Don Imus And Bernard McGuirk re “Nappy-Headed Hos”



Don Imus And Bernard McGuirk re “Nappy-Headed Hos”

‘Drive your dead over the edge,’ that’s what my elders used to say when people were being the least of what they could be. ‘Take that dead person passing for the living, and just leave them off. It’s your better self that’s most truly alive. In life, don’t be ashes, be the flame…’

One could have chosen to say about the Rutgers women basketball team members who played in the finals, something like this: ‘Those are some fine tough girls. Man, look at the grace, look at those leaps. Those tattoos, you have to be brave and stand pain to get tattoos. Those women are some strong and tough angels alright…’

But instead we heard 1950s backwoods invective by two Anglo guys who seemed to think they were talking like real baad gangstas, followed by a third fellow who wrongly named a segment from a Spike Lee film just referenced, and ending with a fourth fellow who tried to start another round of participatory screed by offering yet another insult.

If these fellows had been playing ball… the real jump-ball is initiated by Bernard McGuirk who dribbles it out of bounds, but he passes to Imus who takes a turn and adds a foul of his own… McGuirk back in the game as ball hog, fumbles, and runs in the paint again as Imus feints away from center court…. But McCord comes up fast with a wrong turn, and Rosenberg tries to bring the ball into play again, but fails.

The Transcript [via Media Matters]:
DON IMUS: So, I watched the basketball game last night between — a little bit of Rutgers and Tennessee, the women’s final.
SID ROSENBERG: Yeah, Tennessee won last night — seventh championship for [Tennessee coach] Pat Summitt, I-Man. They beat Rutgers by 13 points.
IMUS: That’s some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and —
BERNARD McGUIRK: 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.
IMUS: Yeah.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes — that movie that he had.
IMUS: Yeah, it was a tough —
CHARLES McCORD: Do The Right Thing.
McGUIRK: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
IMUS: I don’t know if I’d have wanted to beat Rutgers or not, but they did, right?
ROSENBERG: It was a tough watch. The more I look at Rutgers, they look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.

… “Nappy-Headed” Amongst Blacks, some have hair that has a dozen crimped waves to every inch, what Gwendolyn Brookes the poet, called ‘sand-waves.’ Thus, ‘nappy hair’ is often so like a beautifully woven soft-crested silk. A fine-toothed comb catches in it, but combs that are wide-toothed are perfect for sculpting this majestic kind of hair.

Where I grew up in the backwoods a million years ago, when a Black woman used the word ‘nappy,’ she meant her hair was being defiant, not yet combed to satisfaction. It could also mean she didn’t like the texture of her hair that day, or moment, or ever… for back then, many Black women were pressured to believe that the Anglo and Euro models in magazines and the actresses in films, displayed the only acceptable hair texture… smooth like glass and swinging.

Therefore, if your hair was ‘different’ than the models in magazines, there was a degree of shame and fret– and hope about doing whatever you could to make your hair match the images on paper. Iron, heat, chemicals, fire, burn, scar. This wish to look ‘magazine beautiful’ was not a vanity. Back then, it was an imperative: Many Blacks had to try to ‘look right’ to the dominant culture, because that culture held the power of absolute exclusion and punishment for those it had decided were inferior… ‘those others who are not like us.’

For myself, as a child of an immigrant and refugee family, by the time I was in grade school I was deemed “not college material,” ‘a waste of money to educate this girl.’ So right after high school, I got the idea I could earn my way in the world by traveling from porch to porch on the farm roads, trimming old farm guys’ beards and taking care of farm wives’ hair and that of the workers in the fields and inside the big houses. The people of that time and place were Anglo, Euro and Native Americans, Asian, Latino, and Black. I can still call back all the different textures and temperatures of people’s hair that ran over and through my hands.

For my Black women customers, I’d oil their poor scalps between all the old scars they’d gotten years before from accidentally being burnt with the tip of a hot iron while straightening their hair. I’d cut and curl, push and finger-wave, braid and halo…then step back for the final ta-dah. Smiling eyes would meet mine in the hand mirror. It ever gave me happiness to make others their most beautiful, to see firsthand that our God was a fierce Creator God indeed, for no two person’s, even sisters and brothers, had hair that looked, or flowed or fell in quite the same ways.

“nappy-headed”… This phrase is used another way, one that has nothing to do with having a semi-benign ‘bad hair day.’ ‘Nappy headed’ was also a slur, a term of intense derision against Blacks. The epithet ‘nappy-headed’ often was ejaculated with a curse attached to it, as in, ‘That nappy-headed s.o.b.c.s.’ Back then, to attack a person’s God-given appearance, meant the target of such was being deemed a far lesser person than the speaker. Far less.. Often enough, dangerously so.

Back then, it was considered ‘alright’ amongst those in such agreement, to treat the ‘lesser person’ unctuously, heartlessly; to use them as fodder for sarcastic and gleeful elbowing of each other; for the group to affirm their bonds with each other by pushing off from the first insult and then trying to top each other in how harsh, low and ‘funny’ they could be whilst humiliating ‘those others who are not like us.’ Back then, too often, such unprovoked aggressions escalated to unending harassments, and sometimes to doing direct harm, or covertly arranging that harm be done to the person deemed inferior.

…’Jigaboo…’ is an ugly old slur used by Whites long ago to refer to dark-skinned people. This word and other pejoratives were used to taunt and demean in some seeming mad attempt to erase the humanity of the person being spoken to or about. That some people slur others is not an issue about ‘feelings’ being hurt; although that is part of the aim of those who sling derogations. I know it puzzles some and angers others that calling people in less than humane ways ought even be an issue. ‘It’s all sport,’ some might say in various ways. ‘It’s just fun. I don’t see why anyone is upset. It’s funny, lighten up. If you don’t like it, turn away. I like it, so you should too.’ I think I grasp the timbre of these points.

…’nappy-headed’, ‘Jigaboo…’ Yet, I would offer that in any family… meaning the world family or the personal family … when an adult hears ‘the kids’ in the next room using words associated with demeaning others… an alert adult hears this as a signal… a signal that they ought go investigate, listen, assess, and see what’s really going on, to then lay down terms for peace-making, keeping close watch for a time afterwards… because the adult knows that unjustified ill-treatment of one by another often magnetically encourages others who are not thinking clearly, to join right in.

Moreover, adults know that if and when ‘the designated target’ doesn’t bow to accept such abuse compliantly, the actor(s) may deem it ‘normal’ to ratchet up the abuse further… feeling justified in punishing the ‘other’ for not having capitulated properly, humbly, tearfully or quickly enough to begin with.

Throughout history, humiliating a person or a group has been one way that some commence in their unconscious intent to dehumanize so it can be made to seem alright to also deal undeserved emotional, social, economic and/or physical blows on ‘others who are not us.’ Humiliation as sport has too often led to the least of what is human rather than what is best, or even moderately good. The answer is not, ‘What’s the matter with you, can’t you take a f-ing joke?’ because mob psychology is not a fiction, nor a joke. It’s a hard fact.

In psychology of groups, being brutal with others is catching, like an infection. Thuggery and torment by one, are contagions to those who are not immune to ‘joining in;’ to those who are being thoughtless in the moment, who are impulsive, easily distracted, afraid to be thought soft, fearful of being punished or losing some advantage for not joining in, wanting favor for their families, wanting to keep a friend more than wanting to hold to an ethic, wanting to be part of a coterie that calls itself ‘elite,’ feeling pressured to keep up a false persona, or simply not weighing inevitable negative consequences yet to come for those who proliferate the dehumanizing of others.

Children try out taunting one another, and sometimes gang up on one another. However, with adult leadership, they soon drop those behaviors and instead learn civility toward those they have little in common with, and favor an authenticity of friendships with others. Children are thus helped ‘to grow up’ by both peers and adults who notice and invite them to a higher bar. They may waver in learning these skills because they are young and still practicing. But they do learn discernment as they continue to practice.

But, some, for any number of reasons, instead learn to seek excitement in insulting and being cruel… most often for an outer and an inner payoff of some kind. They often try to inveigle vulnerable others to join them in spewing… in part because they take a kind of –not happiness, although they are often guffawing and giggling while tormenting others– but rather a kind of very evanescent security…a security that comes from seeing others add to the roil by copying their own poor treatment of others.

Most often, tormenters and menacers carry a painful secret as well: they cannot bear to be lonely or without the approval of others. Thus they seek like-kind. Somewhere in life, each decided that admiration is not available to or for them. They turn to ‘negative forms of admiration’ that do not satisfy either, but amongst humans, to not be recognized for anything at all is far worse than being a consistent carrier of negativity and a seeker of negative attention.

And as difficult, sometimes in defense, those whom they torment learn to be just like them in certain ways … flattened of feeling, not properly reactive, and chronically depressed. Those who predate on others sometimes almost solely seek the excitement they feel when taunting as a remedy to their depression. But like a sugar high, using cruelty as an anti-depressant doesn’t work for very long before the person must dose themselves again.

Children and young adults who are challenged in these ways are most often not hopeless however. There are many professionals and spiritual people, leaders and helpers in the field of turning young lives around, lives which first began on this loveless path. And some of those leaders, now grown and healed through hard work of self-questioning and new life with new friends, were once themselves one of the children who said they felt nothing anymore, and therefore neither ought anyone else.

By my sights, most everyone is reachable in time, even though it is a difficult and often heroic endeavor on everyone’s part, and the child/ young adult is often at first resistant. But when a person is born with a soul, despite all the outer armor one has piled upon oneself, the soul is still ever listening for goodness and for love.

… “nappy-headed ho’s” and all the other names called that reference stupidity, ugliness, lack of value… The thing is, all of us regardless of heritage, come from a long ago and not so long ago people… who were hounded, barred, harassed, harangued, harmed and their blood spilled as though it were mere water. There is no familial history that stretches far back that is without a plague and a conquering, sometimes many times over.

Not only that, but much discrimination is intra-cultural, meaning enmity is set up between this kind of Irish and that other kind of Irish; between this kind of Jew and that kind of Jew; between this kind of Republican and that kind of Republican; between this economic class of Whites and that other economic class of Whites. Spike Lee commented about the tensions between light-skinned and dark-skinned Blacks in his film School Daze.

Setting enmity between people is an old old story, one we have to strive to not be knee-jerked into joining up. Most of us are barely but a generations or two or ten distant from having such opprobrium and injustice unleashed on those we descended from… All the more reason to resist heaping unnecessary harshness on others now… for surely we’re here to build something better with one another.

Thus, the answer to these issues regarding deleterious words used to put down others, is not some school-marmish, ‘You shouldn’t call people names; bad bad.’ Neither is it a laconic, ‘Well, some people make their money by being inhumane.’ It isn’t an issue of, ‘By gosh, anyone has a right to call anyone whatever they want according to the First Amendment.’

Nor is it a matter of political correctness which is far too often really just a version of ‘free speech for me, but not for thee’ regardless of who is crying uncle. And the answer to these issues is also not an after-the-fact, ‘Aw come on, it was just a joke.’ By my lights as a long-standing visiting diversity scholar, neither is it an issue of ‘diversity.’

In fact there is no answer at all. Because it’s not an answer that’s needed. It’s a set of questions that’s needed. And the first question is one of humanity: How shall we live with one another? How shall we live with one another with best grace and most hope?… What shall be our code of conduct with one another? How to knit being a humane person deep into the roots of all our cultures?

These questions and more, are not modern issues. How to be ser humano, a full human being, is an ancient issue, and one that requires in our time, new level-headed and unruined-heart responses to be imagined and lived out.

Mr. Imus has read a written apology on air since. He seems a complicated man for I also know of his work of giving much to those who have little or nothing via he and his wife’s healing ranch for children: the oppositions of these two sides is bewildering to many.

However I can say this: I believe that all our young on this planet are born gifted in different ways. Through honing and practice, often striving alone, through believing by force of spirit alone that what they dream is within their reach…. many many of the young grow up to be great in their gifts. Even those who become derelict geniuses for a time, they too find their way. And the late bloomers in the extreme: Ah yes, often after many seasons of looking wilted and unpromising, they suddenly bloom… and more than once, and for life.

We can never know which young gifted person has run longer without help or without nourishment enough. We can never know which gifted young person is losing their dream but for lack of a kind word or a jot of encouragement that pours into their soul just right.

Therefore, it is especially incumbent on those of us who are the elders in this huge rendezvous of world tribes we now live in, to never try to demolish or demoralize the gifted young, but rather to lift them, to let them know we are the old believers who can see what the young are trying so heartfully to see, and that rather than taunt them we are here to dream with them.

Thus, if the women of the Rutgers team have broken from old corrosive pressures to conform to anyone else’s idea of beauty, then good for them. Excellent, in fact. And let the women players from the Tennessee team have their own special beauty too. Do not one more time allow any person to set enmity between women who are different from one another, by lifting one up high, while throwing the others down low. Though it may startle some of the old guard who are used to thinking narrowly about women’s appearances in ways they most easily identify with, still, good for women who decide to appear as they are and however they wish.

Defining oneself with sovereignty over one’s own life, is what all persons ever aim toward. And for women who also have the gifts of leaping and turning and running and sharp vision, well then it’s time and far past time, to add another category to the lexicon of women’s splendor. Let’s add ‘Women strong of heart and sure of step who show up in all their feminine warrior beauty.’

‘Drive your dead over the edge…. Take that dead person passing for the living, and just leave them off. In life, don’t be ashes, be the flame…’

‘ ‘Nappy-Headed Hos’ ‘ ©2007 Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, All Rights Reserved.

You can get more information about Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ books (and readers’ reviews of them) by CLICKING HERE. Read her BIOGRAPHY HERE.

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

  • Lynx

    My congratulations on a well written piece that manages to fully critisize the humiliating comments made by those “gentlemen” without resorting to the shorthand “white guy using black racist slang, RACIST!” that I would usually expect. They were trying to be badassed, but just managed the Ass.

    Jigaboo…wow, I didn’t even know that word was EVER used anymore, outside history books. Is it used amongst the African American community? It sounds like pickaninny octoroon and sambo to me, not something for the 21st century.

