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BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?

Fergie 14 Apr 07 - 09:49 PM
Donuel 14 Apr 07 - 09:51 PM
Fergie 14 Apr 07 - 10:00 PM
Donuel 14 Apr 07 - 10:07 PM
Big Mick 14 Apr 07 - 10:11 PM
Azizi 14 Apr 07 - 10:15 PM
Azizi 14 Apr 07 - 10:20 PM
Azizi 14 Apr 07 - 10:58 PM
katlaughing 14 Apr 07 - 10:58 PM
Jim Dixon 14 Apr 07 - 11:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Apr 07 - 11:17 PM
robomatic 14 Apr 07 - 11:42 PM
Donuel 15 Apr 07 - 12:28 AM
Little Hawk 15 Apr 07 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Nick 15 Apr 07 - 02:13 AM
Strollin' Johnny 15 Apr 07 - 02:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Apr 07 - 03:12 AM
Barry Finn 15 Apr 07 - 03:21 AM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 05:48 AM
Fergie 15 Apr 07 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,meself 15 Apr 07 - 07:04 AM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 07:07 AM
kendall 15 Apr 07 - 07:13 AM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,meself 15 Apr 07 - 07:32 AM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 07:57 AM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 08:10 AM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 08:24 AM
GUEST,meself 15 Apr 07 - 08:53 AM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 09:03 AM
robomatic 15 Apr 07 - 11:14 AM
Charley Noble 15 Apr 07 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,meself 15 Apr 07 - 12:32 PM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 01:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Apr 07 - 01:58 PM
Bill D 15 Apr 07 - 02:00 PM
katlaughing 15 Apr 07 - 02:14 PM
GUEST,Scoville at Dad's 15 Apr 07 - 03:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Apr 07 - 03:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Apr 07 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,meself 15 Apr 07 - 03:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Apr 07 - 05:25 PM
pdq 15 Apr 07 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,meself 15 Apr 07 - 06:12 PM
terrier 15 Apr 07 - 06:53 PM
Charley Noble 15 Apr 07 - 07:07 PM
GUEST,meself 15 Apr 07 - 07:24 PM
Azizi 15 Apr 07 - 07:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 Apr 07 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,meself 15 Apr 07 - 08:48 PM
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Subject: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Fergie
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 09:49 PM

I've been reading about this controversy concerning some US TV commentator and his dismissal for the use of this comment.
Now it is often stated that that speakers of English on opposite sides of the Atlantic are divided by a common language, and I have to admit that I am semi-perplexed.
In Ireland the term "nappy" is the equivalent of a "diaper" so I am confused by the use of this term by an American.
Concerning the word "hos" I am presuming that this a phonetic spelling of some local/regional/ethnic way of pronouncing the word "whores".
So help me what exactly DOES "nappy headed hos" actually mean or convey?
Fergus


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Donuel
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 09:51 PM

Don Imus would call Arabs rag heads and on occaison diaper heads, but never nappy heads.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Fergie
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 10:00 PM

Now I'm even more perplexed!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Donuel
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 10:07 PM

seriously short tight curly hair is called nappy and ho is short for whore.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Big Mick
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 10:11 PM

It's all about context, Fergie.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 10:15 PM

See this Mudcat thread for information about what nappy hair means:

thread.cfm?threadid=100728&messages=26
"Natty Dread"

Here is one post from that thread:

Subject: RE: Natty Dread (Bob Marley)
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 05:26 PM

"...from the TV coverage and photos that I have seen, none of these young women even have nappy hair. The closest is one who has corn rows (or something similar).'

KB, the texture of most Black people's hair is tightly curled {otherwise known as kinky and nappy}. This natural texture of the hair is 'masked' by straigtening the hair.

The hair is straightened by using a chemical perm {permanent} or by using a hot iron comb. In the olden days {up to the 1960s or so}, the method of heating the comb was by putting it in the fire on the kitchen stove. Nowadays, combs are heated by plugging them into an electric socket.

Once the naturally tightly curled hair is straightened, the hair is then curled and styled with a hot curling iron.

And that's the way it is...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 10:20 PM

I'm going to take the liberty of reposting another comment that I made on that thread:

Subject: RE: Natty Dread
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 12:17 AM

For other Black women's perspectives about Don Imus' "nappy hair" remark, see this excerpt from "When Words Wound

By Lolly Bowean
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 10, 2007, 8:55 PM CDT

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-070410hair,0,6806331.story?coll=chi-news-hed -

"For African-American women, hair has been the battleground over definitions of beauty. And when it comes to their hair, no word is more incendiary than nappy.

So when radio host Don Imus described members of Rutgers University's women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos," he not only devalued a talented group of young women with a misogynistic term.

He also stepped into a fray over "good hair" vs. "bad hair" that has gone on for generations in the black community, stirring up pain and anger over a word that little black girls still lob at one another as an insult.

As officials at Rutgers denounced Imus' remarks Tuesday and groups continued to press for his resignation, an animated discussion unfolded in black beauty salons and barbershops across the Chicago area.

