Just like Drug or Alcohol addiction

I guess I’m piggybacking on my colleague B-Serious’ post. Don Imus really isn’t the issue…but Racism and Bigotry are.

I was reading an email I received from Dr. Boyce Watkins of Your Black World, and while I appreciate he’s madder than a wet hen that Imus’ punishment for his on air bigotry, especially the “nappy-headed hoes” comments; not to mention the agitation of Jesse and Al to get Imus off the air and unemployed, only resulted in Imus being off the air for six months or so. He still collected a check from MSNBC, because he sued and got his money because he still had a contract with the network. Even though he breached it.

If any of you have listened to Don Imus over the years, his on-air bigotry is nothing new. The continual feeding of it through venues like Imus, Fox Network and yeah, even CNN tried to go there (until they learned that people of color actually watch them and they started losing in the ratings wars) indicates that, despite America’s protests of being free and equal, she has an addiction to racism and bigotry, like an alcoholic has an addition; like a drug addict has an addiction.

America’s history demonstrates her addiction – from slavery, to spitting on us after Reconstruction (thank you, Rutherford B. Hayes); from the advent of the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow, to rolling back the gains from Affirmative Action, Civil Rights Movements and Diversity initiatives and efforts – all have come forth as a result of bigotry and racism. And, just like an addict, America can’t seem to help herself.

Dr. Watkins said it best – and it gave me the idea for the post:

So, the networks continue to insult black people and there are no consequences. Personally, I am getting tired of this crap. What is most ironic is that no matter what anyone says about black people on the air (lynching Michelle Obama, killing Barack Obama, calling Mrs. Obama a Baby’s mama, calling Barack a terrorist, or calling black women Nappy headed hoes), someone is always there from the right wing willing to rationalize this behavior (some, like Juan Williams, are even black). It reminds me of a relative I had with a drinking problem. No matter how much you pointed out his weakness, he always had an explanation. America’s addiction to racism is a lot like the addictions of my uncle.

What Juan Williams and his “brotha” Armstrong does; what LaShawn Barber and Angela McGlowan do; what Star Parker, Shelby Steele, Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter and others do, is enable the addict, rather than coordinating an “Intervention” and confronting them on their bigotry. And we know why. They’re equally addicted to their paychecks and their feelings of being superior to other people of color because they’re afforded the “privilege” of being “the only one” in the room…full of bigots and racists, but hey, it’s all good if you’re getting paid.

Addiction is a vicious cycle; it usually starts by trying to numb feelings and response to some event in one’s life that is traumatic and too painful for them to remember and deal with. Or, it could start very innocuously; through recreational use, and then life starts to happen, with painful, traumatic, unable-to-cope with moments that pile up and you give up. Having presented my thumbnail sketch of my opinion of addiction, I have to say that America has this addiction to wanting to keep people separated on some sort of self-created standard that those to whom it is imposed, never asked for.

Where has someone like Imus, Hannity and their ilk, been traumatized by people of color? What was the painful event? And just how painful was it that they have to revert to type and addiction and engage in bigotry and racism again?

Imus himself, really isn’t the issue. The networks who continue to tolerate him on the air, and expect us to buy the products advertised by the companies buying air time on his shows, while they continue to insult us, is the issue. I said at the time Jesse and Al had their agitations, that it would all be for nothing unless getting Imus off the air sent the message to Hannity, O’Reilly, Michael “Weiner” Savage, and others spewing talk radio, that racism and bigotry wouldn’t be tolerated, by hitting them in the pocketbooks.

You can cut off an addict, but until all avenues available to the addict are cut off and the addict is forced to actually address and deal with his addictions, all they do is find another enabler, another source of supply to feed their addictions. That’s what Don Imus did. And since he’s an actual recovering addict, one would think that Don Imus has the 12-step program principals tattooed on his chest as a reminder.

The question is how do we cut America off from her drug of bigotry and racism? How do we get her into recovery? What do we do to keep her from a relapse? How do we force her past denial of her addiction, or allow her to keep making excuses for it?

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