  • carpeicthus

    C’mon, I don’t think it’s silly to use the word racist here. Yes, they’re just try to be controversial to get ratings rather than acting out of any personal animus, but that’s just ridiculous. If it would give them another share, look for them to burn some crosses next week.

  • C Stanley

    I appreciate this well written post. I was moved by the way the author incorporated her personal experience with hairdressing and the female attitudes toward societal views of beauty.

    And so I have to apologize in advance for this next bit, for I fear I’m treading into the territory of giving tit for tat. But I can’t resist the urge to point out the irony of Imus critiquing the physical appearance of any other human being.

    As I said, I’m sorry, but someone had to say it. :-)

  • jwest

    Isn’t the better argument explaining the Imus comment the over-familiarity liberals feel with their position towards blacks?

    Imus doesn’t see himself as a racist, and he probably never thought his comment would be interpreted as such. As with so many on the left, he thought his positions gave him license to use phrases that no conservative would use.

    “Nappy head Ho’s� in the context he used it was meant to invoke a mental image of rough, tattooed black women standing in stark contrast to the weak white team they were paired against. Although in terrible taste, Imus’ comment pales in comparison to other remarks made by leftist writers and radio personalities referring to Condellesa Rice and Colin Powell as “Aunt Jemima� and “Bush’s house nigger�.

    Imus’ remark was fully recognized as a joke, whereas the other comments about Rice and Powell were meant in context to be hurtful, derisive racial statements. The people making these slurs thought they were immune to criticism because they supposedly were on the correct side of the “cause�.

    The height of stupidity in Imus’ mea culpa about this incident was his remark (and I paraphrase):

    “If someone as good as me can make a mistake and say something like this, imagine what those on the right say�.

    What a fool.

  • Davebo


    There’s even more to it than that.

    Remember this is Don Imus, the guy who parlayed years of cocaine and alchohol abuse into a career criticizing folks for what he percieves to be moral failings.

    Guess it takes a someone totally devoid of morality, or dignity for that matter, to recognize such failings.

  • G. Weightman

    Public discourse is full of hateful and hurtful speech; some of it permissible, some of it not. Ninety years ago, Walter Kelly (Grace Kelly’s uncle) made a small fortune with his Virginia Judge act — telling “darky� tales full of vicious and not very amusing racist humor.

    Today, the career of another entertainer is being threatened for remarks that would have been applauded on the vaudeville stage. The rules have changed. You can’t cast aspersions on a class of people. By contrast, feel free to revile the character, motivations, and actions of individual public figures without regard to fairness, accuracy, or public decency.

    I predict that Imus will survive after metaphorically standing barefoot in the snows at Canarsie. But his producer (Bernard McGuirk) will be thrown under the bus.

  • m. takhallus

    Imus and McGuirk shouldn’t have said what they said. But Imus is not a racist. And that, to me, is the point. Intentions do matter. We judge not just the word by itself but the person speaking the word and the intent behind the use of words. If we didn’t differentiate in that way we’d have to be far more upset by 50-Cent or Snoop Dogg than by Don Imus.

    There are real, honest-to-God haters out there in the world. There are people who genuinely hate African-Americans and who wish them ill. Imus isn’t one of them. Racism is real. But Imus isn’t a racist. So why don’t we focus a little more ire on the real enemies of humanity and not on words meant to amuse rather than harm?

  • White Agent

    Good Grief.

  • C Stanley

    m. tak,
    To some degree I agree with you, but the trouble is that the standard you apply is generally not applied evenly. Conservatives who make such ‘jokes’ are not given the benefit of the doubt even if they have no history that indicates that they are ‘haters’, while as jwest mentions, liberals seem to feel that because they believe they occupy the higher moral ground on diversity they’re entitled to make such comments without racist intent being inferred.

  • Lynx

    There’s no doubt that a double standard exists for such insults, indeed for all insults. The closer you are or are percieved to be to the insulted group, the more “right” you have to use your words carelessly. Blacks could say what Imus said and probably get a minimum of crap for it, a known liberal who is white would get level A of crap, and a known conservative would be utterly demonized for it. There IS a level of logic in the matter. Usually it’s assumed that the closer you are to a group, the less likely you are to have truly bad intentions towards that group, so that your comments are less likely to be taken in a bad light. But these distinctions have a tendency to become very unfair very quickly. Especially frustrating is when a person who makes this sort of comment is recognized by others as NOT being a racist, but vilified anyway, because “those people” shouldn’t make those sorts of comments (implication being that if you were of another group it’s OK to say those things, even though neither one is racist).

  • Susan

    Wow. I did not see the transcript of what was said until just now, and all I can think is that it is a sad reflection of our society and a glaring example of why blacks still struggle to get ahead today.

    “Racist” is an interesting word with varying meanings, so I will not use it to describe the words exchanged. At a minimum, however, what we have here is an example of white men using derogatory language to describe black women. “Hos”? Really?? Who doesn’t know what that means? And why is it acceptable for any man to call an entire group of women who are in the process of obtaining a college degree “hos”, knowing nothing more about them except that they are in college and play basketball?

    This really scares me, because I begin to realize that, despite my Harvard Law degree and the hard work I have put into my legal career at a large law firm, and having been with no other man than my husband, I will be nothing more to these white men than a “nappy headed ho.” (Or, maybe if I’m lucky, all my hard work will be recognized and I can be labeled a “hard-core ho” instead. I am not a “ho”, I am a woman, and so are the players on Tennessee’s women’s basketball team, and they do not deserve to be disrespected like that.

  • C Stanley

    You are completely right to be outraged, and that’s one reason that I find it contemptuous that people hold the beliefs that Lynx described (and I’m not criticizing Lynx here, I think she accurately describes the way society percieves racist comments but I think it’s sad that it is this way). Why should we excuse that kind of derogatory remark coming from anyone?? It’s not OK to denigrate, whether we do it to members of our own ‘tribe’ or someone else’s.

  • superdestroyer

    Another way to look at this is to see how race is viewed differently in women’s sports than men’s sports. White men do not seem to be bothered by paying to see mostly black athletes play sports (See NBA, NFL, college football, college basketball). But women’s sports have always been different. Women’s teams are still have more whites than the men’s teams. If is still possible to win in the women’s game with a team of mainly white players.

    The Rutgers coach, C. Vivian Stringer, is one of the few coaches who started by coaching at a HBCU and while at Rutgers had basically had all black teams. All of the other big time women’s programs (Uconn, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Purdue have had a mix of players).

    So even though Imus probably did not realize it, he definitely was stumbled into one area of sports (race in womens sports) that people are not allowed to talk about it.

  • dr.e

    Dear souls: Your comments here are smart and insightful in all directions. The questions you raise are good ones also. This Monday morning, you all remind me once again that a culture with depth is built by depth of thought… and destroyed by lack of it. It is heartening to see / hear/ read you here today. Thank you.
    dr. e.

