Don Imus, the much-maligned syndicated radio personality, will teach a breakout session at the National Organization for Women Conference in Detroit this July. He has decided to pay penance for his remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team (calling them nappy-headed hos) by presenting on “Why (White) Men Fear (Black) Women” during an early-bird breakout session, just after “Yoga With Grace Welch.”
In his workshop, Don Imus is scheduled to talk about how the patriarchal society he lives in has shaped him into a person who does not value women in general and Black women in particular. Imus is said to be preparing his materials during his two-week suspension from the radio. He will discuss the depiction of women in America from the early captivity and moral novels to today’s personal narratives of abuse and other stuff men don’t care about. Imus will then take on the depiction of all women in the media, and especially the depiction of Black women as either hos or big mamas. He is planning on delving into the objectification of women in pornography, the marginalization of Asian women through happy-ending or fortune cookie jokes, the conceptualization of American Indian women as squaws, the visualization of Italian women as hairy and good cooks, the metamorphosization of Latinas from oppressed housewives to big-bootied-hos in pop music, and the externalization of all women as either hos or mothers.
While some women have protested Imus being invited to the conference, others see it as a learning opportunity, both for themselves and for him. An organizer of the event said, “Mr. Imus will be repenting for his sins against the brotherhood of women and offering us a forum during which we may yell at him on a more personal level.” Women from the Rutgers basketball team have cried foul over the invitation, and have vowed to boycott the NOW conference, just as they now boycott the show. “We used to listen to Don Imus before games to get us pumped-up,” said one player, “but now that he’s just another white devil, we’ll listen to the John Tesh show instead. Or, maybe we’ll watch us a Lifetime movie, because them ladies know how to handle a trifling man, with a shovel to the head or a 2” heel to the eye.” Team members have also vowed to not use any relaxer in their hair in order to demonstrate to Imus just how nappy a head of hair can get.
The future of Imus’s radio show is uncertain, especially with the potential loss of African-American female listeners. He has already been dropped from television, but Imus is confident that his new brand of sensitive talk will bring in more listeners who want to confront their own hegemonical views of women as weaker, more emotional, and less intelligent, not to mention better at cleaning and care-giving.