FARAI CHIDEYA, host:
As the Don Imus controversy unfolded, commentator Darryl Littleton noticed something.
DARRYL LITTLETON: Pay attention. There are no black shock jocks, and for good reason - black people don't play that. Put the wrong person's name in your grill, and your show will be gone - not because of ratings, but because they can't find your loose-lipped carcass.
Check it out. In 1974, Chicago DJ Larry Lujack said he'll play more Jim Croce records when Croce goes back into the studio and makes more. This said only five months after Croce died in a plane crash. Anybody care to insert Aaliyah's name into that formula?
Bubba the Love Sponge had a pig castrated and killed on air. Porn star Mary Carey put her head in Howard Stern's toilet bowl after failing an IQ test. That's shock jockism. Who do we have? Larry Elder. The only time this conservative brother shocks is when he refuses to caddy for his golf buddies. Wendy Williams - sure, she's not going to get any Christmas cards from Method Man, but she's more of a gossip, leaking information that's really none of our business, like telling the world that Angie Martinez was dating Q-Tip. Oh, shocking. Write your congressman. Or Whitney Houston, where she questioned the tweaking diva about her drug use. Why not just ask Ruben Studdard if he likes to eat?
This Ann Coulter wannabe has been called an uninformed, not-too-bright female dog, but she's still allowed to spew. That's because she's Wendy Williams. If she were Tom, Steve or Tavis Williams, she'd have been elbowed in the throat long ago.
Don Imus calls women curly, cranium garden tools and hopscotches to another gig. That's because there's no Caucasian drop squad. We have image policing. The NAACP and other radical groups have taken it upon themselves to ensure black people aren't degraded. If you honestly think Dave Chappelle skedaddled to Africa, ditching 50 million dollars because somebody laughed too hard, I've got some beachfront property in New Orleans I'd like to sell you.
Ben Vereen wore blackface at Ronald Reagan's 1981 inauguration, and you haven't heard from him since. Ja Rule wore a V-neck sweater and stopped ruling. Funny, though, these groups never check with the rest of us first. The "Flavor of Love" minstrel show is still on the air.
A black shock jock would be encouraged to attack other blacks, and can do so until Clarence Thomas break dances. But bring up the Spanish Inquisition or the Holocaust, and you will be about as welcome as Maury Povich at a baby shower. Besides, what is shocking to black people these days? The price of gas, Bush being known as our leader, or how about Star Jones' appearance after losing weight? There's plenty of shocking things going down. And if I were a shock jock, I'd talk about them.
Oh, what the heck. How about (censored)?
CHIDEYA: Darryl Littleton is a writer and comedian living in Los Angeles.
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CHIDEYA: That's our show for today. And thanks for sharing your time with us. To listen to the show, visit npr.org. NEWS & NOTES is created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium. Tomorrow: how DNA testing helped set innocent prisoners free.
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CHIDEYA: I'm Farai Chideya. This is NEWS & NOTES.