Is there a way that you can call a black woman a ‘nappy-headed ho’ without it being a racist, misogynistic statement? Maybe you could argue that it was meant as a joke. Maybe you could give a pass if the person saying it is black, or black and a woman. I think you’ll wind up twisting yourself into pretzels if you go down that road, making apologies for an ostensibly offensive statement. But, yeah, I suppose Chris Rock could use that term as part of his comedy routine without it being meant in a hurtful and hateful way. Context counts for a lot. But context isn’t helping radio shockjock Don Imus and his sidekicks at all in this situation.

Don Imus is creating controversy again. On his “Imus In The Morning” show Thursday, he referred to the Rutgers women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.”

He was talking to Sid Rosenberg with Sports Talk on the phone about the Women’s NCAA Championship game.

Imus started out talking about the Rutgers team as, “some rough girls from Rutgers. They got tattoos,” and then went on to call them “some nappy-headed hos.”

He compared them to the Tennessee team, saying “The girls from Tennessee — they all looked cute.”

The conversation then went on to compare the game to “the jigaboos versus the wannabes.” Media Matters reported that the show’s executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, made that comment.

The ‘jibaboos and wannabes’ comment is a reference to Spike Lee’s movie School Daze that examined the black Greek system in universities and the racism against dark skin within the African-American community. Lee was pointing out that racism against dark skin isn’t limited to white people. He also pointed out that light-skinned blacks are criticized for ‘straightening their nappy hair’ and for ‘wanting to be white’. Lee was making a call for unity within the black community by mocking these prejudices. But Bernard McGuirk and Don Imus just took it all as an amusing joke. Obviously.

Don Imus’s show has been making racist and homophobic comments for a long time. I stopped listening to him in about 2001 because of the racism on his show. Racism isn’t funny.

The Rutgers women’s basketball team was a great team that fell just a little short of winning the national championship. You’d think a New York based radio show would celebrate their accomplishment and not focus on how pretty they were or how dark-skinned and nappy. And why call them ‘hos’? Did they conduct themselves like tramps?

There is no saving these remarks through rationalizations. Don’t listen to Imus. He doesn’t deserve your patronage. And most of his guests are just wankers anyway.

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