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Concert Report

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Covert racism in media or racists caught on tape.

On the April 4 edition of MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, host Don Imus referred to the Rutgers University women's basketball team, which is comprised of eight African-American and two white players, as "nappy-headed hos" immediately after the show's executive producer, Bernard McGuire, called the team "hard-core hos." Later, former Imus sports announcer Sid Rosenberg, who was filling in for sportscaster Chris Carlin, said: "The more I look at Rutgers; they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors."

Even for Mr. Imus, a nationally syndicated radio host who knows his way around an insult, it was a shocking remark, one that seemed to impugn both the physical and moral characteristics of a team composed mostly of black players. What followed was a familiar dance for Mr. Imus and the media companies that profit from his ability to shock his way to big audiences: outrage, indignation and, eventually, the expression of deep regret.

This is hardly the first time Mr. Imus has made racially insensitive remarks during a broadcast. In a 1997 interview with "60 Minutes," he said he chose one white staffer to tell racial jokes on his show. He once referred to the anchor Gwen Ifill as "a cleaning lady." And in 2001 he took a pledge, guided by the Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page, to refrain from making further racist comments on his program.

Racism is objectively defined as any practice of ethnic discrimination or segregation. Fortunately, racial violence is steadily declining as in recent years. Now a new form of racism, covert racism, has recently sprung from the pressures of political correctness. This new form of racism, although slowly declining, still shows signs of strong support. Covert racism assumes a form of civil disobedience against politically correct thought and speech.

Essentially, Mr. Imus's remarks on the Rutgers basketball team was supposedly covertly racist comments which are counted as "hidden" racism, or a racism not easily detected. Generally, subject of racism has been categorized in the three different basic forms: open racism, violent racism, and covert racism all express forms of hatred towards other ethnic groups. These basic forms of racism, although different in form, all have the same main purpose, to promote bigotry.

Covert racism affects our society in a variety of different manners. Indeed it should be said that covert racism has permanently scarred our society, both politically and socially. Racial politics have changed since the era of the civil rights movement, when the issue of race, at its heart, came down fundamentally to whether whites were prepared to accept other races as their equals. Now, however, the issue of race has become more complex. Unfortunately today's political environment encourages covert racism in many whites as a counterattack to ban of open racism.



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