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Was Imus wrong for repeating slang heard in music?

April 11, 2007

Albany - - National radio host Don Imus faces two weeks suspension for his remarks about the Rutgers women's Basketball team. 

Corporate sponsors Staples and Procter and Gamble have pulled advertising from Imus' show. While his critics are outspoken, others say Imus' comments are a product of today's culture, and that his remarks only echo the type of slang made popular in some of today's hip hop music.

When radio host Don Imus called a group of female Rutgers Basketball players "nappy headed ho's", it outraged a nation.

"Basketball girls are criticized as being tomboys, so we don't get the respect we deserve as ladies first," says Albany State Basketball player Shannon Grant.

She says it's already tough trying to beat stereotypes. "Just because we play sports, they don't see the other side, our personality or our character of being a female."

Miss Albany State University, Charmaine Simmons, feels Imus' comments were racist and sexist. "They were very sexist. I personally think they were very ignorant and inhumane. We live in the year 2007 and I think its time people let stuff go," says Simmons. 

Others feel he should be cut some slack since the language he used is often heard in some of today's hip hop music.

"Was Imus wrong for making a comment that is already being made within a certain community?" we asked Sociology professor Dr. Felix Amankwaa.

"I wont say he's totally wrong, he's just reiterating the issues that are already there," he says.

Amankwaa says people who feel certain language is offensive shouldn't glorify it within their own community, but he also adds when that language comes from outside a particular community, it adds more fuel to the fire.

"He actually crossed the line by saying what he said," Amankwaa says.

Was it more offensive because he's white? "In most cases sure it is, indirectly or implicitly looking down upon the other group by using the word 'nappy head'. And 'nappy head' in most cases is not a good statement, it's a derogatory statement," he says.

Imus has apologized for his comments.

"You can always say 'oh I'm sorry', but the damage has been done and its already been said," Simmons says.

In the meantime, the National Organization of Women and several other groups are calling for Imus' resignation. Imus plans to meet with the players of the Rutgers Female basketball team next week.

  • New information--

Cable channel MSNBC is dropping its simulcast of radio host Don Imus. A statement from NBC News says its decision not to re-broadcast "Imus in the Morning" is based on "an ongoing review process" and internal conversations with its employees.

The move also follows harsh criticism from civil rights activists and others. And major Imus advertisers have been bolting. Imus, who has apologized repeatedly, will be on a two-week suspension starting Monday.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=imus/bs

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