Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus, the "n" word, and freedom of speech

Imus did it. The radio personality said a word that people who are devoid of color should never say.

No, not that 'N' word, but another.

"Nappy" is one of those words that originally had a meaning devoid of race. Of course, this is no longer the case. Nappy now signifies only the hair of a black, or more specifically, African-American person.

I point to the literally hundreds of rap and hip-hop songs that reference “nappy hair,” “nappy-headed,” and even, yes, believe it or not, “nappy-headed hos.”

Let’s be realistic here. The fact that he insulted a whole basketball team is secondary to the fact that the phrase referenced a hair texture common in (but not exclusively common in, mind you) black people.

And the fact that he called them “hos?” Poor taste, indeed. An ill-timed joke, yes. But then again, perhaps Imus was doing nothing more than simply using a phrase that is, in every sense of the word, a pop-cultural reference?

Who didn’t walk around in the 90’s spouting “Word” in jest? Or how about you women who incessantly said to one another, “Hey, Girlfriend!” What about "player hater?"

Nappy-head ho. Sure, it’s an insult. Imus was right to apologize.

But is he racist, or was the insult meant in a racist way?

I don’t believe so.

Suppose it had been a black sports jock who had called the team that. Would it be OK? Not as bad?

Would it be OK simply because he shares the same skin color?

I’m not asking these questions in jest. I want real answers here. In my opinion, it’s either wrong both ways, or not at all.

And then we have Al Sharpton calling Imus racist. Ha! Here’s a rat that only pops its head out when an opportunity arises to garner attention. The sooner he and Jesse Jackson leave the planet, the sooner we will all finally “get along.”

Imus, what you said was insensitive. I blame not the Rutgers team for taking offense to your remarks.

But, to everyone else still sitting around in disbelief at what he said, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for chipping away at my, and everyone else’s, freedom to say what we want so say. Because you have been heavily indoctrinated into the world of sensitivity and political correctness, I have no doubt that, if we were to have it your way, there will come a day when any and all insults (real and insinuated) result in immediate jail time.

What a wonderful world that will be!


MH said...

Well said.

Mark said...

Why thank you, my first ever commentor.

mh said...

I found your blog from your comments on the2dollar bill. Mary Helen = mh.
You have an interesting viewpoint.

Dan said...

I am surprised people have gotten so upset over this when there are far more insulting, tasteless, and degrading things televised all the time.

I watched an episode of South Park last night that I would imagine is extremely insulting to Lesbians, Mexicans, Persians, and who knows who else.

I am personally glad they get away with that stuff. But, I have to wonder after the nappy incident HOW they get away with it.

Mark said...

Great point. It does seem like they pick and choose, doesn't it?

Al Sharpton's definitely not an idiot. I'd venture to say he's truly not an intelligent man, but he's smart enough and has mastered the art of manipulation to a degree that enables him to make an nice paycheck off of ruining other people's lives.

I suppose it starts here, then will move on to other radio shows, television, the comedy circuit, and then finally the big screen.

Oh, but not rap and hip-hop, though.

mh said...

I had always thought South Park was protected under the "equal opportunity offender" rule. However, Don Imus was also such an offender, and look what has happened to him. Watch out, Eric Cartman!