" 'Nappy-headed' means you don't look good. They used that word on slaves, like we don't have hair that's good enough," said Tina Branch, a hair stylist on the city's South Side. Her clients nodded in agreement.

"It's a word that makes you feel bad, like you don't look your best."

The negative meaning of nappy—a reference to tightly curled hair—has been attacked over the years as Afros, dreadlocks and other natural styles celebrated the course texture of most African hair. Yet, despite popular tote bags, shirts and books that proclaim "Happy to be Nappy," for some blacks the word implies that you are not beautiful unless your hair is straight.

The idea dates back to a time when many black women felt the need to conform to a white standard of beauty promoted in mainstream culture. Today, African-American women feel free to wear their hair chemically straightened or natural.

Still, there is a billion-dollar industry built on products and companies that promise to eliminate curls from textured ethnic hair. Beauty salons that use chemicals to transform tight curls into straight, flowing hair are crowded on almost every main street in the African-American community.

"Nappy can be considered the other n-word sometimes," said Lanita Jacobs-Huey, an anthropologist and associate professor at the University of Southern California. "When it's used by someone outside of the community, it can be seen as offensive."

But pair the word nappy with the explicit word ho and it's a particularly traumatic slur, Jacobs-Huey said.

This isn't the first time the word has stirred controversy. In 1998, when a white teacher brought the book "Nappy Hair" to share with her 3rd-grade class, some African-American parents were livid. Though the book affirmed natural hair, the parents were upset because the teacher was white.

Hyde Park hair stylist Larry Parker said the word is still tossed around often, especially in hair salons. But it all depends on who is saying it and what they mean.

"African-Americans can say it to each other because we know what it feels like to wear that name or that label," he said. "But others outside our race can't say it. They don't understand it, they don't have to live it and they don't identify with it.

"We shouldn't have to explain why it's an insult," he said. "It's just not acceptable to say something like that in this day and age. In 2007, you should know better."...

-snip-

Apparently more than these sistas and brothers, I'm of the mind set that we Black people should take the insult out of the word 'nappy'.

But then again, I vehementlly disagree with what might be a comparable position that we can de-toxify the 'n word' by rejecting its negative meaning.

Yet, maybe because I've been wearing my hair natural [in an afro] for 41 years, I wish we Black women would Say it loud, I'm nappy and I'm proud.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 10:58 PM

Just to clarify-Donuel's 14 Apr 07 - 10:07 PM post is not correct.

"Nappy" refers to the texture {'grade'} of hair and not the length of that hair.

I've no information about the etymology of the word "nappy" and "naps" as they refer to the natural state of Black people's hair.
{The individual tightly curled hair strands are called "naps"}

However, it should be noted that not all Black people have nappy hair. And some non-Black people have nappy hair.

Most African Americans prefer not to use the term 'nappy'. Black Americans also usually don't like the term "kinky" to describe their {our} hair. "Frizzy" is somewhat accepted. I've also seen some Black writers use the the term "coarse" as a descriptor of pre-straightened Black people's hair.

However, probably the term that is the most acceptable is "tightly curled" .


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 10:58 PM

Do you not think we can follow the link and read it!?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 11:01 PM

"Nappy" meaning diaper is an unknown usage in the US.

In its non-racial sense, "nappy" means having a "nap" or fuzzy surface like a carpet.

Here are some examples found on the Internet:

"Suede: Abraded leather with a nappy surface"
(from a "glossary of shoe and handbag terms")

"Shetland: A soft, light, tweed-like, very nappy fabric...
Tweed: A rough, wiry wool with hairy, nappy surface..."
(from a glossary of men's clothing fabrics)

These days it's hard to find an instance of the term "nappy-headed" that was NOT inspired by Don Imus, but I found a few:

At Women Make Movies:
    Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy-Headed People
    A film by Ayoka Chenzira
    1985, 10 minutes, Color, VHS/16mm
    Order No. W99218

    An animated satire on the question of self-image for African American women living in a society where beautiful hair is viewed as hair that blows in the wind and lets you be free. Lively tunes and witty narration accompany a quick-paced inventory of relaxers, gels and curlers. Such rituals are all-too familiar to African American women-and indeed to all women confronted with an unattainable ideal of beauty. This short film has become essential for discussions of racism, African American cinema, and empowerment. Used by hundreds of groups as diverse as museums, churches, hospitals, and hair stylists.
At Author's Den this paragraph introduces a poem called "Nappy Headed" by Latasha A Willis:
    I wrote this poem on February 20, 2005. At the time, I was frustrated about how kinky/coily/nappy hair is still frowned upon by many in the black community, especially for black women. I stopped relaxing [i.e. straightening] my hair in 2002, and I enjoy my natural hair texture. The poem is meant to encourage other black women who went natural or want to go natural and are afraid of how their family and peers will react if they ever went through with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 11:17 PM

The word 'nappy' for tight, curly or 'kinky' hair may have originated with "black' people. Its seems to have come to notice in mid-20th c. The first quotation is 1943, from "Dictionary of American Regional English," by Cassidy, seems to be in Black dialect, but I don't have that reference- I found it in Lighter.
Azizi, you may have more information.

