“We fought, we persevered, and most of all, we believed in ourselves. … But all of our accomplishments were lost. Our moment was taken away,” said Heather Zurich, a sophomore on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team. Zurich, one of the team’s white players, was referring to a racist, sexist comment by radio host Don Imus about the team. Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer called Imus’ remark “deplorable, despicable and abominable and unconscionable.”

The team, the Scarlet Knights, has eight African American and two white players. The young women began the season with little hope of making it far but ended up at the NCAA championship, losing to Tennessee in a near-Cinderella story.

At an April 10 press conference, all 10 players wore identical black pants and red Rutgers windbreakers in a show of mutual solidarity. Team captain Essence Carson said, “We can finally speak up for women. Not just African American women, but all women.”

“These young ladies are the best this nation has to offer, and we are so very fortunate to have them at Rutgers,” said Stringer. “They are young ladies of class, distinction.” She pointed a finger at the profit-hungry corporate media that give forums to offensive media personalities like Imus. It’s not just an issue of Black or white, she said. “The color is green.”

Linking the incident to persistent societal inequality, Stringer asked, “How could anyone not have been personally hurt when there is no equality for all or when equality is denied?”

Three years ago, Bush’s Federal Communications Commission rushed into action and fined CBS $550,000 over Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” in which her breast was briefly shown on TV. So far, the FCC has been silent on Imus.

NBC and CBS have suspended him for two weeks — a slap on the wrist.

This was not just a private remark by Imus. It was broadcast throughout our country, spewing racist and sexist poison into our public airwaves. It is far more damaging to our society than any “wardrobe malfunction.” Both networks should fire Imus. And the FCC should hit them where it counts, in the pocketbook.

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