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Is There a Double Standard on Offensive Remarks?

Is There a Double Standard on Offensive Remarks?



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Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioThe ripple effect from the recent comments from talk show host Don Imus is being felt all over the country, even here in Utah. But some people wonder if there would be such a backlash if Don Imus were not white.

It may have been the first time former Ogden resident Katie Adams had been called a "nappy headed ho." Adams says, "It's very hurtful to us, to me, to this program."

She's part of the Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team that's reacting to questionable comments from Talk Show Host Don Imus. She says, "The subject matter is much bigger than just Rutgers Women's Basketball because the comment was both racial and sexist."

Some African American advocates are calling the statement racist and saying Imus should be fired. But, this is not nearly the first time we've heard the word "ho" in broadcasting. Matter of fact, some people would say African Americans made the word popular.

However, when the word is used in popular music, the public outcry seems much quieter or even non-existent, which sparks the question: Is the backlash against Don Imus based on his skin color? Some students at the University of Utah say "Yes." "There is a double standard that exists." "Because he's white and he used what is a racial slur, he is being punished."

University of Utah Black Student Union President Aaron Wiley says, "You do hear a lot of, "These b******, these hos, these this, this that. But, I would hate to have those individuals be the representation for all African American men because that's what their job is. They're entertainers."

Even some African Americans will admit there is a double standard when it comes to being allowed to say degrading things. But, they say they didn't create it. Wiley says, "For generation after generation we've been degraded. So, I definitely think there was a line in the sand. ‘All right, you can't degrade us, but we can say whatever we want about ourselves.'"

He says there hasn't been a lot of talk in the black community about the effects of lyrics in certain songs, but, maybe there should be. "We need to have more discussion so that we can examine this and say, ‘All right, is this OK? Do we know exactly what we're saying, or are we just creating more racism in our society?'"

Is the double standard real or just imagined? Does one racial group have to follow certain rules others do not? Eventually, you will decide for yourself. But, Wiley says, the discussion is good. "Twenty years ago, it would have been a different story. So it's at least good to see that we're having progress."

As for Katie Adams, she's waiting to meet Don Imus to hear what he has to say.

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