I usually skip over Imus in the Morning on MSNBC, mostly because he always sounds drunk and he never has anything to say that I'm interested in hearing. But, Imus was an idiot the other day and had the audacity to follow the lead of his producer in calling the women's basketball team--most of whom are African-American--"nappy-headed hos." I won't even begin to explain just how patently wrong that is because you'd have to be a few bulbs shy of a full chandelier not to understand just how wrong that is. In other words, if I have to explain it to you, you're an idiot, too.
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have both spoken out against Imus' slur. And rightfully so. Referring to people of color as "nappy-headed" is pretty low in the lexicon of racial epithets. I'm going to leave it to my esteemed friends and colleagues, some of whom have been subjected to that pergorative adjective, to comment on hair and its use as a slur. I, however, am going to comment on the last word--"ho."
To express indignation at the first part of the comment is completely the right thing to do and is more than justified. But I'm concerned that there has been no outcry (unless I'm a dolt and have missed it) from women's groups regarding the use of the derogatory label "ho" in describing a group of women. Basically, what Imus did was called these women whores.
That's right. Whores. Oh, sure. When we say "ho" it doesn't seem as bad and we can laugh it off, right? Wrong! It really isn't funny and it isn't as innocuous as it seems. Flat out, bottom line, and not putting too fine a point on it, Imus called women whores. And Imus was as wrong as wrong can be.
Calling women ho's makes me just as mad as having him refer to persons of African origin by a negative characterization of their hair. Both are... how shall I say it? Oh, yeah--WRONG. And not only does Imus owe the African-American community an apology, he owes women an apology, because as a woman, I am offended.
So, Don Imus and whatever the name of your producer is who first called the Rutgers' team "ho's," you guys owe us an apology. I'll take my straight up, in prime time, and would appreciate it if you'd follow it with some community service at a women's shelter or somewhere where the majority of folks are female and/or black.
As for derogatory epithets, when are we going to let go of these words and phrases that are harmful and are meant to be vile? Surely we're far more advanced in this day and age? Or maybe I'm living in a dream world?