Friday, April 13, 2007

Are we really this fragile?

The Don Imus flap has served to illustrate how badly we have failed the youth of today. I’ve heard several references to the deep and long-term harm the words “nappy-headed hos” have caused the members of the Rutgers basketball team and, indeed, all “women of color.”

Here are just a couple:

"This is all very tragic," Deirdre Imus said. "There is a lot of healing to do here."

"He feels awful, after meeting with these girls and having that opportunity to talk with them. He asked them, 'I want to know the pain I caused, and I want to know how to fix this and change this,"' his wife said as she co-hosted the fundraiser.

She said the players "gave us the opportunity to listen to what they had to say and why they're hurting and how awful this is."

CBS Chairman and CEO Les Moonves: [T]here has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society.

"Not only did he steal our dreams, he hurt our character of Rutgers University, our state, and all who have been associated," [Rutgers coach] Stringer said on the show.

I’ll gladly admit that words can be very powerful, but this is ridiculous.

If the words “nappy-headed hos” caused even half the mental anguish the above statements seem to indicate, these young women should be looking not at Don Imus, but at their own parents for raising them to be fragile, weak, and hyper-sensitive.

Yes, what Imus said is reprehensible and racist and sexist and any other “ist” word you want to use. But for the love of God, anyone who lets the words “nappy-headed hos” steal their dreams, as the coach said, has much bigger problems to deal with and should thank Imus for helping to point that out.

No comments: