Bishop T.D. Jakes Issues Statement Concerning Racist Comments by Radio Talk Show Host Don Imus

The following was released today by Bishop T.D. Jakes, Senior Pastor/Founder, The Potter’s House of Dallas, Inc.:

“Trying to be funny” is a justifiable excuse for calling a group of distinguished young African-American women “nappy-headed [whores],” or so says radio talk show host Don Imus about his racial slurs April 4 toward the young ladies of the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Given that Imus and his producer are still employed, one must assume that NBC, their employer, agrees. With this attitude, is it any surprise that racism continues to poison America?

Jesus taught that “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'” (Matthew 15:11 NIV) The fact remains that Imus’ unprovoked racial slurs — which sadly appear to be part of a personal pattern over the years — clearly reveal a deeper malignancy of the heart. But it is the lack of immediate and meaningful response by his employer that reveals a deeper cancer in America.

Press statements and public appearances are mere bandages when someone’s daughter is called a whore for fun. True healing will come only when individuals honestly address the root of their remarks, rather than making excuses for them, and only when employers and advertisers in our society respond immediately and decisively. Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken immediately canceled his forthcoming appearance on Imus’ show; others should do the same.

Imus is a broadcast industry professional, who I hold to a higher standard. Imus’ employers are broadcast conglomerates that I also hold to a higher standard. And the advertisers that spend millions on Imus’ show should also be held to a higher standard. Allison Gollust, senior vice president for news communications at NBC, has stated: “We take this matter very seriously.” If so, Imus and Bernard McGuirk should be unemployed today and the excuses should stop, so that the healing can begin.

On behalf of decent moral people of all backgrounds, and specifically for women of color, we heard the so-called joke. But now the entire media, advertisers and industry executives should deliver the punch line.

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