I am proud of the courage our president of NBC News, Steve Capus, has shown in making this difficult decision. I'm gratified by the hundreds of e-mails I've received thanking me for my stance. And I appreciated the other hundreds of e-mails I got that were less than complimentary. Why?
A line has been drawn as to what is acceptable and what will not be tolerated. A dialog has been started about race in our country. An opportunity has been created to start holding responsible those who produce and broadcast offensive music lyrics, both rap and rock, that denigrate and marginalize women.
We can use this time to really look at ourselves and dig deep to create a world that our children will be proud to inherit. Diversity, inclusion and acceptance are great goals to strive for.
For all those who think this punishment is too harsh, consider having to explain to your daughter why someone would call a person they didn't know, a "nappy headed ho". And by the way, for all those people who posit that the phrase is rooted in the black community, it is not. My childhood neighborhood of St. Albans, Queens, is a middle-class neighborhood. People keep their homes neat and their lawns mowed. I never heard the word "ho" in my neighborhood or in my parents' home. To this day, when I go back to take my kids to see their grandmother, there aren't young black men on the corner calling women "hos".
In the end, this is not about Don Imus or his producer, Bernard McGuirk, who often set the ugly and hateful tone of the "comedy" bits they produced. The ten young women of the Rutgers Women’s basketball team showed how unjust and wrong the humor of the Imus program is. Mr. Imus says he's a good person who said a bad thing. That may be true. Certainly his charity work speaks to that. But just as he wants to be judged on what he does, he must also be judged on what he says and what he has said, both on and off the air. Mr. McGuirk contends he's not a racist, even though he spews racist invective because, in his words, he grew up around black people. Hmmm. So did Strom Thurmond.