Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Imus Incident: Another Conflict, Another Cycle

My dear friend Asiba Tupahache is back on the block! She is continuing her cutting edge truth about popular culture and continues her unvarnished look at white supremacy and oppression.

The Imus Incident: Another Conflict, Another Cycle
Asiba Tupahache

Although out of the headlines, the racist insults of Don Imus against the women of the Rutgers Basketball Team are one of the types of incidents that continue to surface in this society and won’t end until the causal issues come to an end. It must end, however. Bad things happen when bad things continue. Bad things continue when the wrong solutions are applied or nothing is done at all. There are those of us who know there is a lot more to do (always has been) in spite of the fact that the matter is no longer amplified in the media

Imus is off the air for now. After so many years of hearing racist speech consumed as entertainment to the American ear, one plug got pulled but look what it took.

We’ve seen blow-ups before and nothing changed. There’s a reason for this. After the dust settled everything went exactly back to the same or morphed into more efficient updated versions of what went on before. The cycle will repeat again unless real fundamental change occurs.

I don’t believe Don Imus’ career is over at all. The likes of Oliver North, some Watergate players, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Furman and Howard Stern have had their setback of temporary American outrage but have their careers and are as popular and or credible as ever. They have either had opportunities presented to them or had the ability to reinvent themselves. As the prevailing thought process stabilizes, which is much more subtle than hate mail and death threats, Imus, as others like him, will be offered opportunities to broadcast or do whatever he wants again. According to a report on MSNBC a radio station in California was going to broadcast Imus’ past shows in protest of his firing in the name of free speech.

The engine of continuation has many components. One is the contradiction between who American tries to project it is, and what it truly is. The ideal is to say it is a society of freedom and democracy when it is truly an environment that profits by and sustains itself by quite the opposite.

The FCC is supposed to uphold certain standards, which was the basis of an attack on what was called some years ago “hate radio”. This call for FCC abuse of airwaves was the correct challenge. Still, the public communication standard of decency is drowned out by the environment’s insistence that Imus apologized and should be forgiven and therefore allowed back on the air having learned his lesson (not his first offense - the past ones were laughed aside). Freedom of speech does not mean shouting fire in a theatre (or I guess more contemporary example would be shouting bomb in an airport). That speech is considered a danger to the public good. The problem is that there is a disconnect when it comes to racist assault being harmful speech to the public.

It took the assault on ten young college athletes to embarrass the corporate sponsors and networks to pull the plug on one individual. What will it take before the racism against native people on team names blows up? Or will American sports fans and consumers of the sponsors who promote the NFL change their minds about such racism being in the American culture? Maybe it won’t since native people are so invisible that even other oppressed people join in the racist team activities and marketing of materials. Native people are ultimately the invisible people. So the fairy tale ideal that says even the powerless of the people have rights that must be upheld or none of us have rights goes into the toilet when it comes to race, money, and dominance.

Before anything warrants attention, a situation in some way must impact those who are perceived as white people or somehow makes them feel caught. That means either the so called white race, money and or dominance – figuratively or literally – is under attack or being threatened, only then America will pay attention.

The hypocrisy and contradiction brings the consequences of who America truly is will define what will occur in the future. There are specific reasons why everything has taken place the way it has with regard to the assault by Imus against the Rutgers basketball team. There is a reason why the women of the team received hate mail. There is a reason why many still don’t get it. There is a reason why this will happen again.

Of course, Imus has apologized, the team has accepted the apology and for the most part it would appear that America has moved on and has probably begun the amnesia machine. I put this incident, one more example of American dysfunction, in the context of the chronic condition to bring about consideration for another point of view among those who are willing and ABLE (some pedophiles just can’t stop their behavior because they are unable just like drug addicts still have to get to the point where they hit bottom or realize they are helpless to the drug of choice – otherwise, they are unable). I will be presenting things that have already been mentioned and discussed of the past few weeks to compare, contrast and put into context of recent history to illustrate the American morbidity of chronic oppression.

