Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hoops, Not Ho's!

Playing incredible defense to reach the NCAA national championship, Rutgers' Scarlet Knights women's basketball team fell to a formidable Tennessee team headed by all All-American Candace Parker and the all time winningest NCAA Basketball coach Pat Summit.

You would think being the second best team in all the land would bring the Rutgers team the accolades they so deserve. Instead the student-athletes have spent the past weeks dealing with the deplorable racist and sexist remarks of radio personality Don Imus.

"That's some nappy-headed hos there" went an Imus' response to a just as disgusting remark by his executive producer. Imus further went on to say "[a]nd the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know..." Later in misogynistic banter between Imus and his cohorts, the Scarlet Knights were described as looking like an all male NBA team.

Don Imus' despicable comments were immediately called out by civil rights leaders and organizations. The NAACP and others demanded his show be dropped by broadcasters. Such pressure resulted in a feeble apology from the radio personality and a belated two week suspension of Imus' simulcast by CBS and NBC.

Not called out is how the comments about Tennessee's Lady Volunteers were just as offensive. Rather than praising their academic success or athletic prowess, Imus is concerned with them "look[ing] cute." Fitting Imus' and his white male associates' narrow notions of beauty allowed Tennessee's players to escape the racist comments reserved for the Rutgers Team, but still suffer under the oppression of sexism.

It is precisely the double oppression of racism and sexism that women of color suffer every day under capitalism. "This has scarred me for life," said Rutgers' guard Matee Ajavon. "I've dealt with racism before. For it to be in the public eye like this, it will be something I will tell my granddaughter."

This controversy occurs in an atmosphere in which Title IX, which provides for advancement of academic, athletic, and other opportunities for collegiate women, has been under attack by the Bush administration since 2003.

The whole incident is summed up by Rutgers' star center Kia Vaughn: "I'm not a ho, I'm a woman. I'm someone's child. It hurts a lot."

We need to continue fighting for a society where women of color and women as a whole never have to experience racism or sexism of any kind.

PS: a friend sent the following to me on April 13, 2007. Dave is a great guy, and a huge inspiration to me since many leftists eschew sports.
Don Imus and the State of Women's Sports
Memo to Imus: You're Fired


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