Friday, October 22, 2010

Jawn Murray/Don Imus: Two Sides of the Same Disrespectful Coin

When did disrespect become differentiated into categories of severity based on who it comes from? When did we get to the point that it's acceptable for us to demean and disrespect one another? Jawn Murray, a gossip columnist for the Tom Joyner Morning Show and AOL Black Voices put a post on Twitter stating that "militant nappy headed angry black women" need to get a life and get a perm. I could not believe my eyes when I read it. I was wondering where all of that venom for black women came from. It was reminiscent of Don Imus' comments about the Rutgers women's basket ball team when he referred to them as "nappy headed hoes". In fact it was the equivalent. Using their platforms, Jawn and Don took a group of women and categorized them in a negative light. The only difference was the way the black journalists handled it. When Don Imus made his infamous remarks, everyone including Tom Joyner called for his dismissal from his show. They called for African Americans to boycott the sponsors of Imus' show until he was fired. With regard to Jawn Murray....they did and said nothing. Jawn Murray works for media outlets whose target audiences are African Americans. It was not addressed by any African American media outlet or African American media personality. There was no outrage by the African Americans in the media. In fact many have posted Twitter posts to Jawn showing their support. Jawn Murray posted a half hearted apology on youtube where he essentially said, "I'm sorry if you were offended". Not once did he acknowledge that it was wrong and that he shouldn't have said it. He put the responsibility onto the people that he offended.

Why is this? Why is it ok for Jawn Murray to disrespect black women but not Don Imus or any other non black person? Why am I as a black woman expected to just let it roll off of my back and keep it moving? Why should I accept a hollow apology from him? I don't know when and how these decisions were made but they are completely without my consent. Disrespect is the same no matter whom or where it comes from. I and many black women have not "consented" to being disrespected by ANYONE. If the African Americans in the media are truly crusaders of the equality and well being of African Americans, they should crusade regardless of whom or what color the transgressor is. If it was necessary for Don Imus to lose his job, I believe the same punishment should be leveled against Jawn Murray and anyone else who dares to do this again. It's disappointing to see how passively this situation is being handled. I was and still am outraged. Because it became obvious that I couldn't rely on the African Americans in the media to step up and address this, I forwarded his tweet to every conservative station and media personality I could think of. My hope is that they will be so intrigued by the hypocrisy of it all that they won't be able to help jumping on it like a dog with a bone. If the African Americans in the media have to be shamed into addressing this....then so be it.

And I will make NO apologies for that.