Unless you live underneath a rock, or at least not in the United States, you have by now heard about the Don Imus saga. Don Imus, a sarcastic and often rude comedian who has his own TV/radio show Imus in the Morning, apparently took things a bit too far this past week.
On April 4th, while offering aimless commentary on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship, specifically the Tennessee v. Rutgers game, he said:
IMUS: That’s some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and —
McGUIRK (his producer): Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That’s some nappy-headed hos there. I’m gonna tell you that now, man, that’s some — woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like — kinda like — I don’t know.
McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes– that movie that he had.
And before you know it, there’s an uproar about his racist comments, lead of course by Al Sharpton, to the point that yesterday, Imus’ show, running since 1979 got cancelled. So much for America’s freedom of speech.
But that’s not my point. I don’t particularly care for Imus. He’s an old, privileged, (I don’t like to call people ugly so I just won’t comment on his looks), white man who insults other people for a living. So his comments are not surprising to me. But the aim of the fury is quite surprising to me. Now, I’m not entirely paying attention to the situation, but it seems to me that people (African-Americans really) are more upset that Imus called the women “nappy-headed” rather than the fact that McQuirk called them all “hos”. To me, the incident is more sexist than it is racist so why isn’t there anyone calling for McQuirk’s head?
Have we really gotten to the point where it is okay for mainstream grown men to call women hos? Now I say mainstream, because there are a lot of idiot grown men, namely rappers, who are of course mostly African-American, who think it is cool and poetic to call women all sorts of names in their songs and have done so for at least a decade now, with no-one, not even Al Sharpton himself, batting an eye. Has the H word like the five letter B word now become the new N word, a word that is okay for African-Americans to use between themselves as a form of “endearment” (whatever!), but not for outsiders to use? Oh yes, even Snoop Dogg had the audacity to announce that rappers’ use of these insulting misogynist words should not be compared to Imus’ use – that they are two very different things. Say what?!
I’m upset that Sharpton and his followers objections are rather to the use of the word NAPPY-HEADED. Oh wow! Before I came to the United States, I would have clearly identified “nappy-headed” as an insult because to me a “nappy” is basically a [dirty] baby diaper. But I have since learnt that though nappy is British English for diaper, full of excrement or otherwise, it is American English for frizzy, kinky, or wooly, as pertaining to the highly texturalized African hair in its natural state.
So I’m still trying to understand why those African-American people who are upset are so upset about the word when none of them, including Sharpton himself, is wearing his or her hair in its natural state. They are all out there, flipping and shaking their chemically altered (ie. relaxed) hair or weaves as if to say “see, it’s straight and bouncy like yours, not nappy at all!” How appalling!
So I guess, as an African, who actually wears her hair in its natural state, or rather, in all its nappy glory, with my afro, twists, braids, cornrows, and such, I should feel especially insulted…..ummmm….I’ll get back to you when that sentiment hits.
Now how about the boycott of misogynist rap lyrics while we are at it?