If you have not heard the first three words of my title in the past few days, then you have truly been living under a rock. Story Here:
I want to address Don Imus directly in this letter to explain why this insult is as damaging and degrading as it is. I want to get right down to the insult and break down the words used in the insult, nappy headed ho’s.
Nappy, according to Dictionary.com means “fuzzy, kinky,” used in colloquial or derogatory referring to the hair of black people. Likewise, Nappy headed according to Urbandictionary.com is a term used to describe someone (typically of African descent) who possesses tightly coiled, very curly hair. It also means an African or African American or anyone of African descent who wears that hair natural and has one of the many textures of woolly-like (nappy) hair.
Therefore, no matter how you cut it, “nappy headed” is a derogatory insult specifically geared toward blacks. The problem with the term, nappy headed, is that it should not be an insult. You see, after generations and generations of black women hiding, processing, and altering our hair lest someone spy a “nap” on our heads, many black women, including myself have returned to our roots so to speak. We are natural (nappy) and loving it. After decades of relearning that as black women that the hair that grows out of our heads in the state that is grows is beautiful, we are reminded why we grew to hair our natural hair in the first place. It hurts for in one moment, in one “slip of the tongue”, in one callous remark, many young women who do not understand how beautiful they are once again, reaching for their headscarves.
Now, let us look at the word ho’s, whether you refer to hardcore ho’s or nappy headed ho’s, a ho is a whore. Urban dictionary.com defines the word ho as a prostitute, whore, hooker, tramp, and slut. Even worse than that, a whore is a woman who uses her body, or gives the impression that her mark can be intimate with her, for material gain or to boost her own ego. A whore is a prostitute. No, Mr. Imus, a Ho is not just a word from Santa Claus; it is the absolute worst of insults you can bestow on a young woman.
With that said, the fact remains that you called a group of innocent young women nappy headed ho’s. As Yo Merra, a contributor to Yahoo answers.com stated, “”Nappy” generally refers to African American hair that has not been brushed or cared for and has just been left to get all knotted up.”Ho” refers to a woman who has sex with many different men. Not only did you call then whores, but spat the words nappy headed ho’s. I hate to use these words, but your insult was akin to calling them N*gger Whores. You should truly be ashamed.
While I do not believe that, you would have ever used the words that I compared yours too, that fact remains that you might as well had said it. While I can see that your apology is sincere, in your body language, and apparent humility, I do not believe that you understand the gravity of the words that came from your mouth. I do not know if you need to resign. I do not know if you need to be fired. I do believe that you are generally a good man that said bad words. In that, sir, I do not believe you should have said those bad words and that you should never say anything of that sort again.
There are some steps you can take to avoid making such deplorable comments again. I think you should attend sensitivity training courses. I think you should spend some time with the people you insulted, should they want to. I think you should break bread with their families, have them into your home, and go into yours, if they will have you. I believe the only way you can erase such thought processes from your brain, and labels from your heart is to really, really get to know those who you have stereotyped.
I wish you the best of luck in the remainder of your broadcasting career and impending retirement. You have entertained generations of audiences for years with your off color humor and insults of those in the media. Your humor however, is lost on this current generation. Humor of your kind, may have been “funny” twenty years ago, but is no longer in vogue.