1. The condition:

2. How it continues:
a. The participants
b. The thought process/culture/value system
c. The dependency
d. The behaviors

3. How it can/must end

1. The chronic condition:

The chronic condition of America is born out of its origins. It began with processes, belief systems, and actions that resulted in murder, land seizure, genocide, chattel slavery and hegemony. By all this, America was established with a stolen land base and free labor and unless somehow in the American experience all that was wiped away, the process is binding. The truthful nature of all that has happened has evolved into the way America sees itself, which is through an ideal that muffles the truth. If America was to continue and profit by everything is had thus far, the process by which it was founded had to continue. Because this is more than a one-time incident, it can only be described as chronic,

2. How it continues:

The esteem race, power and money, the source of abuse or oppression individually and/or collectively must be at all costs preserved. Even if and when individuals fall, die or go down, the preserving institutions or mainstays of the oppressive society, will be upheld. America has glorified stories of its beginnings with cherished and celebrated ideas upheld by holidays, activities, milestones, social and emotional expectations and institutions to ensure that the belief system stays in place. It is through the belief system that participants form ideas. Out of these ideas, attitudes take hold. From these attitudes, behaviors manifest and normalize.

There are controls (including belief systems) to ensure that oppression is normalized, marketable, and profitable emotionally and monetarily, rewarded and protected. Part of this chronic condition is to ensure that certain people are continually dehumanized so that abuse against them is not perceived as crimes, hurtful, or immoral. It was believed in its purest form that the black man had no rights a white man had to respect. It was all right to say it out just like that at one time. It isn’t said like that anymore but the belief system has evolved so that it doesn’t have to be.

Of course, no one volunteers to be oppressed so a strong element of force, threat and destruction are part of the continuation. The esteem is low through manipulated images, false accusations and dehumanizing disenfranchisement.

Chronic oppression is maintained through race, power, and money. All thoughts, ideations, emotions, institutions, and behaviors must revolve around this precept and define all concepts.

a. The participants

Roles are assigned. All identities are invented to revolve around the dominant oppressor or abuser to accommodate their perceptions and existence. Since the dominant role is defined as a superior race, other satellite identities are invented with false ideas of an inferior race(s) or gender. Money is what makes the ability to exist making wealth and poverty an operational part of the structure. Since the right to dominance and or supremacy of anyone is false and unnatural, all other invented identities needed to enable dominance and supremacy are also false. These identities interact and react through power, powerless and the enabling behaviors. In this society, those who have come to be called white males are provided access and entitlement to everything and everyone else. The identities of others must reflect how the oppressor must be upheld. Since this is unnatural the power to dominate can only occur through force.

b. The dependency

Participants in such a system are co-dependent. Co-dependency is the state where the self-esteem of one depends on another. A person doesn’t feel defined unless they are attached to the esteem or meaning of another. This is not natural and for some reason people come to feel this way due to experiences that did not allow them to evolve in to sovereign human beings. A co-dependent individual can feel let down (and can therefore react in varieties of rages, rejection, escapisms, etc.) when the needed other is taken away or appears to change from what the co-dependent individual needs. There is no co-existence in environments of co-dependency. Only satellites that float around the source of domination will be allowed to exist.

c. The thought process/culture/value system

Typically in an abusive household, the woman is isolated from all friends and family that can attach her to her indigenous identity before she connected with the abuser. This is how the abuser gains unconditional access and entitlement to the victim. The powerless are ridiculed, trivialized, isolated, and emotionally trapped in deference to the powerful.

Since domination, control and oppression of any human being is unnatural, the power to dominate can only occur through force – social, economic, political, emotional, and behavioral force.

The agenda will always be to maintain the system. Appeasements, rewards, trinkets, trophies and recognition will be offered (and accepted) but the end result will be to keep business as usual.

d. The behaviors

While one source can dominate, the system of oppression is populated with participants who interact through co-dependent relationships. Race and gender identity assignments have specific relationships to the dominant race and gender. No one better step out of line. A promise to hire more “black people” has been a typical reaction to past explosions, and while it may have truly happened, black faces in high places means they better do what they are told. All behaviors and rationalizations on the part of powerful and powerless will uphold the pillars of oppression.

