Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Imus and the Ho problem

Okay. I don't think it was very cool of Don Imus to identify a women's basketball team as "ho's."

But I don't think he should be boiled in oil over it. Not unless my neighbors are as well.

You see, I live in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Roxbury, a Boston neighborhood, is almost totally populated by black (all right, "African American") folks. And just about every day, I hear -- on the subway, on the street, in stores -- black women referred to as "ho's" other black women and by black men.

Moreover, I repeatedly hear the "N" word used by black men and women to describe other black men and women.

I hate it.

And when I hear stuff like this, I (a white, excuse me, "Caucasian" woman) voice my objections. Sometimes, people apologize. (They should. And I forgive them, as I should.) Or, people tell me to "mind my own business." (Fair enough, except for one thing: if I'm subjected to offensive language, it sorta is my business and my priority to object.) Often, I'm ignored. But the most common reaction to my objection? A hearty "you go girl" from either elderly people or young mothers with small children.

Why do "victims" object to the very terms they embrace?

I wouldn't dream of calling a homosexual man a "queer." And I won't allow the word in my presence. This is admittedly a strange position, isn't it? Because, for instance, in the South End of Boston -- a neighborhood that "prides" itself on it's "gayness" -- the words "queer" and "queen" and "lesbo" and "dike" and other such niceties are bandied about long as they are uttered by homosexuals to or about homosexuals.

(Remember "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"?)

Don Imus should not have used the term "ho" to describe a female basketball player. But remember this: Don Imus did not coin the term. (The Reverends Sharpton and Jackson, for example, would do well to acknowledge this.)

The Rutgers Women's basketball team did not deserve to be called "ho's."

Neither do my women neighbors.

But let's take a deep breath and put off the execution of white-guy Don Imus for just a second...and take a look at where this stuff comes from.

Because if "victims" and "minorities" refuse to respect members of their own "group"...sorry, but you've got no beef. If you persist in dissing yourselves, then how in the bleep can you demand respect from those "outside" of your own, elitist enclave?

But perhaps Snoop Dogg disagrees.