Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Taming The Shrewd Tongue by Felicia Benamon

Why can't certain celebrities, news personalities, politicians and the like watch their mouths? In this age, with all the strides being made to foster respect towards women and equality among all races, one would think it unfathomable for someone to call a black person a "nappy headed h-e." Or disrespect ANYONE regardless of race for that matter.
When Michael Richards went on his rant in a Hollywood nightclub, disrespecting blacks by calling them "ni--ers," it received attention in the news, then it was forgotten. Now the famous radio talk show host Don Imus has lowered his standards by calling some on the Rutgers ladies basketball team "nappy headed h-es."
Since when is it ok to refer to ladies as h-es? The "nappy headed" part was vile as well, but the word h-e has an even more damaging effect. It's among the lowest word one can come up with when referring to females.
Imus has apologized profusely and tried to make amends. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed, but the hip-hop and rap music industry has also lowered itself by addressing women in derogatory terms and showing scantily clad women gyrating in music videos. If Imus has apologized, so should they. The apology is one step to healing and to realizing how permissible we have been in allowing these words to be freely spoken, and what harmful effects they are having in our society. Don Imus is not the only one who has used the term loosely.
But apologies are not the cure-all to a wayward tongue. If an apology and slap on the wrist is all it takes when an offense like this is made, to me, this sparks a free for all on outrageous comments and not a crackdown on the incessant tongue slip-ups we are hearing lately. The acknowledgement that one has done wrong and preparation to receive backlash or some form of punishment should come into play. Imus has been suspended for 2 weeks from his show, but he is lucky he is not sued for slander. What he said was downright racist!
I truly believe that Don Imus should not get a 2 weeks suspension or slap on the wrist. That is not enough time to do any damage to his career. It has been said that he will not be fired because his show brings in many sponsors... again, here's another disgusting case of it being all about the money. This is not the first time Imus has been under fire for disgusting comments. His show has spewed garbage about tennis star Serena Williams and others, and I believe it's time to can his show.
If celebrities, politicians, or people in the media cannot control their mouths, why should the public want to or need to listen to their rants? Why should these offending people continue their careers corrupting the public with their nastiness? It's all so embarrassing! How can we come together as a nation when we are too busy attacking each other negatively?
Free speech you say? No way! I don't believe our Founding Fathers thought it would be permissible to attack someone in such a manner.
As the Michael Richards incident came and went, I hope that people will not brush this recent incident under the rug and ignore it. At some point, we as a society have to come to grips with filthy elements that are causing our nation to slide into the gutter. We need to confront, rebuke it, and in this case, remove it from the airwaves.
And in the case of the music industry, we as consumers have to make the choice whether or not we want to purchase such filth to let it permeate our homes.
Inflammatory rhetoric has no place in the media!

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