The Caribbean media have been notably silent about the fast-moving outrage that began with distasteful remarks about black women basketball players at Rutgers by white radio personality, Don Imus. (I’m not going to add to the “crime” by repeating the remarks or having another link to the video clip of the offensive broadcast.) True enough, Imus has been fired by CBS, after public outcry, much of it helped by bloggers such at The Browser. He had a reputation for being offensive, so his remarks should be no surprise. However, the speed with which he was dumped is surprising. Yet, there are many more personalities like him on US talk radio, who also need to get the message that they can’t go on selling their wares by being rude and disrespectful to anybody they choose. Race is not really the main issue, but respect. Though, perhaps blacks get little respect in the USA, so it is about racism!
But why the lack of media comment in a region full of black people? Are the region’s media chasing other stories that will satisfy the public? A lot of time and energy is being spent on analysing what is happening on and off the cricket field. Is it because it happened “over there” in the USA, and we all know how bad racism is there? Is it because the media know that they support a system in the Caribbean, which belittles black women as much as Imus’ derogatory remarks? Most of the popular musicians now make a living by denigrating “their sisters” with words, actions or both! Does the media or women condemn them or do they happily fulfill the sexual image that the singers portray? (It seems not, given that some of these musicians even feature promiently as “spokesmen” for major corporations. Is it because the region has itself in a complex where it knows that it wants to use hateful language and violence to target some, such as homosexuals, whose mere appearance it dislikes? I don’t have the answers but would gladly hear from those who think they do.
I just hope that my daughters, at university in North America, don’t do anything to condone the kind of bigotry shown by Imus. But I also hope that they feel that they come from a community in the region, which understands that it too greatly undermines the position of women every day and in many different ways.