3. How it can/must end:

Why does this society refuse to admit the atrocity it has committed? If this society admitted it was a society of racism, aggression, dehumanization many things would have to come apart. This is a good thing but a hard thing.

When situations such as this come to an end, it is because all aspects of the upholding pillars, relationships that maintain behavior roles, identities that result in how everyone involved think of themselves. It must all be confronted, reconsidered, and undone. Or else, the chronic environment and all participants are bound to the truths and the consequences.


When the Rutgers Basketball team had their press conference it was stated that they agreed to meet with Don Imus in private at an undisclosed location. What do you think would have happened if the Rutgers team chose not to disclose to the media whether or not they accepted Don Imus’ apology? Did they owe it to the media to say how they felt one way or the other? What if they refused to accept his apology at all? Would people be so willing to call them beautiful young ladies, courageous and all the other flattering names (especially when prefacing comments that Imus isn’t so bad and what he said was wrong but he doesn’t deserve what he got)? Or would they have been called other names like hostile, unreasonable, angry, hell raisers and other silent names?

The media pursued the team as if they owed America comfort because this white man’s behavior cost him his job. The need to protect whiteness is such that when one is taken to task it’s as if that esteem is threatened and the victim can quickly become the villain if they don’t help the offender make the whole thing go away. A white male went down, now somebody has to pay or at the very least, help America feel better about it. America has to feel that the ideal it holds for itself, or at least if it does wrong their critics are wrong, too. America must have an end to the conflicts and the answers better be quick, convenient and comfortable or else.

While responding to his remarks, Imus continued to press that his show was about comedy and he was not a journalist reporting the news. Because he didn’t make the remarks out of anger or drunkenness, it shouldn’t have pointed any fingers of racism at him. He said he didn’t make up the words he said but rather learned them from rappers and people like Spike Lee. In fact he had referenced Lee’s film wherein he heard the words wannabe’s (the ones who looked good and pretty) and jiggaboos (the ones who looked bad and hardcore – “nappy headed”).

He didn’t get it like others (especially the news anchors and journalist hosting discussions). This is typical in chronic abuse situations. However, the fact that he didn’t get it doesn’t take away the results. The expectation was that because it was supposed to funny, the sub-human people shouldn’t have had anything to say. He had access to a live open mike to a massive audience. What is frightening and dangerous is that those who are privileged are free to be woefully and arrogantly ignorant to everything and everyone around them. He didn’t have to think about things like the humanity of those athletes. It was not supposed to hurt – it didn’t hurt him, after all. Once however, their humanity and honor came out in the face of America and before the world there was a collective embarrassment to such a challenge to the moral decency it claims to be. There was no apology for days to follow.

Just as elemental in this scenario is the media, which did not use the “R” word regarding Imus’ remarks. Until those voicing the protest used the word and the sponsors pulled out it was only then the media used the word RACIST. At first, Imus words were reported to be “controversial”. I kept listening for the word, RACIST. In addition, corporate media didn’t pick up the protest led by Spelman and other community leaders when their demand for change could have been for the public good yet this same ignoring media wagged a finger asking why the protesters aren’t going after rappers. Rappers should be fired like Imus.

Media plays an important role in this chronic environment. It is the big voice that projects images and ideas for consumption in a way that other forms of communication aren’t able to do. What is projected through media is consumed as fact and truth partly because of the magnanimous way it functions. Media is corporate and so therefore is bound to project what is marketable. What corporate media projects in its big voice enables and enforces the powerlessness of the voiceless.

In addition, one of the many symptoms was the blame throwing to deflect the attention or to minimize what had happened. There was a need to punish or vilify others connected with the protest.

Even though it was the corporate media and Imus himself who went to Reverend Sharpton, he was accused of using this incident to make a spotlight for himself. Reverend Jesse Jackson was also accused of this. Tawana Brawley’s name and the word "hymietown" were evoked to fuel outrage against their protest against Imus’ remarks. What mattered was to throw the past deeds into the discussion to disqualify them especially after Sharpton met with CBS the same day CBS fired Imus. By the way, the firing by CBS is being blamed/credited to the pressure from Sharpton alone by some media agents. If the Reverends were so hypocritical, why have them on the air? Why did Imus go to Reverend Sharpton’s radio show?