  • dr.e

    and Lynx…
    Did you know your strong name is in exactly that line of Gwendolyn Brook’s poem quoted at the beginning of this piece re “sand waves?” The poem is called The Ballad of Chocolate Mabby; therein a black woman is referred to as a beautiful ‘lynx.’
    dr. e

  • dr.e

    Dear souls: I don’t know if I can comment on every comment, I wish I could, but un mas, superdestroyer… I hope someone from ‘inside’ will write about the insight you brought up re ‘race in women’s sports….’ Well worth putting in a window in that wall that has so few.

    and C. Stanley, thank you, as always for your care with words no matter what article you’re commenting on… I see that you fine tune/ have perspective about self, others and world. And often with good humor

    The rest of you priceless souls here this morning… I read every comment you’ve made, and I will be mulling over all the salient points you’ve argued and/or made. That you grapple with such issues rather than trying to petrify them into one place, or pass them off…. and that you raise salient branching issues… that’s the heart of being ser humano, learning, as we all are, to be true human beings. To my mind, in our world presently, that’s the ticket to ride.
    dr. e

  • Cmar

    I’m curious about why the show’s producer Bernard McGuirk has escpaped the media maelstrom. Looking at the transcript, it was McGuirk that initiated the offensive line of commentary:
    “BERNARD McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.”

    Everything I’ve read is aimed at Imus. Where does McGuirk’s role come in? Why is nobody talking about this?

  • C Stanley

    Dr E,
    Thank you for the kind words; coming from you (your words I can only describe as artistry) I feel unworthy to receive such a compliment but I’ll accept it gratefully and strive to be worthy of it.

  • Lynx

    Hey C. Stanley! The fact that I described the matter does not mean I support it! I absolutely do NOT think this is fair. Just like all stereotypes, they start with a grain of truth and then take a long ride outside of logic-land. I find the fact of that double standard to be sad and wrong, as are the statements or those men. As I mentioned the worst of all is when a person says something like that (which is wrong, naturally) and then people despite recognizing that the person holds no real prejudice proceed to destroy them on the basis of what they said as if they really DID feel that way.

  • Lynx

    Dr. E, thank you. No, I hadn’t realized that at all. I chose Lynx a long time ago, because I didn’t want to use my real name for all the forums and because I believe the Lynx is an animal that combines beauty, strength, stealth and intelligence, all things to which I aspire. You have to aim high, after all :-)

  • C Stanley

    Hey C. Stanley! The fact that I described the matter does not mean I support it!

    I got that, Lynx, and tried to convey that I was criticising the practice itself, not you for describing it accurately. I’m sorry if I didn’t succeed in explaining that I didn’t think that you condoned that.

  • dr.e

    Cmar. Yes. Exactly. At the beginning of this piece, I note that it is ‘a call and response’ begun by Mr. McGuirk, and kept in play by McGuirk. In the actual segment, every time Mr. Imus sags away, Mr. McGuirk tries to pick up the ball and score again.

    As I wrote and gathered and looked at the evidences… it was interesting to analyze the cadence and emphasis –or lack of it– of the original voice exchange on air. The affect of Mr. Imus was almost vague, while Mr. McGuirk’s affect was much more vehement. Mr. McGuirk, in this particular case, just my two cent’s worth, kept putting out the fuel that the segment burned on.

    GWeightman in a comment here too notes that McGuirk and Imus are in the story together, not separately. GWeightman offers the insight that perhaps Mr. Imus will be ‘saved’ and Mr. McGuirk suddenly found ‘under the bus.’

    And you’re right, most all media eyes and voices are aimed at Mr. Imus. And your question is viable. I think most journalists who were trained at a certain time and place, were trained to use the ‘household name,’ the most prominent name as their central bait on the lead hook to be dropped into the pool of readers. And too, there is much money involved in every direction. Advertisers, whether for MSNBC or for all the media outlets covering this instance. Much ‘copy-catting’ of AP or Reuters articles going on. Much rush to say the ‘key name’ over and over… in part, to draw revenues.

    Many of us who write for online news such as TMV, hope that since we are not in direct relationship with huge advertisers or print organs that have big money maws and need many millions of dollars to feed them constantly… that we can offer views that are far more insightful and different than those much of the harried mass media offers; that we can do more original research and look at matters more intently and hopefully more deeply and broadly. There are many excellent print and television journalists who do indepth and broad reportage well… but there are many more who seem to just be repeating what they heard another newsperson say or write.

    In my own work, just speaking for myself, I ever hope it can be not only original, but like I mentioned earlier, be even a small window in what has often been an endless stone wall… so that others peeking in can, hopefully in some way, find something useful.
    dr e

  • Lynx

    C. Stanley, more careful reading of your comment makes it obvious that I jumped the gun, my apologies. This whole issue got me thinking how sensationalist the whole society is. This comment, rightfully, causes disgust, but I search in vain for the screaming headlines that say that a majority of black children are born to broken homes. That most of those kids grow up without a father. A father is important in any family but even more so in a poor family. Real, in depth discussion of the many problems faced by the black community is drowned out by who used the N-word today and whether it’s all racisms fault or all playing the victims’ fault.

  • C Stanley

    It is a bit like Brave New World, isn’t it? The mind numbing culture distracts us from the real issues.

  • superdestroyer

    Dr E.

    You should look at some background information on women college sports. Two of the most interesting statistics is that women athletes graduate at a much higher rate than men. The second is that at NCAA schools black female athletes are on teams at about the same level as black students in the overall student body. Hispanic and Asian females are vastly underrepresented.

    White females are overrepresented with suburban white women being massively overrepresented. It is strange for male sport fans to catch a minute of NCAA soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, or volleyball to notice that they are all white, blonde, and have pony tails.

    Thus a sport observer used to watching a horde of blonde Russian tennis players, or blonde, white pony tailed soccer players would immediately notice that the Williams sisters or the Rutgers women’s basketball team are different than the normal female athlete.

    Also, you should look at the women who end up being on the dance team or cheerleaders at NCAA universities. They are overwhelmingly white because only upper middle class white can afford the dance and gymnastics lessons since the women were three years old or the cheerleader camps.

  • dr.e

    superdestroyer; that’s an interesting insight about who is a cheerleader re parents’ income levels. I wonder if such programs have scholarships or other helps for girls of all backgrounds regardless of race who cannot go to cheerleader camps.
    dr e

  • superdestroyer

    At the college leve, I would doubt it. There are more than enough girls trying to become a college cheerleader that colleges to not have to support them.

    Right after the Rose Bowl, there was little internet obsession with the USC Songgirls. Several sports based webpages linked to their official bios. All of the songgirls have been studying dance, gymnastics, and music since before first grade. I know of every few programs that could put poor children of any race into tap, ballet, or jazz dance classes when they are 4 or 5 to go along with tumbling, gymnastics, and voice lessons. Thus, most college cheerleaders come from uppermiddle class families.

    Even MTV made a big deal when the first all black team competed in a national competative cheerleading contest.

    The same could be said for softball, lacrosse, or volleyball lessons. Girls in those sports who are competative have been going to camp and playing organized sports since the fourth grade.

