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LANGUAGE WARS

I was certainly among the first to go “aaack” when I read what Don Imus said on the radio a short while ago (and it was only a matter of weeks ago, as odd as that today seems), as to his use of the expressiion, “nappy headed hos” — I’d refer to that as a “Black expression” but it’ll undoubtedly be viewed critically but a Black expression it is — but I’m also among the percentage of folks who think Don Imus didn’t offer much to any quality content on his broadcasts, anyway.

I was long ago offended by Imus’ swarthiness and not in a good way. So I stopped watching his television broadcast years ago after only viewing it intermittently for a few months. I never listened to Imus on the radio but it’s reasonable to conclude that there are a lot of people that found his television broadcasts — and especially his work on the radio — to be worth watching and/or listening to. They just never posed any appeal to me but I’d never taken the position that that’d then mean that no one else would find them appealing or should never tune in, and, based on his audience over the years, obviously, to my view, I was in a minority in not finding Imus worth my time.

Dot-Black-SML.gif HOWEVER, this recent upset about Imus using the Black expression, “nappy headed hos,” was offensive (to me, to many) because Imus misused it and applied it in context to (Black) women who were anything but associated with that downward spiral of prostitution or ghetto-speak: girls enrolled in college, women’s basketball team at Rutgers, human beings doing good and constructive things with their lives, hardly suggestive of anything or anyone worthy of being denigrated with the application of such an offensive expression as “nappy headed hos.”

But, I never thought Imus merited being fired from both his network and losing his radio broadcast show for having used the icky term. He was a jerk very often on air, his audience seems to have tuned in because he was often a jerk, that was and is Imus’ appeal as a commenting personality.

If anything, Imus was/is guilty of terribly bad taste. The market would have contended with that, much as it is contending with the nastiness and rank behavior and speech by the likes of Rosie O’Donnell and a few others over time.

Dot-Black-SML.gif What DID offend me (and still does) is the racial usery that socio-political figures otherwise have made out of this. It was right and good and proper that Imus be held to apologize for his thoughtless, cruel and stupid use/misuse of the rotten expression, but, it’s now become some media ball-roll by mostly Black socio-political personalities and interests (Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Barack Obama among others – though these three figureheads made the biggest cash-in of this issue toward if not long past usery of the absurd:

Absurd because the expression is from the Black community, is “Black” people language, heard daily dozens if not hundreds of times to anyone who listens to mostly Black and/or rap music, all over the airways and especially all over the internet, again by nearly always Black people to and about one another.

Dot-Black-SML.gif I listened to an interview on FOX News a few weeks ago just after this Imus-bad-speak issue burst forth, wherein two Black rap musicians were talking to FOX about how the phrase — “nappy headed ho” — wasn’t noteworthy or even unsual or unusually offensive when and as used by Blacks but because Imus was a White man, and if and as anyone other than Black used the expression, that it was “offensive” and even made them very angry accordingly (as they also became on the air in that interview about this).

At that point, they lose me. They’re offended when people-other-than-Black (“POTB”) use the phrase, these words as with other offensive ones that I don’t need to reprint here because most of us including us POTB hear with all too frequently — on broadcasts on radio, in CDs, on television, all over music videos right before we change the channel. They’re offended not by the phrases and expressions but only when they’re used by POTB.

Makes no sense to me.

In that interview on FOX, these two Black musicians (cannot recall their names now) also said that it was cultural privilege (my words for what they said), a “right” of theirs to speak these dreadful terms about one another because of their “culture” and their “community” and yet they considered it utmost insulting to hear POTB use the same words.

Again, nonsensical.

So, today I read the news that it was not, actually, Don Imus from whom the sentiment flowed — although he did use the words — but his producer, Bernard Mcguirk (“Imus’ Sidekick-Producer Bernard Mcguirk Also Fired“).

His producer was the “original author” (offensively) of the (offensive) expression on the Imus television broadcast and Imus, being the subservient in that context, ensued with his own use of the expression.

It was McGuirk who first used the term “hos” while discussing the NCAA women’s championship game between Rutgers and Tennessee. Imus described the Rutgers team, which includes eight black women, as tattooed “rough girls” during the April 4 broadcast.

“Some hardcore hos,” replied McGuirk.

“That’s some nappy headed hos there, I’m going to tell you that,” Imus said during the 10-second exchange that ignited a national debate over racist and misogynistic language and lyrics…(READ MORE)

Dot-Black-SML.gif Whoever introduced this on the “White people” airways — let’s face it, that’s the underlying issue here — isn’t necessarily the concern here (beyond the legal and professional circles associated with these networks and the talent involved) but the concern IS as to the language itself and what is appropriate, offensive and/or upsetting to anyone. If some language is entertaining language to some people because of the color of their skin, it’s difficult to understand how it’s not entertaining for others of other skin color and vice-versa, particularly when it’s used within a context of humor (however failed was Imus’ use in that regard).

Dot-Black-SML.gif The offense to my view is in the language itself. Not who uses it.

Or, put otherwise, in who uses what language.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

If you don’t like a word or expression, don’t use it. Then you get to judge the “offense” by others who do and act accordingly. But in the case of the crowd who has efforted to demean the Imus-reiteration and bad use of these nasty phrase, unless they themselves come forth with apologies for their own bad speech and abusive phrases, I’d leave the ridiculous Imus (AND his ridiculous producer) to the likes of their audience and the free market.

But I can’t see now accepting any upset when the phrase begins to peek it’s way into the daily grunt language used by Mr. or Mrs. (or Ms.) Goober (“NYPD Sergeant Investigated For Imus-Like Slur“).

Unless, of course, the incentive is to promote a racially divided and racially separist society. Which is what I believe is motivating the negative emotion as to this issue by the likes of Sharpton, Jackson and Obama.

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