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AALBC .com Platinum Poster
Username: Yukio

Post Number: 2279
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 03:00 am:   

Fri Apr 13, 2007

By David Alexander

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Public figures like influential broadcaster Don Imus increasingly pay a price for making racist remarks, but some experts say the focus on individual bigotry falls short of addressing deeper racial problems in the United States.

. . . .

The use of a slur by Imus, who insulted the Rutgers women's basketball team after it nearly won the U.S. collegiate championship, provoked intense anger because people could make a clear connection between the injustice done and the person causing the harm, said American University law professor Darren Hutchinson.

"You have a person you can identify as someone who is creating racial harm and that's a legitimate reaction," Hutchinson said. "But I do believe that over time if that's the only thing that gets this intense reaction, then we're reinforcing this notion that that's all that racism is."

"We never get at ... broader inequality like poverty. Why is poverty racialized? Why are people of color in schools that are underfunded? We never tackle those bigger issues."

Hutchinson said Lott's removal as majority leader was a good example of how debate over an individual's remarks failed to get at the deeper institutional issues of racism.

"He was condemned as the racist du jour and the Republicans were able to distance themselves from him and portray themselves as antiracist moderates, but no one really made the argument ... that as the Senate leader he was advancing the legislative agenda of the Republican Party," Hutchinson said.

He said the reaction to Imus similarly appeared to fall short of addressing the wider

issues, like why he remained on air for so long despite his record and why there continues to be a lack of diversity at large media institutions.

"Someone like Imus, because of this lack of diversity, they sort of have a license to go over the top," Hutchinson said. "The environment becomes permissive for him to say things like that."

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