Was firing Don Imus the right call? What’s been gained — or lost? Once the frenzy over Imus’s comments and CBS’ decision to cancel “Imus in the Morning” has ceased, how else might we continue discussions about sexism and racism in the media — and promote the inclusion of women’s voices in those conversations? Click on the comments link below to add your thoughts. We’ll continue to post links to related aftermath stories on the jump page.

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Selling Sex & Sports Isn’t Working: “[Mary Jo] Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, and [Heather] Maxwell, a doctoral student, are finding that using sex to sell women’s sports doesn’t draw more men to games — and it offends the core audience,” writes Rachel Blount, describing a newly released study funded in part by the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Beyond Imus — It’s the Hypocrisy, Stupid!: “The fall-out from such destructive divide-and-conquer reporting implies that African American male leaders cared, but women of all other ethnicities did not,” writes Robin Morgan at the Women’s Media Center.

Shock Jocks Wield Dangerous “Stereotype Threat”: “Research suggests that it isn’t as easy as we’d like to think to ignore the power of stereotypes,” writes Caryl Rivers. “They are insidious, like tiny microbes that come in through our pores and get under our skin without our noticing. And they are powerful little germs.”

Remark Renews Old Hip-Hop Debate: “It’s not just a hip-hop thing; it’s an American cultural thing, this celebration of coarseness and incivility,” T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting tells the Baltimore Sun, in this look at activism against misogyny in hip-hop. “Women in this culture have been reduced to sex and beauty, and many of us don’t seem to know we have options.”

Debate About Imus Isn’t Just About Words: “It’s a bum rap to say, as some of my e-mailers have claimed, that black people haven’t protested sexism, racism and gangsterism in rap music,” writes Clarence Page, citing the efforts of Spellman College students, Queen Latifah and the late C. Delores Tucker  (and there are many others). “But positive efforts like that have sadly little impact in the mainstream media or mainstream white culture.”

Marketplace of Incivility: “The Imus flap broke over the airwaves just as another such controversy about personal attacks — about verbal sticks and stones, about codes of conduct and misconduct — was roiling over the Internet,” writes Ellen Goodman. “Over the years, some convergence of gangsta rappers and shock jocks and bloggers has given more and more people license to use words that were once washed out with soap, or blocked with bleeps.”

Rutgers Team Accepts Imus’s Apology – “…. we are in the process of forgiving,” C. Vivian Stringer read from a team statement Friday morning. “These comments are indicative of greater ills in our culture. It is not just Mr. Imus, and we hope that this will be and serve as a catalyst for change.”

A Needed Conversation: “What’s needed in the Rutgers-Imus affair, and on the subjects of racism and sexism in general, is not silence but talk, lots of it, and what’s needed in women’s basketball is a promoter,” writes Sally Jenkins. “I know just the guy for the job.”

Gender Discrimination in Sports: Don Imus and the Shaming of the Fan – “It’s not that Imus’ remarks weren’t racist – but the American media has harped on ‘nappy-headed’ while mostly ignoring ‘hos,'” writes Sarah Braunstein. “The double-edged insult begs for double-edged coverage, but women are the only ones who seem willing to talk about the gender implications.”

Who’s Talking About Imus – The National Women’s Editorial Forum kept track of the analysts invited to discuss Imus on television news programs. Surprise: it was mostly men

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  • Katie April 13, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    Well, even if it was a purely financial decision, that would be an accomplishment — in the sense that there was enough pressure on the sponsors to pull out.
    What bothered me the most about the week was when I would hear news anchors say to the people they were interviewing — so why isn’t anyone protesting all the same language in hip hop? I heard Tucker Carlson on MSNBC and Anderson Cooper on CNN ask some form of that question.
    Now, I was certainly bothered by the fact that they were equating what a white news commentator like Imus was doing with what a creative musical artist was doing. That’s not to say the sexism in (some forms of)hip hop isn’t deplorable — it’s just to say that criticizing/censoring that form of expression requires a different set of tools.
    But what bothered me more was that I knew of plenty of projects and campaigns — from the African American and hip hop communities themselves — that were very active on the issue. Off the top of my head, I can think of Byron Hurt’s video project (“Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes”) and Essence magazine’s campaign.
    What was unfortunate of the Essence project is that I feel the mainstream (white) media didn’t pick it up (and now they don’t think it exists, apparently). How do we get a project like that to have the same prominence as, say, NBC Nightly News’ “Fleecing of America” segments or Lou Dobbs’ immigration obsession?

    Reply
  • Jessica April 13, 2007 at 12:10 am

    I think CBS gave in to sponsors (or lack thereof). While I like to think this will have an effect on our culture, I wonder if we’ll really see an improvement in radio and online discourse six months from now.

    Reply