Does Don “Dumbass Ingnoramous” Imus Even Know What Nappy Hair Is?
If I’m not mistaken there wasn’t one young lady on that basketball team that was even sporting nappy hair. He knows enough about the reference to know that it would be derrogatory and inflamatory but he truely showed his ignorance, as usual, in more than one way in that conversation.
Anyhoo, it dawned on me, that if he doesn’t know what nappy hair is, why would most white folks. Heck, according to beauty industry stats 60-70% of all black women straighten their hair. Now if the last three generations of black women have probably never seen their own nappy hair, why would Ignoramous even know what he was referring to.
White folks around the country are scrambling trying to figure out what nappy means…
Now the reason for my post. I was looking at my blog stats on Nappturology 101 just now and decided to check out the search terms folks were using to find my site. I’m sure I got the hits because I blogged on this stupid controversy. Well, here are some of the results. Folks (white folks no doubt) trying to find out what the heck nappy hair is.
nappy hair 17
NAPPY HEAD HO 2
Nappy Head 2
nap hair ho 1
nappy head 1
NAPPY HEAD 1
what is nappy hair 1
nappy head ho 1
nappy heads 1
Nappy Hair 1
Now mind you, I wrote this last night, before I even saw this article posted on MSNBC
Imus slur is so racist it has fallen from use
‘Nappy’ seen as vile term for tightly curled African-American hair
Updated: 5:10 p.m. CT April 10, 2007
NEW YORK – When syndicated U.S. radio host Don Imus called a mostly black women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos,” he used a slur considered so racist it has mostly fallen out of modern American usage.
“Nappy is in the lexicon of racism in the same category as pickaninny—an old Southernism which used to be used to describe a small African American child—and nigger,” said Anne Soukhanov, U.S. editor of the Encarta Webster’s Dictionary and a veteran columnist on language.
In many English-speaking countries, the word “nappy” means a diaper or a Scottish ale. But in the United States it is seen as a vile slur describing the tightly-curled natural hair texture of many African Americans.
“I have not heard ‘nappy’ for years and I was born in the South,” Soukhanov, 63, said, describing Imus’s comments as “antique racism — words not used anymore except by people who are very insensitive to the culture we live in.”
By contrast “ho” is slang for “whore” whose usage has exploded in hip-hop music and popular culture in recent years, prompting some black leaders to urge record companies to halt the use of offensive words in rap music.
Debates over racial expressions are a frequent feature of an American culture still struggling to come to terms with a legacy of slavery and discrimination.
Imus made the provocative remarks last Wednesday after the Rutgers University team lost the national championship game.
On Monday CBS Radio and MSNBC, which broadcasts the “Imus In The Morning” radio show on television, suspended Imus for two weeks.
Black leaders from Al Sharpton to Jesse Jackson have demanded he be fired outright despite his apologies.
‘Nappy-headed’ can be used ‘lovingly’
Harvard University law professor Randall Kennedy, author of the book “Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word,” called Imus’s remarks “terrible and reprehensible.”
“But it is not the words themselves that tell the whole story here,” Kennedy said. “’Nappy-headed’ could be used in a variety of ways, it can be said lovingly or in a complimentary way, but Don Imus said it in to express casual contempt.”
Kennedy said the Imus flap was exacerbated by his past.
“This is not the first time Don Imus has said absolutely reprehensible things,” he said. “No one who knows his show at all could say, ‘Gosh, I was surprised.”’
The National Association of Black Journalists says Imus called journalist Gwen Ifill of the Public Broadcasting Service a “cleaning lady” when she covered the White House for The New York Times and referred to sports columnist William Rhoden of The Times as “a quota hire.”
“Nappy” derives from the Middle English word “noppy” or “noppe,” used to describe the frayed edge of a piece of cloth. It became a slur in common usage in America by the 1890s.
In 1998 the children’s book “Nappy Hair,” published in 1997 as a celebration of black culture, made national headlines when Ruth Sherman, a white school teacher, read it to her elementary class in Brooklyn of mostly black and Hispanic kids.
Her action brought protests from black parents who said the teacher was insensitive to the politics of black hair and self-esteem. Sherman said the book had a positive message but she received threats and resigned from the school.
Jesse Sheidlower, editor-at-large for the Oxford English Dictionary, said the cases of Sherman and Imus are indicative of how the use of sensitive words depends on who says them.
“Very often it is OK for members of one group to use a pejorative term on other members of that group, such as when black people call each other nigger or gay people call each other fag or dyke,” Sheidlower said.
“But it is almost never OK for non-members of a particular community to use such terminology,” he said. “’Nappy-headed’ in particular is clearly a term which is very, very sensitive.”
Ok, so, my suspicions that my blog has been taking all these hits from white folks trying to figure out why some black folks are up in arms about the term “nappy headed” was not that far fetched after all.