BOYS CLUB JUDGES IMUS. GIRLS NOT ALLOWED? Okay, so I admit this is hardly scientific, but it seems to me that the news media are turning overwhelmingly to male commentators for assessment of the sexist, racist comments Don Imus made about the admirable women of the Rutgers basketball team. Last night, watching MSNBC's "Hardball," I had to watch for a late segment -- on a show devoted almost entirely to Imus thing (or so it seemed) -- before guest host David Gregory put a woman on camera. Thankfully, the woman chosen was American University anthropologist Sabiyha Prince, although she was never given enough time to make her points.
In response to a question from me, Dr. Prince replied by e-mail:
"David Gregory was very nice but after each commercial, he went directly to Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, who interrupted me once, misrepresented a comment I made, and talked so long at the end that I didn't have a chance to make a final point. These so-called 'race moments,' as [they were] described on the show, amount to little if we don't broaden the dialogue and begin to question and dissect white privilege."
Not to mention male privilege. I would love to hear from TAPPED readers about which women they've seen given prime broadcast airtime or choice newspaper real estate for commenting on what is at least as much a case of misogyny as racism. As I mentioned yesterday, this is what sexist men do to women achievers: These men almost invariably sexualize their insults of the women who dazzle with their brilliance.
Yes, Gwen Ifill got the choice spot on the New York Times op-ed page yesterday for commenting on Imus -- a laudable choice by the Times -- but her position is unique in that Imus once went after her personally. What about women experts on the situation at large? I don't want to hear that there aren't enough women -- especially African-American women -- available to comment intelligently on this. I'm betting that Dr. Prince might make herself available for another appearance. Callie Crossley is hardly inarticulate or a shrinking violet. Want a faith-based perspective? Try Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, pastor of Manhattan's 4th Universalist Society, a major Unitarian Church, and author of the acclaimed memoir, Unafraid of the Dark. Oh yeah, then there's this woman, the one standing at the podium:
Her name is Maretta J. Short, and she's the president of New Jersey NOW, which is convening a rally today in Newark. Seen her on TV lately?
--Adele M. Stan