On Monday April 16, 2007, the Oprah show aired a show about Don Imus called, “Town Hall. Now What?” As you may already know, Don Imus made a comment on his radio show about the Rutgers African American basketball players calling them, “nappy headed ho’s.” This comment outraged many Americans of all races and caused much debate over the issue of racism in the United States.
On this particular show, the Oprah show put together a panel of guest speakers. About 95% of the guest speakers were African American. The Oprah show included guests such as Rev. Al Sharpton to speak on the issue of Imus and the way that White Americans often portray African Americans. This show did not give voice to the opinions of white Americans. The show instead gave the opinions of African Americans only and the way that they are perceived by white people. Was this show just another form of racism? The shows title did not say, “African American Town Hall. Now What?” The title of the show was, “Town Hall. Now What?” However, the guest speakers were nearly all African American and the opinions that were given came from African Americans. Her panel did not include anyone of the white race except for one woman that was on her panel and she hardly even get the chance to speak. Was this Oprah’s way of targeting all white Americans? She even stated that many white people think that it’s ok to use the “n” word or other words that are considered to be racist against African Americans.
The show also targeted the way that most African American rappers use the “n” word and also use the word “ho.” However, Oprah did not interview any white Americans on their views of Imus or about the use of derogatory words in rap music. She even had African American record label producers on the show that gave their opinions about how rap music often portrays African Americans with the use of the “n” word and other racist slurs.
The majority of white people in the United States are upset that Don Imus used the term, “nappy headed, ho’s.” However, Oprah and her panelists did not state that the majority of white Americans were offended by this statement. She instead portrayed white Americans to not be as concerned about statements that are often said against African Americans. If this show was just going to be about the African opinion of Don Imus and rap music, then Oprah should have titled her show differently. This show portrayed white people to not understand the African American community or the poor use of the words, “nappy headed ho’s.” Instead of the show being an open discussion or “town hall” meeting, it instead was extremely racist against white Americans in the sense that Oprah did not allow any white Americans to speak about the issue on Imus and she portrayed many white Americans to not take the matter as seriously as African Americans.
This segment of the Oprah show is another example of racism. She purposely excluded white panelists and the opinions of white Americans on her show. She purposely chose African American: poets, newspaper columnists, book authors, rap artists and activists to speak out on their views and opinions about Imus. Racism comes in many forms and this is another example of what “not to do” on a television show. In every television show, there is planning that goes along with a television show. The Oprah show purposely planned this show to exclude the opinions of white Americans on the issues of Imus and the portrayal of African Americans. White Americans were excluded from giving their opinions on what Don Imus said and also about the way that African Americans are often portrayed. White Americans should be outraged by this particular show because the opinions of white Americans were not expressed. As a matter of fact, the opinions of white and non African American viewers were not expressed and Oprah should be called on this by the media. Excluding the opinions of another race when you’re hosting a show on Don Imus and racism is extremely racist. This show should be publicized in the media to show how racism is an ongoing problem and even shows like the Oprah show can portray white people and other races to not care about the African American community. This segment of the Oprah show did not portray white Americans correctly. It instead made white Americans to look like they are racist and not involved enough in racial issues. White Americans were discriminated against because they were not allowed to be on the panel to discuss the comments made by Don Imus. Not only did this show deceive white Americans, but it also gave another example of racism. All races are affected by racism and this show was a prime example of how racial profiling gets started. When you exclude any race from giving its opinions, no matter what the issue is, it clearly demonstrates that the other races opinions do not matter. Advertisers should realize that what this segment of the Oprah show did was wrong and the Oprah show should be called upon because of this. This show should be offensive to any American because it purposely excluded the opinions of white and non African Americans concerning the Don Imus issue.