Did Imus Really Shock Us?
By Hillary Trautmann
Early in April 2007, Don Imus made a comment about the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball team. In the comment he referred to the players as “nappy-headed hos”. Right after this comment was made a huge controversy began. Was Imus wrong in making this comment? Should he be punished for making the comment, and what should his punishment be?
Personally, as a woman I took absolutely no offense to the fact that Imus used the word “ho”, to describe a woman. That word is thrown around so liberally in this day and age, that I have become numb to it. All one must do is turn on the radio and you will hear countless hip-hop songs, with rappers describing their “girls” as “hos”. So, why is it okay for “artists” to use the word? Is it because they are using the word to create a masterpiece? I think not. And I highly doubt that these girls on the Rutgers basketball team do not go out to clubs with their friends and dance and sing to this very music, because this type of music is directly marketed towards their age group.
Regarding Imus’s word choice of describing these “hos” as “nappy-headed” was surprising to me though and I found it to be quite uncalled for. The thing about this comment though, is that things like this happen every day. Maybe it is not publicly broadcasted, but it does happen. It bothers me because I feel with all the attention that was given to this story, that it will only cause more comments such like this one. I think that Imus was used merely as an example, for MSNBC to cover themselves from taking a hit, and being affiliated as sexist and/or racist.
Don Imus has practically been known for inventing “shock” radio though. And didn’t this comment do just that? Shock us? It is so hard to live in a world like the one we live in, filled with so much hate for people who are different from us. In my opinion it is frustrating enough to keep up with what words are now appropriate to be used when describing someone. It seems that the more times a word is used in an offensive way, the sooner it then becomes appropriate for every day use. For example, describing an African-American as black. When I was growing up in the 90s I was told that black was an unacceptable term to use, yet now, black is apparently a suitable word to use.
My question is, when will the people of this world be prepared to look at a word in context rather than just the word? And maybe Don Imus just thought that he was being “shocking” when he made his comment, and that he was doing his job? Maybe he as well got confused about what was now acceptable to say.