It is typical that those impacted by chronic oppression will throw non-issues, insults, and hysteria into conflicts to be combative and confusing. The discussions and efforts will be sabotaged by accusation and upset to distract any effort at getting to the bottom of the problem. The point is to avoid the point and usually, all involved can get dragged into the psychotic fray going all off point and falling into argumentative traps. Buzzwords and code words are flammable and can be hot wired into white hostility and ignorance.

Racist addicts over the years had been gratified by the discourse of Imus talk. The taking down of their supplier of white access and entitlement brought the wrath of the addict causing a backlash of hysterical media and sending hate mail to the team and to those speaking out. Removing an addict from their drug of choice can bring on rage and all associated behaviors.

White rage is no joke. The white lynch mob can take a variety of literal and figurative forms. When the white egocentric world is interrupted, feels offended, rejected or threatened, that white rage can be unstoppable. When the target of white rage is chased there is no law, no reason, no doctrine or nobody that can turn it around. This is why a backlash by white support for Imus will not be stopped. The California radio station (per a report on MSNBC) that’s playing the best of Imus in protest of his firing will not be interested in a changed Imus, but the good ol’ Imus.

The notion of free speech blankets harmful speech only when it involves those who are not considered human. It takes an argument, debate or some other protesting action before the matter can even get minimal attention. Conflict and discomfort from the protest and resistance will be blamed on the victim or whistle blowers.

Perpetrators of other chronic crimes (serial killers, pedophiles, etc) are able to repeat their behaviors based on the freedom they feel allowed by a sense of access to their victims and entitlement to their gratifications giving them freedom and ability to act out their crimes. They can’t (won’t) distinguish or make connections to the harmful results. It didn’t hurt them so it shouldn’t have hurt anyone else. It isn’t the words of Imus alone but this applies to all those who seek enable the behavior by diminishing and trivializing the incident in his defense aka defense of the normalized racism. All the other good deeds, monies raised for charities don’t change anything.

Some years back there was a call to end what was called hate radio. Shock jock was a name given to the offending hosts. I remember the faces of Howard Stern, Don Imus and a “Black radio” talk show host, Imhotep Gary Byrd on a station in NY, WLIB on the front page of one of the New York newspapers. The big story was about the crack down on hate speech being broadcast on the air.

The call to end hate radio at the time was suspect even back then that this was really a move on black radio by another talk show host and activist, Bob Law. Black talk radio was a voice for Africans in America syndicated across the country. Networking and innovative approaches to education were shared. The audiences from various cities were able to talk about what was happening to them, their movements, systemic police brutalities and killings. Histories that had been left out of educational institutions and materials revealed information that threatened the esteem of those in power. TOO MUCH COMMUNICATION!!! Black talk radio had to go.

Don Imus and Howard Stern not only kept their shows, but also kept the format, which became more fired up as new shock jocks came aboard with new shows. The bad boys of radio seemingly got their wrists slapped. It wasn’t the first time Imus radio talk resulted in underserved assault on others. The networks and sponsors looked away or laughed along all the way to the bank. But for certain, the format for WLIB, the station where there was live call in black radio hosted by Imhotep Gary Byrd was replaced by another format. People could still call in, but the discussion and the format was radically changed.

At about that time rappers Public Enemy had a video, “Burn Hollywood, Burn”. Some people had a fit at the mention of Jewish mobsters in Hollywood being responsible for the racist images in the film industry (now these days the History Channel will tell you all about the hold Jewish mobsters had on Hollywood). There were other rappers and others publishing books, writing poetry, etc encouraging the audiences to learn, think and challenge injustice such as KRS1 Boogie Down Productions “You Must Learn”, and Leaders of the New School. Those groups who did not denigrate women were eliminated from the backing given to groups who bragged about getting’ paid, their diamonds, cars and objectified women by the corporate record labels. Eventually a new market for another type of rap and radio took over the major communication media.

