Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Calling a spade a spade

I don't listen to Don Imus and I don't know his history. And you won't ever win any charm or class points by referring to a bunch of young women as "nappy-headed hos". But where are all the free speech people about now that Imus is under attack?

Yeah, everybody knows you'd better not say, um, well, you know, the *N-WORD*! For crying out loud, you can't even say a perfectly innocent word like "niggardly" nowadays.

Whatever the virtues of such extralegal prohibition, at least the news has gotten around. It would be nice if the same rules applied to alleged "hip hop artists", who ought to be credited for spreading the word to a bunch of white suburban kids who otherwise wouldn't hear it at home, and they repeat what they hear.

What's is it about "nappy-headed hos" that earns so much time in the media? It isn't exactly race specific - blacks (can I say that?) aren't the only ones with kinky hair. It's gender-specific, but it's not the feminists who are fussing, and what credibility do they have after years of sucking up to Democrats anyway?

No, this is about publicity for opportunists like Al Sharpton. Yes, the "reverend" who has yet to apologize for his role in the Tawana Brawley affair.

Am I being obtuse in suggesting that this is overblown? Whatever the answer, IMO if we're must raise such a fuss over certain words, how about identifying them once and for all?

I suppose we can make some pretty good guesses. I hadn't even heard "pickaninny" when someone was busted for using and defending it. Other candidates would be "Jungle bunny" or "jigaboo", which in my experience are so uncommon that you can't expect younger people to know them. I suppose references to watermelons, spear-chuckin', fried chicken and chitlins will have to go too.

But it's no use, because this isn't about grievances, this is about kowtowing. The ladies of the Rutgers basketball team have a grievance. The rest of the world should butt out.

Incidentally, congratulations to the Rutgers ladies' basketball team for a fine season. It's heartbreaking to work so hard and then finish second.

But nothing that happens to Don Imus will bring that title to New Jersey.

Postscript: the Rutgers ladies just appeared on the tube. (I can't resist noting that the black girls I saw had straightened their hair - now we know the *real* reason why they're ticked...)

Anyway, those quoted on TV spoke up more about the "ho" part. One, when asked about the popularization of "ho" in hip-hop, said it was no different and also ought to be discouraged. Good for her.

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