Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Imus controversy has been misfocused

Ishmael Reed sez:
Imus griped that he was a victim of the African-American male culture, where, according to a man who has a lengthy record of making misogynist remarks, men mistreat women. Yet a recent SUNY study reveals a different reality: white men commit most of the assaults upon women in this country. According to the study conducted by Lois Weiss, professor of education at the University of Buffalo, and Michelle Fine, professor of social psychology in the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, white women are afraid to talk about the abuse. Weiss and Fine found that 92 percent of the white women interviewed said that "serious domestic violence" had been directed against them, their mothers and/or sisters, either in their birth households or in later relationships. By comparison, 62 percent of black female subjects reported similar levels of violence in their lives. The authors of the study said that they were surprised because these were white women largely from middle class homes. On the other hand, there has been a steady reduction in the murder of black women by their husbands and boyfriends, while the murder rate of women by white men has remained about the same. One of the reasons for the falling rate of domestic abuse among blacks is that black women are more likely to retaliate. This drop in black domestic violence has been reported in The New York Times, yet the face of domestic violence in the pages of the Times continues to be painted black. Do you suppose that MSNBC will ever conduct a "National Dialogue" about white domestic violence? Maybe Newsweek? One of its writers, Evan Thomas, recently told Imus' audience that black men in the inner city enjoy beating up their women.

Given the remarks about women made by Imus' stable of Celtic-American commentators, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that women in Celtic-American households have a harder time than women in black households. And what about Imus' constant on air berating of his wife Deidre as a "whore" and a "moron?" Why isn't this kind of verbal battery reported domestic abuse?
We'll be treated to a continuous onslaught about the language of rap for the next few months, even though the lyrical content is no worse than what one finds in country music (a genre notorious for its misogyny and violent imagery). If we really want to have fun with Celtic-American culture, let's remind ourselves of the joke about how at a stock car race one can count all the blonde-haired women without at least one black eye on one hand. I doubt too many of our media friends would be all that eager to censor country lyrics (or perhaps ban NASCAR videogames from the kiddies). Nah. We'll just blame it all on the Blacks yet again.

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