Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Language Police Cometh…

My leg still hurts, which is why I’m probably incapable of bullshit right now.

Let’s limp right on in, shall we?

The Language Police Cometh…
As predictable as taxes and death, the second some motherfucker says something inappropriate on television and/or radio this bitch gets a ton of anonymous comments or e-mails about why we need to ban certain words.

I don’t know Don Imus and this bitch is willing to bet he doesn’t know about me, but obviously the issue of language in the community is on the table once again.

I don’t support banning words. I’d like this to be a world where my blog doesn’t average an anonymous n-word comment a day…but I do not support banning words.

Banning people? Hmmm. But that’s for another post.

Now, if I had a dollar for every long skirt wearing, Wednesday and Sunday all day church attending, well-read yet still misunderstood bible carrying sistah who took more time to communicate her dislike of my blog title than she has ever taken to participate in the community she alleges to defend against me I’d own CBS Radio!

Regulating language...no matter who is using it... doesn’t get anyone off the hook for what we do or fail to do in our communities.

My brothers and sisters we need to engage our community with consistency and authenticity, not only when some asshole on the radio touches a nerve.

We need to be a part of the community rather than visit it for some music or yummified food once a month.

And I don’t give a hot damn how many marches we have, how many candidates with Harvard law degrees run for president or how many Oscars are won…social change requires regular folks like you and this bitch getting off of our asses, jumping into our SisterGirl Cabrios and driving to the ‘hood, getting out of the car and participating in the lives of others.

Shit, some of y'all live in the hood and still don’t participate!

Mercy.

When you listen to offensive hip hop or rap music on the radio do you take the time to discuss how you feel about it with your friends and family? Do you take the time to use that song about sport fucking as a dialogue inspiring moment within your circle of people about HIV/AIDS or any of the other STDs making a comeback in Black America? Or how about the connection between teen pregnancy and economic empowerment after watching a movie or television show depicting casual unprotected sex?

Oooh, how about a discussion of reproductive choice after watching back to back erectile dysfunction commercials run in prime time but not seeing a single damned contraceptive ad run all day?

How about calling the general manager of a radio station for a sit down instead of preaching to no one about how bad the songs are? And no…uh uh, you do not need to be an anointed man of the civil rights era to advocate on behalf of your community. I'm not saying that urban radio will pull objectionable songs off air...but they might add more educational segments, discuss issues like sex and disease in the local community and begin to use that mega watt stick for more than making money hand over fist.

Cough.

In conclusion, the language police cometh and then they flee again. But "community" is a 24/7 thing…it requires care and affection not the same judgmental bullshit.

And hey, this bitch would love some people of color company in the mentoring/shelter volunteering/life-skills class teaching/voter registration and education tackling clique. Drop me an e-mail and I'll point you in the right direction in St. Louis.

You feel me on that then we’re already speaking the same language…but I don't have time for the same old ban the word jive.

25 comments:

cmhspark said...

keep up your bitchitude!!! critics be damned!

evilganome said...

I just wanted to say thank you. I am trying to write my own rant on the whole Imus thing. I can't like what he said, but I can't like censorship either. I'd rather know what the assholes are thinking, than let them sneak around under the radar. I'm just sayin'.

GayProf said...

The desire to ban words makes me very nervous. In a similar way, I am very leery over legislation on "hate speech." To me, this only makes hate speech more powerful because it becomes something to fear and/or police.

Still, free speech doesn't necessarily mean that everybody/anybody should be guaranteed a national venue for that speech. There is a difference between exercising that right to free speech (even if it is hateful) and getting paid for it. . . It's a tough call.

Whatever the case, I really like this entry.

Dior Addict said...

I enjoyed this entry because it stressed that people should do a little more practicing than preaching. Hypocrites run among us asking for us to stop offending them without stopping to think
A) Try might be offending me with their holier than thou lecture and B)If you don't like what I write, Don't Read it.
I for one appreciate the value of your realness.

thatfarmgirl said...

Hip Hip Hooray! I knew I could count on ABB as a refuge from all the hype.

MzMannerz said...

AMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMENAMEN!!!!

YOU need a radio show! I'm just sayin'.

Sassywho said...

I was struggling with this for a while now, I'm not comfortable with censorship either but I love your idea of using it as a platform to gasp.... talk.

Anonymous said...

girl, thank you.

kirbzillaman said...

Angry Bitch you are right on point. And regarding n-words and hip hop's depictions of stuff from life: if it wasn't for rappers, nothing would get discussed by the civil rights types like Jesse and Al. Imus got folks talkin' about race and sexism, two words rarely seen in media. And if it wasn't for NWA back in '86 coming with "Gangsta Gangsta" and "Fuck Da Police" nobody save for the victims would have cared about gang violence and police violence in our communities. Also firing people and banning language has unintended consequences and tends to boomerang back (in parts of Canada, anti-porn legislation has lead to Lesbian Feminist bookstores facing obscenity charges for have love manuals and "Our Bodies, Ourselves).

Really, all this stuff is about avoiding intractable, difficult issues like institutional racism, and racism in sentencing and other parts of the criminal injustice system, and class issues and how race intersects them.

No, it's easier to blame everything on young black men chanting in rhythm. And Imus.

Anonymous said...

Preach it sistah! This comment is a retread, but it bears repeating:

What really pisses me off about all this is that it is hard to take Don Imus seriously, at least at this level. I mean, in some sense, listening to Imus, which I have enjoyed doing, is simply to take an excursion into the theatre of the absurd: no harm, no foul, right? Some ostensible adults indulging in middle school playground banter: so what?

