I don’t know why all these people are up in arms about Dom Imus’ stupid comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Radio owners and program directors tolerate racist comments from Milwaukee’s glittering radio wing-nuts all the time and no one seems to give a rip.
In fact, Charlie Sykes, while talking about the Imus incident and pretending to care about the women affected this morning, called Al Sharpton a "pimp".
That’s right, he called a strong black man a pimp. Just like Mark Belling called Hispanics "wetbacks" a couple of years ago. But nothing ever happens. And these and other radio clowns continue to be treated like legitimate commentators.
The wing-nut talking points after the Imus controversy reached fever pitch yesterday included the tactic of deflection, in which the squawkers pretend to agree that the behavior is bad, but try to deflect the problem on to someone else. All day yesterday, wing-nuts national and local criticized Imus, but also made what they pretended were brilliant points by claiming that Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, who were again out-front on an important racial issue, were no better.
This morning, Sykes was pretending to admire the Rutgers women during their press conference when the Sharpton talking-point flashed in his head. The women, he said, were worth trying to accommodate but not the "race-baiting pimp" Sharpton.
The term "pimp" in reference to black men is certainly offensive, the male corollary of the offensive "ho" label used by Imus. In the Washington Post this morning, Eugene Robinson explains the recent history and offensiveness of "ho" and suggests that it be retired as "hateful" reference to black women. The same can and should be said about Sykes’ use of the word "pimp" to childishly diminish Al Sharpton. He takes all kinds of cheap shots at his white liberal targets, but he wouldn’t call a white guy a "pimp".
My guess is, even if anyone notices this or if someone else takes up the issue, Sykes will skate, as usual. Just a couple of months ago, he deliberately "misunderstood" Michael McGee, Jr., claiming he said "Jew cops" when he was saying "Jude cops", even after listening to and prepping the sound bite for discussion with one of his lofty panels. He apologized and that was supposed to be that, and it was.
My guess is he won’t even bother apologizing or even acknowledging the issue, unless someone "major" picks it up. Don Imus has always taken hits for his stupidity through the years. But, in the insular and protective local environment of the Milwaukee media, Sykes cannot be touched, no matter how outrageous and, yes, racist.