Outrage and Taboos Create the Problem

Now we have two "n-words".... the new one being "nappy". 

Until this week, I'm fairly sure that I've never even spoken or let alone thought this word before... but now I can't avoid it.  It's on TV left and right.  The fact is, more people heard the term "Nappy headed ho's" spoken by newspeople than heard it spoken originally by Don Imus in the first place.

It was a dumb comment...  It was wrong.  Don Imus was being a bully...  but you know what the best way to deal with bullies is?

Ignore them.

In fact, people were ignoring Imus on their own.  In 2005, Imus in the Morning had half the listeners he had ten years earlier.

When you get outraged over something and you create a taboo around words, you only increase the incentive for someone  looking to draw attention to themselves to use those words.

And its not only about hate...   we have all sorts of taboos in this country that don't reflect our own individual moralities.  We're so scared of the kind of flash mob that went after Imus that we have to make grandiose gestures like firing a guy right in the middle of a radio telethon campaign for charity.  We have taboos about drinking... we push the drinking age to 21 and send our kids off to war before they can nip a beer and then we wonder why college binge drinking is such a big issue.   We've got so many taboos around sex that we can't even have an open dialogue with our kids about it, leaving them largely in the dark about sexual health.  We want to ban MySpace and limit what bloggers can say.  Janet Jackson pops a boob in the Superbowl and we're "outraged".  You think if we weren't so horrified by our own bodies and what we can do with them in this country that w