It is also a common experience among those in oppressive systems not to be able to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate actions (like good touch/bad touch). There were discussions in the media around who is allowed to say what with regard to popular language, which includes racial slurs. It really isn’t difficult but victims of chronic abuse can be so intellectually and logically incapacitated when it comes to common thoughts that very simple ideas can be a great mystery.

What is said, how it is said, the motivation, and the purpose very much matters with regard to the communication. Of course, this requires thought, competence, and moral consciousness. When Spike Lee used terms like jigaboo and wannabees in the film School Daze, the intent was to provoke thought around certain issues. I say this not knowing how to read Spike Lee’s mind, however, the entire context of the film brought about specific ideas.

When Imus used words with no apparent understanding of what was behind those issues against specific people who he does not know, it is very different. Simply repeating what one heard somebody else say is a ridiculous defense. When a bat-wielding individual brutalizes someone on a public street and beats him while calling him a racist epithet, the attack is not cleared of its racist violence because the batboy was a fan of rap and heard the word in the music as his attorney tried to incredibly justify.

Ain’t No New Thing, the title of a poem by Gil Scott Heron illustrates how throughout history so-called white people have mimicked African people in America by copying creative ideas and intellectual property. It is typical that “white” people copy the styles, vernacular and other expressions of the culture. On another level, Lloyd Boston published a book about the historical trend setting fashions of African men, which were borrowed. Dress, music and dance have been copied and imitated time and again. So it isn’t surprising to hear words mimicked and repeated especially when “white males” are young, rebellious, coming into their own testosterone. There were some who even at one time called themselves “wiggers” to make it clear how they wanted to project themselves. All ages and walks of life also used words like “my dog”, “thug”, “peeps”, etc.

However, there is another layer of this “Ain’t No New Thing”. A professor, Dr. Levine, from a California university said in a documentary about white entertainers in blackface that it seemed as though “white people needed to release themselves as black.” Why this comment struck me was because of the contempt that typically merges with the obsession. Frat parties in blackface (complete with a lynched black effigy), parading firefighters in blackface, high school talent shows in blackface were supposed to be fun and the participants at times expressed confusion at the objection and hostility by those who came to their defense. A specific confrontation must be made to examine this toxic relationship between black and white, the conflicts and related triggers.

It isn’t simply a matter of rappers inventing the negative words (which is incorrect), but how and why others choose to repeat them. Stopping or censuring rappers isn’t the answer. That requires a totally different kind of address. But certainly using the fact that one is repeating words used in other contexts is no defense.

If the cause of a symptom is not resolved, the symptom will not go away and can’t be controlled away. Much of the language heard in rap came out of resistance and the telling about experiences that were ignored or suppressed. Demanding that record labels “fire” the rappers is just silly. Remember, the art form started in the parks and communities in the Bronx – not at fancy record label headquarters. Rappers started out by selling their tapes in local and available venues. There is too much money to be made and the corporations are not about to miss out. So simply forcing or controlling a ban on what is not acceptable won’t work. Don’t like the supply? Then stop the demand.

To say America is about power, race and money is to threaten the idealistic notions this society has about itself. Even though there may have been the power to change and manipulate events, the truth cannot be denied. This is pure science. What would happen if there was such a country where brutality, exploitation, violent racism, hegemony and oppression prevailed? What kind of country would that be? America is dysfunction in a specimen jar.

A great society isn’t a perfect society, but rather what it does in the face of conflict, how the conflict is processed and how the conflict is resolved,

What happens in a family of repeated abuse and dysfunction generation after generation? The result of repeated abuse and oppression is the destruction of everything and everyone. The consequences evolve into massive reactions of collective grief, collective rage, collective depression, collective despair and collective desperation out of which come seemingly unexplainable disasters and tragedies. Society will collectively react, miscalculate and continue the cycle so that everything will happen all over again.

We also have a collective ability to make choices to bring about collective change. Chronic oppression requires our participation in the behaviors, relationships and rationalizations. It is clear that such a revolution will not bring big profit shares, uphold invented superiorities or preserve domination so it will take the will and determination of our individual power to once and for all, be free and at peace.