  • dr.e

    During a face-to-face on Rev. Sharpton’s radio show today, Mr. Imus became angry when an editor from Ebony magazine said his magazine (paraphrased) had been writing about sickle-cell anemia for decades back when Mr. Imus was doing commercials for used cars.

    I do not know if Mr. Imus ever did used car commercials long ago, but he appeared to take offense at the ‘used car commericals’ part.

    The exchange apparently began because Mr. Imus felt that no Black magazines covered Mr. Imus’s work with Blacks who have sickle-cell anemia… and the Ebony editor’s response was thus…

    I have not listened to the complete radio show yet, just two excerpts, I hope to find the entire show tonight.
    dr e

  • Dixie_Chik

    As a regular watcher of this program, I am very familiar with the free for all, disparaging remarks. Really no one is spared by the “gang” including the “I” man. It was only a matter of time before someone went completely over the edge. But I believe Imus is capable of learning, even at this late date.

    He should stick to being a thorn in the side of the powerful, which he does pretty well. That way he can stay out of trouble. Lev e aspiring young black women, fat people and others who are living decent lives and not destroying people with their power, alone.

  • superdestroyer

    Dr e.

    Another racial aspects of sports (both men and women) is the question that rarely gets raised about the ability of black coaches to recruit white players. White coaches like Pat Summit and Geno Auriemma have traditionally recruited both white and black players but black coaches have traditionally had a harder time recruiting white players.

    If you look at the top three white basketball prospects for for 2007, two of them are going to Duke and one to Florida. I would guess that none of them were considering playing for John Thompson III at Georgetown or Al Skinner at Boston College.

  • Angel Elf

    One would think that a so-called Christian Reverend would be the first to forgive, forget and turn the other cheek. Sharpton should just accept the apology and move on. To have to bow down to the likes of Sharpton, well, that’s just a bit too much. Perhaps Imus should have called Sharpton a “Ho” ’cause that is exactly what he is. Anyone remember the Reverend’s silence when that other Reverend, Jessie Jackson, said that New York City was “Hymie-town”? Where was the Reverend Al’s apology for the Tawana Brawley hoax? Or for the blood on his hands for that demonstration at Freddie’s Fashion Mart in Harlem on 125th St. December 9, 1995? Seething ethnic rage and hate against “white interlopers” fueled that protest. Sharpton often joined the crowds himself seemingly content to be surrounded by terrorists taunting such odious chants as “bloodsucking Jews”, “crackers”, and “Jew bastards.” Al Sharpton, who helped to sponsor the protests against the clothing store, criticized the investigators for quickly linking the conflagration to the protests.

    Pot to Kettle: “You’re Black”.

  • Laura

    Imus may be a degenerate lowlife, but sharpton is a racial pimp, a sleazy opportunist who should have gone to jail for his part in the Tawana Brawley Hoax. Not to mention inciting the mob which attacked and killed Yankel Rosenbaum, and in another incident incited a group which burned a Korean owned store. Sharpton himself is a racist and an anti-Semite. I’m really quite sick of sharpton sticking his nose into all of these situations and insisting people get fired for offensive speech, all the while he remains free in spite of the above mentioned incidents, and I’m sick of people groveling to him.

  • dr.e

    Good Morning dear souls: I just wanted to say, here in the Rockies I am watching the newsconference of the Rutgers women who comprise the basketball team and reading your insightful responses too. I think of you all, and the Rutgers women too, and think for the ‘many-eth’ time that it’s people who think at depth, beyond the repetitive public squall, who are/ can be useful and often sorely needed influences in our culture.

    Though my article was about a specific aspect regarding the Imus-McGuirk situation, you can see that the issue, as time goes on, has publically grown many branches, some of them superficial and some of them deeply thoughtful… I think eventually and soon, the issue is going to flow outward… and inward in thoughtful persons… beyond Mssrs. Imus, McGuirk, Rosenberg and McCord.

    I think that Mr. Imus and Mr. McGuirk were the newest entry point into a many decades’ long wound… one that affects not just women, but also men… for in a certain part of culture, there truly is a systemic infection that has several etioligies.

    My hope is that many people will pour medicine into that longstanding wound, and not just in this moment. But with devotion, each in his or her own way. For longstanding and deep wounds may not be cured completely ever, but they can be closed and given medicine and especially, all supporting tissue surrounding can be vastly strengthened so it does not supperate too.
    with kindest regards,
    dr e

  • dr.e

    superdestroyer; your knowings about sports… I hope you will write about these, and not just once. I think many people would be suprised to hear the back stories
    dr e

  • larrytimes

    “That’s not funny” is no excuse for real social-change advocacy. Rev. Jackson and Al Sharpton are noteworthy opportunitists. Their tantrums are getting us nowhere fast. Imus and Rutgers are both trafficking in the scarcest commodity the culture knows: a moment of focused attention.

  • The Sarcasticynic

    Maybe he said “Happy Wedded Vogues.” Those who believe that the solution to the “Imus” problem is to simply turn him off are not considering one key point. Please visit “If you don’t like it, turn it off” at if interested.

  • Shogun

    I don’t know what hos mean. Thanks to the author of the article I understood what is “nappy headed and jigaboos”. I’m sorry to ask, but I am not a native english speaker, and not an american born, so I don’t know this words, their usage, the history of these expressions,etc. Would anybody be kind and explain that to me?

    On the other hand, I agree that awful things were said. I saw the comments on youtube. My question is : Why only Imus is held accountable, when is obvious that the others contributed to the overall racist content of the show?
    He may have lit the fire, but the others continued….
    Also, let me remind you that he, like all of us is just a human. And any human is allowed to mistake, as well as is allowed to have a second chance.
    My opinion is that he should be severely punished, and banned forever from public appearances only if he repeats the mistakes.

  • Connie

    I guess I missed the boat on this whole thing. I never took this as racist comments. I was offended by Imas and crew calling the young women “hos”, which I have always took to mean “whore’. Who are these men to call any woman a “ho” ? These are women in college who also work hard at a sport. Who cares if they have tatoos? Most kids today have them. I didn’t take this as a racist slur but a slur against women who play rough sports. This is the banter of weak insecure men who are threated by strong intellient women who can play basketball better than they ever could in their prime.

  • Connie

    Urban dictionary defines: ho as “Prostitute, Whore, Hooker, Tramp, Slut”

    Thats the offensive word here……nothing racial……its an offence against ALL women.

  • Linda

    Imus is responsible for his comments, and he will and should suffer the consequences for them. They are not a mistake, a temporary error in judgment — They illuminate a mindset that gives a window to the enduring hostility to women and minorities that is embedded in our culture, even our psyches. Because he felt secure, he didn’t have any anxiety about what he was unleashing.

    I remember the days post-9/11 when I couldn’t sleep. I found myself turning on the television very early in the morning and watching Imus et al. I didn’t agree with everything he said even then but I remember nothing as inflammatory as the recent comments. I somehow found comfort and reassurance in his morning banter even in the daily presence of the smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers on the monitors.

    As a person, I believe Don Imus can be redeemed. As an icon, he has outlived his relevance.

    Dr. E, for some reason your story of the Lost Mother Moon comes to mind… The stone is rolled away and the light is shining.

