The I-Mess, as media-types are calling the controversy surrounding Don Imus and his racist/sexist comments about the Rutger’s women’s basketball team, has really gotten under my skin. I have followed the story and posted my opinions at my other blog, Amicus Dei — here, here, and here.
Here’s what happened, just in case you’ve been on a desert island for the past week: On Wednesday, April 4, Don Imus and his producer commented about the Rutger’s women’s basketball team, with Imus calling them “nappy-headed hos.” A firestorm of reaction has been building since then. Black journalists, black media personalities, and black leaders are outraged and calling for Imus to resign or be fired. But have you noticed anything here?
Where are the white pastors and evangelical leaders? Strangely silent. The conventional wisdom seems to be “this is a black thing and let’s stay out of it.”
But this is not just a black thing. It is a human-thing. I have two daughters and two granddaughters. I am outraged that a major radio personality — on two major broadcast networks with an audience of millions of listeners in the United States of America in the year 2007 — can call intelligent, capable young women athletes “nappy-headed hos.”
If we as pastors believe that all persons are created in the image of God, then this indignity cannot pass without our protest. The networks have responded by suspending Imus for two weeks, advertisers are responding by pulling ads, but where is the evangelical voice? Where are white pastors and church leaders? Why haven’t we joined the chorus for civility in the public arena?
No wonder the world looks at the evangelical community in disbelief. It doesn’t take a lot of courage to say we will not tolerate the degradation of fellow human beings, especially on the public airwaves. In their press conference yesterday, the young women of Rutgers exhibited far more courage, grace, and dignity over this issue than we as evangelicals have been able to muster. Hopefully we will come to this issue, better late than never.