Asiba Tupahache
PO Box 987
Dover, DE 19903
© 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

On Imus and White Supremacy's Reaction to his Firing

I've been reading/listening to the news and see that many of us are following the reaction of white supremacists to the firing of Imus. People classified as white always stage a "quiet riot" after Blackpeople "win" anything. After the Civil War it was the KKK, after Brown v. Board, it was Little Rock, after OJ Simpson, they remained adamant that he was "guilty", yet could prove nothing.

So today, we find that after the white boy gets fired for his racist remarks against Blackwomen, (not just the Rutgers women), white folks accuse Us of being hypocrital when it comes to the use of the "bitch", "ho", and "dawg" to describe Ourselves and place Sharpton and Jackson at the head of the hypocristy.

Now for some facts which are often ignored when we drink the vomit of white supremacy.

1. 28 organizations condemned Imus' remarks (many of them white) and not just Jackson's Rainbow Coalition and Sharpton's National Action Network. The white supremacists want you to think that Imus' firing was orchestrated by Sharpton and Jackson, because *they* are the only two "Black leaders" recognized by a white public woefully ignorant of the rich and varied leadership in the Black community.

2. Sharpton and Jackson have consistently condemned the use of such language by rappers AND the white corporations that pay them to utter this filth. It has not only been Sharpton and Jackson, but Minister Louis Farrakhan who has met, organized and attempted to dissuade *all* rappers from using the degrading language, e.g., "I got a ho in every zip code", used by some rappers, and not all. There is no hypocrisy on *their* part (Sharpton & Jackson) because they have a long history of such condemnation.

3. We need to stop uttering any words that degrade Us. "Nigger", "Nigga", "Bitch", "Ho", "Dawg", etc., and understand that MCA, SONY, Def Jam, etc., are all run by people classified as white with Blackpuppets in front of them, who pay millions of dollars to young Brothers and Sisters who are taken advantage of because they are victims of white supremacy and are deprived of understanding who they are in a white supremacist world. CONDEMN THE WHITE FOLK WHILE YOU CONDEMN THE BLACK FOLKS WHO HAVE CONSISTENTLY OPPOSED SUCH LANGUAGE.

4. The face of hip hop has become Snoop, but what about Dead Prez, "old school" (a term I despise) Public Enemy, Talib Kweli or NYOil? Most of the white folks (and an increasing number of Black folks believing the hype) can't name two hip hop groups/artists who CONDEMN this garbage because they believe that all hip-hop is what the iconic Snoop says it is.

5. STOP USING THE WORDS YOURSELF and CONDEMN those in your company who do. Watch the reaction when you do. It will be an expression of disgust as you tell them why you have rejected the white supremacy that this society forced upon all of Us to degrade Ourselves.

6. The Sharpton, Jackson AND the Blackwomen of Rutgers basketball team *are receiving death threats* even as I write this (see and If past is prologue, the white supremacists MUST retaliate in response to what has happened to a white male that they adore. Who is the hypocrite? These young women AND Sharpton and Jackson did absolutely nothing but attempt to replace white supremacy with justice. That's all. Period. End of sentence, yet *they* are becoming targets of the same vicious hate that oozes out of the pores of white supremacy's body and are attempting to exact revenge on whom they *PERCEIVE* as the source of thwarting Imus' white supremacy. It is the same ***American*** violence that killed Martin Luther King, who had Fanni Lou Hamer beaten senseless, who hosed down pregnant women in Birmingham, who castrated Blackmen who attempted to escape from enslavement, who raped Blackwomen who defied them and who threatens Our Afrikan Queens who staged the most glorious comeback in NCAA women's basketball history at Rutgers. See the big picture folks and not small and white supremacist "news" you see/hear on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. It's the vomit of white supremacy, wanting YOU to think that this is all OUR problem and deflect criticism away from the white supremacy that is at the root of this vulgar and racist nation.

7. As the *conscious* Flava Flav would have said, "Don't believe the hype"...