I am not defending Don Imus.
I, as usual have a very different take on this whole stupid "scandal."
1. Since when do people get fired for (get this) doing what they are hired to do?
Imus was hired and rose to popularity as a shock jock--a Howard Sternite who can speak (sometimes intelligently) about things other than boobies, lesbians, naughty bits, farts, semen, whores, and poop. (Unless, of course, he was talking about the Clintons.) He was hired to shock. He shocked. He got fired for it.
2. Since when is "nappy-headed hos" worse than "jigaboos"? I guess they are very sensitive about their hair. Frankly, the two teams displayed an interesting dichotomy: one team looked like they belonged in a summer teen movie, and the other team looked like they belonged on a chain gang.
3. The SeeBS TV and the other radio shows fired imus, not because of the outrage of those he directly offended, but because of the outrage of those he indirectly offended. Those who felt that his words insulted them, because they too are apparently nappy-headed-hos who play basketball for rutgers. Or they are "of color" (but that color better not be black.)
4. Come to think of it, is there a linguistic difference between saying "of color" and "colored"?
5. Words. That's what the problem is. A word, or group of words, a comment, a sentence, paragraph, or even a book--they don't insult in and of themselves. It's a combination of the context (George Carlin even understands this) and whether or not you apply the context of those words to you. A huge public outcry because Michael Richards said "nigger" a hundred times in 15 seconds--but the only person he truly offended was the colored person of color he called nigger. Would it have been less offensive if he called him a jigaboo? What about if he called he guy "buckwheat?" or Boy, or spook, shade, darkie, coon, spearchucker, or junglebunny? Are those words somehow less offensive? Don't they mean the same thing? What about wetback? spic? How many times have I heard Chris Rock (a damn funny comic) say "Cracker?"
6. These women were offended? They don't hear in your face and personal hecklers at their games? Is this the worst insult they ever had to suffer? Did they somehow really suffer by the comments made by one of the most boring radio personalities (formerly) on the air? People on Lithium found Imus boring. How many of the girls (women, womyn, nappy headed hos, whatever they are called) actually went and tuned in Imus in the Morning and heard this, first hand, for themselves? Anybody wanna take odds on that? Truth is, they probably weren't offended until someone said "Hey, did you hear what imus said on the radio about you? I told you those prison tats were ugly."
7. There's a veritable minefield of hurt feelings, from people who think the civil rights movement is coming back (yeah, right after the south rises again) and parades are going to start breaking out in a "we shall overcome" chorus and the lunch counters at woolworths' are battening down the hatches for a long haul sit in.
8. In a country with so many problems, focusing on this issue for even half a second is about as silly as a cancer patient worrying about a pimple on his ass. We espouse our freedom of speech, until it's something we don't want to hear, until it offends sensibilities, until it is hate-speech.
Sure, you can spit on a soldier, burn a flag, shit on the capitol steps, soak a picture of jeebus in piss and call it "art" protected by the 1st ammendment, but you'd better not tear up a picture of the pope (the funniest bit EVER on SNL), you'd better not call a heckler a nigger, and you damn sure better not call a bunch of un-pretty women athletes "nappy headed hoes." Because they will eventually hear about it, and everyone will be offended, and you'll lose your job.
By the way, do you think Sharpton and Jesse Jackson got involved because of a supposedly racist remark, or because they heard "Nappy Headed" and thought the buzz was about them?