  • dr.e

    dear shogun: thank you and I will try to answer your question:

    In a colloquial form of English, the word ‘ho’ is a phonetic abbreviation of the word ‘whore.’ The word ‘ho’ is sometimes used in a certain kind of African American music called hip-hop. There is much discussion amongst various groups of African Americans and others about the wisdom of using such lyrics, and how it frames the inner circle of hip-hop men and women, as well as how it affects others, especially the young, who listen to the music.

    ‘Whore’ in common usage in modern English most often refers to a degraded woman who will have sex with any man for money. There are several layers of meaning to the word in addition.

    For instance, also colloquially, sometimes people say a person, male or female is a ‘whore’ if they believe they somehow ‘sold out’… ‘Sold out’ means that someone compromised their integrity in order to get a desirable reward of some sort, or money.

    The etymology of the word ‘whore’ is confusing as it appear to originally have mean ‘dear’ in a way that appears not fraught with anything degrading attached.

    However I’d note to you also that when long ago countries were conquered by other groups, the conquerors often took words that were sacred to the conquered and subverted them to mean the opposite, and that may be true of the word ‘whore.’ It may have meant ‘dear’ in a compelling way, and a conquering force changed its meaning in order to degrade conquered women who were considered dear to someone.

    The reason I did not explain the word ‘ho’ in the article is because the word ‘whore’ has been applied to most every woman by someone as a purposeful degradation. It is so common a derogation toward women in our culture that I thought everyone would understand. I appreciate so much you reminding me that not all people who read English, are conversant with our slang and colloquialisms. I will keep this in mind as I write next.

    I’d just add too, that it most men are also called ‘whore’ somewhere in their lifetimes, probably either meaning they ‘sold out’ or sometimes men who are friends say things to each other meaning to be humorous, things like “You’re a golf whore,” meaning their friend really likes to play golf and would sacrifice a good deal to be able to play.

    I would add just in case, in order to make friends with a man from the USA, don’t call him a ‘whore’ for anything no matter how much he likes something. It’s a matter of timing of knowing a male a pretty long time til they know you are loyal, and then the word can take on a strange almost reversion of meaning to its original, meaning ‘we are close so I can joke with you.’

    It is a confusing, multi-layered culture, our USA, and its ways of parsing language can have tremendous nuances. I hope this helped.

  • black_cat

    I’m curious if anyone here as ever watched or listened to the Imus show before this incident? He regularly referred to his loving wife as “The Green Ho”. She’s an advocate for using environmentally safe products. Nobody has said one word about the term “Green Ho.” Where was the sexist outcry then? I guess you have to be green to be offended? LOL.
    Al Sharpton is the only racist in this story. He wants “Whitey” to be held accountable for all of the wrongs in the world. Is it O.K. to be a Jew hating, white loathing black person? Apparently. The “Reverend” Al gets a pass from the liberal news media. Double standards? Oh yeah.

  • Rachel

    I’m just as offended by his comments as I am with the lyrics of some degrading rap songs. As a matter of fact, I will go a step further and say that I am MORE offended by degrading music. I’m a 32 year old black woman, MA level education. I think this situation will take care of itself. Sharpton and Jackson should address the issues in our community, why aren’t they outraged with the lyrics and the depiction in some movies? Both Sharpton & Jackson lost cool points with me after Katrina, I evacuated before the storm, I remember calling NAACP, Sharpton and The Rainbow Coalition looking for them. If Steve Harvey or Tom Joyner would’ve said this it would’ve been funny….maybe even passed along as an email joke. I’m tired of the double standard!! Make it clear across the board. If he gets fired then rap artists should be banned for their racist and degrading comments.

  • Simsgal

    I stumbled upon this site while looking for information re. Bernard
    McGuirk. I have so many mixed feelings about this mess. I cannot express myself as articulately as the above posters or Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. But I’ve got to put my two cents in…

    I was a semi-regular viewer of Imus’ MSNBC show frankly because at that hour all that’s on are infomercials. I never really considered it a humor show. I never liked his mean spirited way of dealing with his guests or his co-workers. I enjoyed the interviews with authors and correspondents, etc.

    I think this whole “humorous” attack was planned. They really don’t seem like the type of men who’d be big Spike Lee fans and be able to recall what were in films that were that old. I think Dr. Estés was right in that McGuirk is always the one who says the most outrageous things therefore giving Imus protection. Similar to the way Stern has Quivers as a shield. Imus can feign suprise, shock, whatever he wants because he wasn’t the one that said it. Imus is the one to take responsibilty for the remarks. McGuirk, I assume, works for Imus and Imus is responsible for his show and what goes on it.

    What bothered me the most about Imus was the constant put down of women re. their physical appearance. I mean it happened almost every day. Where was the outrage then??? To me that’s the most important issue. Women should stop tolerating this kind of behavior by all men, and all industries that support it. It should have stopped long ago. To me gender comes before race.

    I think Dr. Estés did an insightful job addressing all the issues involved in this incident. Especially what motivates someone to find insulting other people humorous. To me, Imus seemed like a petulant bully most of the time.

    However, I don’t like the feeding frenzy the press is making out of this when there are other important things that need to be covered like the war and the Bush administration. I don’t even think Imus should have been fired. I’d have given him one more chance and I don’t even like the guy. His ratings were growing so obviously there was something about his show that appealed to the TV viewing audience–perhaps they (like me) hated infomercials–who knows. I think a year from now people will realize this was an over reaction that should have been dealt with in another way.

  • dr.e

    black_cat; see my post above yours about nuance in our language re certain words like ‘whore’ …and how relationship to another person, the quality of that relationship, the certainty of ‘we know each other and rely on each other’… can sometimes make a word like ‘whore’ into ‘just banter’ among the parties that agreed to it as such, a priori.

    Using words that have more than one meaning in English, and depending on who is saying them, and depending on what each person’s relationship is to each other one, has much to say about how a single word is understood.

    I find that when there is no agreement and no certainty of reciprocal loyalty beforehand, that the a word such as ‘whore’ will communicate something else entirely. And your question is a really good one.

    Rachel: yes, you are correct. If only leaders would turn toward the communities and stay on message there. I see the flow of that idea growing, and people like you speaking will help make it so. I am glad you are safe after Katrina.

    Simsgal: Re: “I cannot express myself as articulately as”… but you did, and you are. Very well. And, you are clearly a thoughtful person.

  • Joe Gandelman

    WARNING: We’ve deleted a comment by a commenter who decided to basically repeat Mr. Imus’ comment and aim it at this site and those who’ve commented on this controversy. The commenter used the name NAPPY. Please note again our rules under the comment section. While we don’t have a huge “thought police” and allow VERY vigorous discussion, there are limits. When the limit is crossed we will and do ban readers from commenting on this site (and we do not undo a ban). People can differ greatly on this issue involving Imus and be totally opposed to criticism levelled against him and do so in a way that easily fits in with out commenting guidelines….as most people are in fact doing here and in comments on other posts on this site.

  • Dillikin

    Wow! This site blows me away. Such thoughtful comments.