OTOH, you got these genuine right-wing racist, classist whackos who continue to do their thing, guys (and gals) like Limbaugh, Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Dennis Miller, Ann Coulter, Joe Scarborough, and the rest, who MEAN to be taken seriously, and are. I mean, one of them lives in the goddamn WHITE HOUSE, for Christ's sake. Given this crew of fascist "hos and gangstas," Imus and his stupid-ass, Hunter Thompson-on-crack foot-in-mouth comments are the least of the MSM's problems, not to mention the country's.

Okay, fine, so Imus is history. Now can the above-named dirtbags and all their ilk, including the lunatics running the asylum that is the White House.

Nicholas said...

Banning words is like burning books: the enemy of a free society. People can be made to feel ashamed at using certain words, but should not be forbidden by law to do so.

EverydaySuperGoddess said...

Words CAN be powerful. That's why they wrote that whole freedom of speech thing into the constitution.

But I also believe that if more people followed your example and walked the walk instead of simply talking the talk, this would would be a remarkably better place.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I do so agree that wiping any forms of speech out is the beginning of all hell breaking loose.

Personally, I'd like DI to retire to his ranch and go through the twelve steps again. . . or for the first time.

I like to see my enemies in the light of day. So how will we know who's who--and where it's safe to put your shoes if the likes of Imus, Limbaugh, Savage, O'Reilly, Malkin, Beck and Coulter are silenced? Although I'd breathe easier if I never had to hear their bull**** ever again . . . .

But I do feel a need for retribution--as it is every woman he denigrates everyday. Maybe a change from the hatemongering, shock jock, idiot male dominated talk radio that should be doused with warning signs that you should protect yourself and loved ones from the oncoming misogynistic, racist, homophobic, xenophobic tripe that is about to be perpetrated.

It won't work--but such is life. . . .

Limecrete said...

OK, but this doesn't mean we have to give up the yummified food, does it? Because Sweetie Pie's is calling me.

claire said...

I have been a reader from afar in awhile and thought you and your readers might enjoy this post by a friend of mine on language, harm and who we are willing to stand up for:
http://afrogeekmom.blogspot.com/index.html

Maya's Granny said...

There are some words that can be a sacrament when used one way and a blasphemy when used another. Bitch is certainly one of those.

If you forbid the blasphemy, you forbid the sacrament. Not a good idea.

Gunfighter said...

I feel you, baby!

I blogged about the same thing yesterday!

Come and see me... I'll be the guy with his fist in the air!

Black Muse said...

Cool post and blog. I feel you.

Agent Change said...

I haven't checked your site in awhile, but I'm glad to be back.

This is bracing stuff.

Thanks.

konagod said...

I'm one of the few bloggers who didn't mention Imus in a post on my blog but I've sure been busy leaving comments.

This isn't about censorship and it really isn't directly about Imus and his apparent distaste for nappy hair; it's about MONEY.

Had the big corporate sponsors not pulled out, he'd still be on there spewing daily. When corporations start pulling the money plug, heads start to roll.

But he's still a free man to go forth and say whatever the hell he wants to say. And I'll defend his right to say it. Just not on MY dime.

YankeeZulu said...

ABB, I love your work.

Got to say, however, that I disagree with the way I see this discussion being framed, here and elsewhere in the 'sphere.

Point One: The Don Imus Debacle (DID) wasn't an issue of censorship or "banning words"; censorship is the government telling you what you can or can't say. The Constitution gives us a right to free speech; it doesn't give us the right to make $100K a year to talk into a subsidized microphone, which is what Imus did while he was at work. It should be self-evident that insulting your boss at work will get you fired; it happens all the time, no one cries censorship, and nor should they.

Point Two: Speaking of insulting your boss, that's exactly what Imus did (albeit indirectly) -- and the fact that it got him out the door seems to suggest that Black folks are making at least *some* progress, especially given how very long this jackass has been on the air.

Don Imus's (richly deserved) firing came as a result of an economic decision by his direct employers, who were paying his leathery ass to SELL SOAP. To us. His "indirect" employers. Who pay radio advertisers, thereby enabling subsidized microphones to get switched on. Who also kindly allow the WCBS's of the world to use our property -- the airwaves -- in a government-sanctioned oligopoly.

Imus was paid to sell soap. Not necessarily to be funny, or erudite, or entertaining, or insightful, or transgressive; those were just possible side effects. The motherfucker was useful to his paymasters only insofar as he was able to justify the money spent on radio by advertisers. What's beautiful and downright inspiring to me about the whole DID is that at a certain point, the people Imus worked for said "Hey, wait a minute -- Black folks have money and they buy a lot of soap. This guy may actually be bad for business." And the free market -- the same free market that conservative (and even some liberal) drive-time-radio fans seem to think is the solution to every *other* goddamn problem -- delivered its verdict, in the form of a pink slip for our man Don. "Big Government" didn't step in to regulate a fucking thing. Republicans and libertarians of all stripes should be over the moon. As Black people who understand the importance of economic leverage, so should we.

Shark-fu said...

yankeezulu & konagod...

Thanks for bringing up those points!

Trust that a bitch agrees that the public airwaves are a unique space and no one has a guaranteed right to say whatever through them.

And, having sold radio in a former life for over 8 years (shudder), I'm more than aware that money talks and low profits walk at CBS.

But my concern was about the spill over that is already taking place. I am concerned that folks want to point the finger at langauge and use code words like civility to push for bans on speech.

Hence this post, which was not so much about Imus as it was about those heifers who respond to the Imus drama by calling for this bitch to cease using potty language.

Great comments from all y'all!

Red7Eric said...

Angry Black Bitch, I think I love you. Great job dissecting the whole Imus debacle.

Cheers, Slightly Vexed White Dude

dave bones said...

Fantastically on top as usual, though I quite like gangsta rap. I tagged you for a "thinking blogger award"

Soulknitting said...

One of your most inspiring posts yet!!!