions and with open minds have civil discussions about issues based on facts. I don’t like having special interest groups decide what I can watch and listen to any more than having random white men decide. Much better for each of us to vote with the power switch on the TV or radio. The ratings will fall and advertisers will get the picture and we will not see more of the same.

    I agree, we should not be offending or insulting people that did nothing to deserve it.

  15. MattW says

    What on earth does some movie, whether or not anyone here thinks it’s okay, have to do with this?

    I’ll try to be more clear. This movie had numerous scenes where he made fun of and humiliated real people who didn’t ask for it or deserve it. In the last scene in the movie he humiliated and even terrorized a woman minding her own business at a bookstore. Imus insulted a group of people that didn’t deserve it. I didn’t think either was particularly funny. Borat initially reached *way* more people than Imus ever did. Where was the shock and outrage in our culture, or the demand for an apology? There was barely a peep. Not pointing fingers at anyone here, or saying two wrongs make a right, just trying to point out an inconsistency in our culture.

  16. MattW says

    So making a racist comment is ok, providing your intent is to offend rather than be racist?

    I wasn’t trying to excuse it or say it is okay, I said that he clearly owed those women a personal apology for offending them, he gave it and they accepted it.

    My only point here was that it not entirely accurate to say that this was a bunch of guys sitting around making casual conversation. The comments were unscripted and insulting, but this was a planned part of the show where they attempt to make shocking/controversial statements. Absolutely agree that he should not have picked on them.

  17. says

    So while he may or may not be guilty of making racist comments, I don’t believe he is a racist in his heart, and that is what matters to me.

    Really? Because as far as I can see, his heart didn’t enter into it. His actions–the things he said–were racist. Actions hurt people. Hearts don’t. Whether or not he is racist “in his heart” doesn’t change that.

  18. MattW says

    Really? Because as far as I can see, his heart didn’t enter into it. His actions–the things he said–were racist. Actions hurt people. Hearts don’t. Whether or not he is racist “in his heart” doesn’t change that.

    I don’t disagree. He owed those women an sincere apology and they believe they received one. That is good enough for me. The good things he has done for race relations doesn’t excuse what he did, but let’s not sweep it under the rug like it doesn’t matter when judging a person.

  19. says

    This is a really old post, but someone linked to it recently, and I had one more thing to say about MattW’s comments:

    Who’s judging Imus?

    Why are people like MattW always quick to swarm on sites and defend the PERSON when we are criticizing the ACTION? This is really a strawman argument – fighting against a point that wasn’t made.

    And as we all know, Imus went right back to work after things blew over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.