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We're Our Own Worst Imuses

So it's fair to ask: Why now? Why all the heat and bother? Surely it's not the first time that African Americans have heard rap-speak in mainstream America. And why won't blacks chastise their own?

The same machine that fed Imus has made an awful lot of black folks millionaires. So this matter of who is paraded in the public square for an old-fashioned butt-kicking must be a finely executed dance. Although Sharpton and others may claim that they have flogged rap artists, one thing is certain: They haven't flogged P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg or many of the others with the same vengeance that they did Imus. They haven't sought to strip them of their sponsors and their livelihood. One reason may be that money from these trash-talkers keeps the wheels of more than a few black organizations turning. The last person who had the guts to challenge those within the race was the late C. Delores Tucker, who led the National Congress of Black Women.

"People have been allowed to continue living out this most amazing double standard," said Nnamdi. It's time that double standard were slain.

Jonetta Rose Barras is the

political analyst for

WAMU Radio.

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