American Association for Affirmative Action Condemns the Statements of Radio Personality Don Imus

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Racial Remark Reflects Systemic Discrimination in the American Workplace

The American Association for Affirmative Action (AAAA), a national membership organization of equal employment opportunity (EEO), affirmative action and diversity specialists, condemns the racially-charged on-air statements of radio personality Don Imus when he described the African-American Rutgers University women's basketball team members as "nappy-headed hos." This unfortunate incident with racist, sexist and homophobic overtones was uttered during Imus' morning show on Wednesday, April 4, 2007. AAAA President ReNee Dunman stated: "We are appalled by Imus' deplorable remarks. If these comments go unpunished by MSNBC and CBS Radio it will be another validation of the systemic discrimination that we know to pervade the American workplace. If media executives find such statements to be acceptable, there is little likelihood that they will extend equal employment opportunity to women or minority workers."

While the Imus show has been reportedly suspended for two weeks, AAAA believes that this limited sanction is insufficient. "When will we hold people accountable for their racist and sexist behavior?" said Ms. Dunman. "With all due respect to the First Amendment, we must object and America should object. We call on the Federal Communications Commission to launch an immediate investigation of the incident, which was broadcast over federally-regulated airwaves."

This is not the first time that Don Imus has uttered such a racially insensitive remark. He has a pattern of bigoted utterances, including his description of the distinguished African-American journalist Gwen Ifill as a "cleaning lady." "MSNBC, CBS Radio, Don Imus and his colleagues who joined in this demeaning behavior should be held accountable for their outrageous conduct, "said Ms. Dunman. AAAA also calls upon Imus to make restitution to the Rutgers athletes by contributing to a scholarship fund to help them in their academic pursuits. "The best solution is to make the victims whole by helping them overcome the economic and social obstacles caused by the racism and sexism embodied in Imus' remarks."

Founded in 1974, the American Association for Affirmation Action (AAAA) is a national not-for-profit association of professionals working in the areas of affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. AAAA helps its members to be more successful and productive in their careers. It also promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.     


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