Editor’s note: Anthony Peyton Porter is out this week, so we bring you a column that appeared in the May 3, 2007, issue of the CN&R that still resonates. A year after Don Imus’ infamous utterance, the more notorious N-word remains a debated rap staple, and words by Barack Obama’s pastor have sparked a comparable uproar. Wednesday (April 16) marked the one-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, yet school violence persists. Then there’s the occupation of Iraq …
So an elderly white man referred to the black women on a college athletic team as “nappy-headed hos.” So what? The only white men I pay much attention to are friends and relatives. I recommend such a policy to anybody paying attention.
For all I know the young women in question are actually nappy-headed hos (the apostrophe seems unnecessary). I don’t suppose they are, but I don’t know them—and nappy-headed hos do, in fact, exist. Rappers talk about them all the time.
Calling anybody one doesn’t know a nappy-headed ho is rude, I guess, even if it’s an accurate depiction of her hair and conduct, but rudeness, while unnecessary, is no excuse to abandon freedom of speech. Personally, I have nothing against nappy heads or hos. If I had more hair it’d be nappy, and hos are fine with me.
I admit that the first time my son called me an asshole (one word, no hyphen) I was shocked and, now that I think of it, outraged, too. Still, I can get only so upset about sounds, taboo or otherwise.
If you think of certain combinations of sounds, even fricatives, as taboo or evil or worse, and they bother you enough to make you feel bad, then don’t make those sounds. If the knowledge of others making such sounds offends you, think about something else. If the people making those sounds are right there in your face, and you are unable to think of more pleasant things, go away. If you can’t go away, then perhaps you should address yourself to your lack of freedom, rather than to sounds that you allow to make you feel bad.
A hip-hop producer has recently called for the prohibition of “bitch,” “ho,” and “nigger” from the airwaves, thus clearly demonstrating that talent and money have nothing to do with sense. Presumably, “nappy-headed” would still be acceptable. Maybe it’s the hyphen.
A young man recently killed 33 people at Virginia Tech, including himself. Have you heard? What a mess. Corporate media are milking it for more than it’s worth, as usual. It was unfortunate, but at least all the Christians are with their Lord now, so that’s all right. The Roman Catholics, of course, will have to wait. Eternal life. You gotta love it.
The anti-gun people trying to make the most of the killings by disempowering the populace should be ignored. I still don’t want to be where the only people with guns work for the government. If the students had been armed, the killer would’ve found another way to express himself.
The school murders have prompted demands for less freedom on campuses, so no one will ever be killed on campus again. No surprises there.
“The Lancet” estimates that 654,965 people were killed in Iraq between the U.S. invasion and June, 2006. That’s almost 20,000 Virginia Techs. It seems to me that Iraq could stand some gun control, especially when it comes to foreigners.