Monday, April 9, 2007
Don Imus: Poor Word Choice?
As most are aware by now, Don Imus is being taken to task over some derogatory comments he levied against the Rutgers' women's basketball team. And rightfully so!
"That's some nappy-headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.
How dare you, Mr Imus, not only insult these fine young women; but indirectly insult ALL Negro women. And, by connection, all Negroes.
Why not just say that they look like Buckwheat?
Mr. Imus made the remarks in his studio. Wearing his trademark cowboy hat. Covering his stringy, unkempt, curly hair. His translucent skin, wrinkled and leathery, looking as if it would crack as he cackled in laughter and racist delight over his insensitive statement.
It would seem that calling young, female student athlete "ho's" would be the type of thing that would raise the ire of the very Reverend Al Sharpton and the civil rights minded Reverend Jesse Jackson. We applaud these men for their courageous cry for Imus to be silenced. It is comforting to know that neither Sharpton nor Jackson would idly sit by and allow anyone to derogatorily call young Negro women "ho's". Particularly an old white man, in a seat of virtually unparalleled power.
We've heard the argument that goes something like this: "Imus and other white people hear Negro women referred to as ho's in hip hop and rap songs, by Negro comedians and movies directed at Negro audiences. Why only make a fuss when an octogenarian white guy uses it, why not picket Def Comedy Jam, 50 Cent and Soul Plane?"
First of all, adding "nappy" is what really makes it racist. Nappy is a slave word implying that these beautiful and natural women somehow do not meet the norms set by white society when it comes to beauty and coiffure. It is because of comments like Imus' that wonderfully talented Negresses like Candace Parker run out and spend their scholarship food stipends on extensions and weave. Money she could use to feed herself, instead, being stitched in and glued onto her wonderful and natural hair. All in an effort to stay out of the line of Mr. Imus' fire.
Sharpton grilled Imus on his radio show, and Jackson led a demonstration of nearly 50 civic minded individuals in picketing NBC headquarters to demand the termination of Imus. We applaud their activism. Other less scrupulous individuals might simply try to chain their wagons to the Imus mule in the hopes of garnering attention and media acknowledgement. But, we know a man of Sharpton's stature would never resort to such chicanery. Sharpton is the man that broke the Tawana Brawley story and led that fight. Certainly, that sets every one's mind at ease in this (and all) instances involving the Reverend.
"Sharpton called the comments "abominable" and "racist" and repeated his demand that Imus be fired. "
And that seems like the only reasonable outcome. Calling the girls "ho's" would have been mean spirited and insensitive. But a little sensitivity training and an appearance on Oprah could have rehabilitated Mr. Imus and mitigated the damage. Attaching the descriptor "nappy" to the equation turned it into an overt attack on an entire race. And the only way to properly treat such action is through job termination. It's been proven time and time again. Civil Rights are won, and racial differences are solved by leading parades and demonstrations demanding old white men are fired.
You think Abe Lincoln would have signed the Emancipation Proclamation without the threat of being picketed against? Think again.
The Rutgers team in Imus' dreams....