    I have been watching Imus for about eight years. I haven’t watched every day, but watched at least part of the program on most days, and I will miss him greatly.

    Anyone who watched the show regularly knows that Imus is not a bigot. I don’t know why the program often projected such an image, but he was an equal opportunity offender. It was a rather “boys will be boys” locker room mentality, and the humor sometimes made me laugh, but often made me cringe.

    He strongly supported former (black) Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. in his bid for the Senate from Tennessee.

    His cattle ranch for kids with cancer accepts kids of all races, living under the same roof with him and his family. His support of the Fallen Heroes Fund raised money for a rehabilitation center in San Antonio for our wounded returning veterans, and, of course, all races are helped there.

    I learned much about what was going on in Washington, D.C. and the world in an easy and entertaining way from Imus in the Morning, and I will really miss the program. Politics will not be as interesting without him.

    I do believe that racial relations would have benefited by keeping him on the air. Once he had “seen the light,” seen how his careless words had impacted these young women, I believe he would have been a force for change — a powerful force. Now, the opportunity is lost. There will be a short dialog, and things will go back to the way they were, minus Imus.

    I’m sad about it.

  • Sharon Stephens

    Dear Dr. Est̩s РMay I offer a simple thank you for your post on the racist words used by Don Imus And Bernard McGuirk.

    Amidst all the media coverage this conversation received, very little seemed to delve into the history and usage of the racist words that were spoken.

    You, however, help to shed some light on on where these words come from.

    I amazed how little people understand that it is not was the speaker meant to say – but how the subject of the speech – and others who also heard these words – interpret their meaning.

    Racist language is like second hand smoke. It hurts its target and endangers others who hear it.

  • Simsgal

    Thanks Dr. E for your kind comments. You’ve made my day!!

  • Kim Moon

    Dr. Estes:

    I want to thank you. There is commentary on Imus’ remarks all over the Web, up and down, hither, thither, and yon … but until I found your piece I could not for the life of me find a transcript of them that included the words in context. That’s a sad commentary on the snap-response nature of our Internet discourse, and I praise you to the skies for taking the time and showing your readers the respect and honour of providing that vital information.

  • Mathew

    Where are you when Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton reveal their hidden racist/anti-semitic sides every few years? Mr. Jackson and Sharpton leading a witch hunt on a man who has done a lot of good for children (raising hundreds of millions of dollars for, among other things, sickle cell anemia) said something horrible and insensitive and has a track record of saying crude things much worse than even this is ironic given their own history. Like Imus, Jackson and Sharpton have done a lot of good things in their lives too, but do you remember Tawana Brawney, “Hymietown”, and “Rev.” Jackson openly admitting to spitting in white people’s food? Imus apologized and lost his job for his disgusting words but they have never once apologized for any of theirs. This does not excuse Imus at all and he got himself what he dished out to others for 35 years on the air. However, all public figures need to be held to the same standards. Especially religious and social rights leaders who should know better than a “shock jock” trying (in vain) to be funny.

  • Willie Smith

    Thought-provoking commentary, I’d say. Gist however, is for the taunting to not be tolerated early. Otherwise, there’ll be more of these incidents (and it doesn’t have to be). The entertainment industry should learn from this and act accordingly.

  • Dana Chapin

    I am a fifty year old white woman and I find the whole circus trailing after this repartee between “shock jocks” a bit much. Shocking with raunchy humor and insult is what these guy do for a living so I guess they did it too well. Kind of like a parasite that overwhelms its host and dies along with it. But I was never a listener or a fan.

    Is everyone insulted by these remarks happy now that these guys are out of a job? Now what about the “culture” that taught those bozos that language and I’m not talking about “white” culture here. “Nappy-headed hos” is black slang for black people and plenty of black recording artists and comics have used it in my recollection.

    I hear far worse from what I can make out of the revolting lyrics from rap and hip-hop songs that are all over the radio. Should we be surprised that radio shock jocks listen to the radio and feel free to parrot what they hear? I overhear far worse from the mouths of black teenagers addressing each other in my Harlem neighborhood.

    When black people disrespect their own so much and so publically then how can they turn around and cry foul when people whose careers are predicated on provoking commments feel comfortable enough with the language to thoughtlessly do the same? Black “artists” are the true source of these words, not the racism of an old white blowhard who is paid for edgy talk.

    Characterizing top athletes and college girls as “hos” is bad enough but, as the shock jocks pointed out – those girls are tough, and I’m sure they’ve heard worse and equally sure that most of them are headed for success anyway. They deserve recognition for their achievements, not for being insulted on the airwaves. What I really can’t bear in this whole thing in Al “Tawanna” Sharpton feeling free to monitor anyone’s speech. Sharpton’s entire career is built on libel. I’ll never forgive Imus and Company for inflicting that particular parasite on us again.

    So maybe there should be a handbook for whites on what words are verboten for us to use but part of common discourse among blacks. But didn’t we do away with that “whites only” thing about forty years ago and how far is this speak restriction supposed to go and am I still in America?

  • chris

    Of course he shouldn’t have made these comments. But firing someone for a mistake is a little harsh. Apologies if they are heartfelt should go along way. I would say this man grew up in different times when these adjectives were common place in some households. I remember listening to my great grandfather who was born in the 1880’s never say black it was always colored person or the “N” word. Would he had ben fired 20 or 30 years ago for the same comments? If it hadn’t been directed at Rutger girls but at maybe a biker bar waitress would he have been fired? Does his comments define his true point of few?

    I own a piano bar that is primarily patronized by blacks. I hear nigger this and nigger that all night. I do not believe that this gives me the license to use the word but it has been known to slip outa my mouth during some debates but of course I used the more acceptable pronunciation of nigga. Its all ages 21 to 60+ using it and from all walks of life. I did however get sharply corrected one evening by a local council person when I yelled to waitress to bring this boy a drink. I didn’t mean anything by it as I refer to many younger men of all races as boy. When I discusse it later with the younger patrons they told me it wasn’t offensive to them.

    I guess what I am getting at is there was a day and time when alot of things were acceptable and now they are not. Some things meant to be deragatory years ago have been forgotten. The younger black people had forgotten or never knew that “boy” was an offensive word use by white people to black men. But maybe it was because they are still young. maybe if Everyone would quit using the word then maybe it would be forgotten. Back to Imus. We can’t take away his life experiences. As a society we rely on live entertainers to use life experience to entertain us in radio/comedy timing is everything. An occasional slip is bound to happen. If we all were judged on every word that came from our mouth we would all be in trouble.

  • dr.e

    Dillikin “…racial relations would have benefited by keeping him on the air. Once he had “seen … how his careless words had impacted these young women, I believe he would have been a force for change — a powerful force.” Very thoughtful. You’re right, at one level, it could be seen as a potential transformation interrupted. We don’t’ know which way it would have gone. Your thoughts though, to God’s ear.

