KAI RYSSDAL: A week of public pressure has cost Don Imus his job. CBS fired the radio host today over his racial slur against women on the Rutgers basketball team.
As always, money talked. Advertisers were bailing out of the Imus broadcasts on CBS radio and the television simulcast on MSNBC. Commentator Marcellus Andrews points out that in this case, it’s black money.
MARCELLUS ANDREWS: I never thought I’d see the day when free-market capitalism became the sword of racial justice.
See, a funny thing’s happened in America: black people not only got mad at Imus, we got even.
Imus forgot that advertisers want our dollars as much as they want those of the haters. I mean, Imus and hundreds of other white men whose radio and TV shows assault black kids every day with their racism-for-fun-and-profit rants.
When Imus smeared millions of young black women, he included smart, sweet, chocolate-colored Leah Andrews, my niece in Denver who wants to play basketball at, yup, Rutgers.
And when he did that, Staples, Proctor & Gamble and a host of other Imus sponsors that support the country’s premier broadcast outlets realized they can’t have it both ways. They can’t have our support and the haters’ support, too.
Here’s the bottom line. Whites still earn the lion’s share of all income in the U.S. But it’s dropping — from 88 percent in 1995 to 85 percent in 2005.
The reality is that the fraction of all households that are white is falling, while black households are growing.
So, the black market is growing, the white market is shrinking as a fraction of the whole and the Latino market is exploding. Racist ranters are playing to a declining market segment.
Leah’s mom and dad told her to turn her hatred of America’s pleasure at abusing her into the energy to achieve. And she will with the help of a surprising new ally in the unfinished war against racism: money-hungry capitalists.
Think of this as the black and green revolution of American capitalism. Black folks have enough money to impose a cash veto on numbskulls.
Want to beat up on black folks for fun-and-profit? Fine. You have your fun, while we hurt your profits.
RYSSDAL: Marcellus Andrews’ latest book is called “The Political Economy of Hope and Fear.”
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.