    Sharon Stephens… “second hand smoke” … very thoughtful metaphor for the effect of indirect effects

    Kim Moon…Thank you Kim Moon, what a great name. I put the transcript in the article so readers here could weigh each of the four men’s remarks, see the cadence

    Mathew…”Where are you when Jackson/ Sharpton reveal their hidden racist/anti-semitic sides every few years?” Puzzled, like a lot of people. I have many questions. I hope to read more thoughtful opinions on how different parts of the black community view all their second generation leaders (since Martin). Your questions are ones many wonder about.

    Willie Smith “taunting to not be tolerated early” Your point is well taken… I think many people do not realize the culture is shifting dramatically toward not inhibiting free speech, but drawing boundaries about where certain kinds of speech will be contained. I find it interesting that Howard Stern by going onto satellite appears to have been one of the first to do just that. I have to think more about it, but there may be quite a few examples of other persons who are moving in that direction too.

    Dana Chapin… Your idea of a book telling us all, Latinos, Blacks, Anglos, Asians, Indians, Everyone what/how to call each other is a great and potentially humorous/ serious idea, lol. In Diplomacy and International Studies, there really are books to teach how to get along and not insult people in other countries where one is doing business.

    But, there is one rule I find true and stable across all cultures: so much of how people take what one has to say depends on the relationship between the caller of names and the called. Most people say to me that others from any group can call them anything they want, as long as they know for absolutely certain that that other person has their back. In terms of hard-wired human nature, this makes sense to me. The relationship, or lack of it, greatly influences the secondary reaction.

    And Chris, you are right; “it was a time” that is no more. I sense that the world moves so fast today, that perhaps even last week become ‘a time that is no more,’ unless you are wired in at every level and change and grow with velocity.

    The zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, changes, even though many people sort of live in apparently ‘sticky parallel worlds’ “back there.” That’s one of the things I admire about bloggers and those who comment here: I see an evolution of thought, not just what I call ‘a splat’ of opinions. (ok, well, sometimes a splat or two,… ‘a splat’ being what we called in the backwoods where I grew up, a mark dropped by a large bird taking a bathroom break while flying. lol

    But in seriousness now, I’m reminded by the thoughts of everyone here, that the zeitgeist is not the only thing that moves. Some of its best people move with it, in fact are often out ahead of it conjuring it. May it be good.

  • Al Funcoot

    Imus hurt those girls’s feelings and made them cry (girls–or women? Can you imagine the boys’ team reacting like that?), so he owed them an apology, and that should have been the end of it. His firing was truly wrong: it was utterly disproportionate to the harm done.

    As Americans, we really have to stand against censorship, not just by the government, but by corporations as well. Today they banned Imus, tomorrow rap, and the next thing you know, someone will censor “I shot a man in Reno / Just watch him die.” We have to stand up for free speech, regardless of its content.

  • dr.e

    to Al Funcoot, man, they touch Mr. J Cash and it’ll bring everyone to the streets including

    But you bring up an interesting point: censorship by corporations. I hope someone will write deeply about this subject, investigativly rather than as an opinion piece. That would be really valuable. Myself, I tend to think more about how corporations might censor a priori, by not seeking nor allowing divergent and diverse voices any access to speak on radio/tv/etc., to begin with.

  • Kim Moon

    One last thought.

    The commentary about this matter has so far focussed on Don Imus.

    Can we talk a little bit about CBS Radio? CBS has paid Imus generously for thirty years, and this is a very long way from the first time he’s stepped in something brown and sticky playing the “shock jock” game. (The very nature of that game involves walking along the edge of a very high cliff. Nobody in that game should be surprised at what happens if they have a lapse of judgment and step a little too far.) I suspect that CBS Radio would like us all to conveniently forget this.

    The broadcasting license holder is responsible — legally and morally — for what goes out over the airwaves from its transmitter. And those who make the executive decisions — including hiring, retention, termination, standards and practices, marketing, and content — are responsible for those decisions. I suspect that CBS Radio would like us all to conveniently forget this as well.

    Should CBS Radio not be pressed for answers on what is going to change to ensure that we don’t wind up with another, younger “shock jock”, pushing buttons until something goes boom? I don’t expect CBS Radio to turn itself into NPR overnight — one NPR is enough — but without specific and publicly-announced policy changes on content, it’s only a matter of time before we’re back here again, because pushing buttons is what shock jocks do.

  • J Bozeman

    Not that I think Imus or for that matter Bernard were right to say what they did,several items have not been mentioned that I think should: The Rutgers team had black AND white players as did the Tennessee team. Hello?! And if you want to bring the race card in,Tom “I hate the white man” Joyner still has a job as does Jesse Jackson and Rev. AL Sharpton…oh yes,what are those “jobs” exactly gentlemen? (Not you Mr. Joyner…at least you can say whatever you want). The Imus crew deserved to be off the air for the duration that they were originally suspended. After that let the free market decide. And if you didn’t approve:DON’T LISTEN! Because of these actions,now anytime anybody gets their feelings hurt,no radio show,TV show,recording artist and comedy artist will not be safe. Welcome to 1984 some twenty years later…Big brother is officialy here.

  • J Bozeman

    Or more like “will be safe”. Man I’ve been up too long!!!

  • dr.e

    Kim Moon… ah, CBS, the Central Broadcasting System is not so “central” anymore is it…you see the Emperor’s condition. lol. I think this one is going to be up to investigative bloggers. I have been reading print ‘big media’ on this and other matters in the news this week, and don’t see one iota of investigative anything, just rehashes of AP and Reuters with a few opinions thrown in. I could be very wrong, but I keep thinking investigative reporting is going to be one of the shining lights of blogovision.

    J. Bozeman… as long as those late night typos arent “l6wdksjyng,” it’s ok. lol… good point in bringing up free market. I wish someone would write about: Can we really have free market and free expression re any radio/ tv hosts/jocks/talkies/newsreaders, if corporations are the ones who decide who will and who wont be on the air, and what bent of talk they will put their money behind…. I dont know if its the real spirit of free market if people only get to choose amongst what the primary choosers give them to choose from.The gatekeepers to radio and TV seem to keep pretty narrow gates, perhaps in part, because outfits like Clear Channel, or Rupert M and just a very few others, own most everything.

    Just culturally, I find it interesting that two groups are especially concerned about free expression presently, groups that in some way seem at opposite ends of a spectrum: people who want all expression in, say, tv, radio, music, etc… and those from the religious right who also want all expression of their philosophies in the same media.

  • chris

    I am actually thinking Imus is not going to be broke since he lost his job. so be it. I was watching Oprah and she had several columnist and Hip-hop industry people on the show discussing this topic. I was glad to see some females from a college standing up against the hip hop culture which degrades females. I must say I am shocked by some of the lyrics. “Bitches” and “HO’S”. one of the VP’s of one recording company was offended when one of the columnist referred to the recording artist as clowns thinking he had called him a clown but in essence they all are because they allow it to be mass marketed.

    They had said these artist are singing from life experiences. I had also heard some people call this the crack baby generation. But my personal belief that television, movies, removal of corporal punishment from schools has lead way to this.

    If this has opened a dialogue between races and sexes then Imus might become an icon of the year 2007. But like so many other hot topics it is sure to pass from the headlines until another white person stumbles. Because we are the only race held to these higher standards.

  • evilwickedsteplistener


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