Possible origin- the old word nappig, meaning woolly, or with a 'nap', a hairy or downy surface on cloth, leather, etc.

'Kinky,' with reference to tightly curly hair, seems to have originated with the blackface minstrels.

Nappie, napkin, is 'a whole nother' complex, which has been gone into in other threads. Oxbridge (OED) upper class English and American usage departs from common UK English on its use. The OED classes use of serviette for table napkin as 'vulgar' usage (unnecessary use of foreign words).

How napkins got tangled up with diapers and menstrual absorbents is something I have no wish to discuss.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: robomatic
Date: 14 Apr 07 - 11:42 PM

My personal take on nappy is consistent with extremely tightly curled hair. I have some sense that referring to people's hair as 'nappy' might have been a racial/class reference but I have not actually heard it in real life, other than out of 'Truly Tasteless Jokes' where there was a joke in reference to the texture of black kids' hair.

People in my particular ethnic group have been known to have similar features, viz. 'Kinky' Friedman and a term I have heard less than ten times in my life: "Jew'fro" (as opposed to the hair style known as "Afro" in the 70's.

I have not considered these terms to be 'harsh' pejoratives and confess that if I heard Imus or Howard Stern or Queen Latifah use the term, I probably wouldn't have thought it out of their normal range of abuse of just about anybody.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 12:28 AM

Kinky Friedman resents the word kinky in the context of hair. He prefers kinky to mean enjoyably wierd.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 12:34 AM

It's sort of like "mullet-headed greaseballs", only it's different.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,Nick
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 02:13 AM

Not enough about Hos as far as Iam concerened. It seems also a misuse of the term as these were college women and do not get paid for playing basketball, dont you need to get paid to be a ho?
And how bad would it be to be a Ho-Ho? Dark, Chocolate, Delicious and filled with... ok never mind


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 02:46 AM

Maybe babies' nappies were named thus because the material they were made of (before the advent of those foul 'disposable' things that people leave lying around in lay-bys and places of outstanding natural beauty) was Terry-Towelling, which is a material with a nap?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 03:12 AM

Isn't it odd, we speak the same language, but the phrase conveys nothing to us in England......he sounds like a nasty piece of work though!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 03:21 AM

Take This Hammer (logging or axe song)

Captain called me nappy headed niger (3X)
Ain't my name, ain't my name

I don't want no corn bread & lasses (3X)
Hurts me pride, hurts my pride.

Take this hammer, take it to the Captain (3X)
Tell 'em I'm gone, tell 'em I'm gone.

If he asks you was I running (3X)
Tell 'em I was flying, tel 'em I was flyin

If he asks you was I laughing (3X)
Tell 'em I was crying, tell 'em I was crying.

I don't want your cold iron shackels (3X)
Hurts my legs, hurts my legs.

This is one version (mid 60's) of a prison worksong used with an axe. For more versions see "Wake Up Dead Man" by Bruce Jackson. I don't know where I 1st got this from, it's been so long now but some collected versions date back to 1928.

Azizi's discription of the meaning is dead on. Growing up in a very poor mixed racial inner city community, you'd never call any woman or girl by those terms no matter if you hated them, it was understood that, that insult was enough to rightly draw blood.

Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 05:48 AM

Fwiw, I've decided to abandon the "Natty Dread" thread I started and post my comments about "nappy hair"; "nappy head" and related subjects on this thread. Part my reason for posting to this thread instead of the "Natty Dread" thread [whose link is given in my first post to this thread] is that the title of this thread conveys the subject matter far better than the title I gave that thread. Btw, I did not add Bob Marley's name to that thread, and I'm sorry if it makes folks think that that thread is only about Bob Marley's song "Natty Dread".

Be that as it may, here's an excerpt from another one of my post on that thread:

Subject: RE: Natty Dread
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 11:42 PM

'Having a bad hair day' has a whole 'nuther meaning for Black females since we have been taught by that our hair is always bad unless we have good hair {meaning hair that is the same texture as White people}.

It is difficult to explain to other folks how important the issue of hair is to Black women. To bring this down to the current 'hot' topic, there's no question that I think that Don Imus radio remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team were offensive. But if I were to rate what were the worse things that Imus and his producer said about these women, I would say that it was calling them jigaboos, hos, and grizzlies {a comment that for some reason has gotten very little attention}. The descriptor 'nappy haired' is insulting because Imus meant it to be insulting. I've no idea how the Black women on that Rutgers basketball team wear their hair.
I don't even know if all of these Black women have naturally nappy hair [that they go to the beauty parlour or hair dresser to get permed/straigthened/done}.

But I keep wishing that one of these women would say "Yeah, my hair is nappy. And?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Fergie
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 06:44 AM

Hi all, thanks to all that have contributed.
I have found this thread facinating and enlightening.
I started it because despite all the coverage that the event has received in the Irish print media no report explained why the remark was considered objectional.
I now understand that the phrase was a totally racist and sexist putdown. I'm glad he was canned and I hope that it alerts others in the media and elsewhere to their own prejudices (conscious or subconscious, overt or covert).
In my opinion racism and sexism in all their forms are two of the most malignant cancers that stalks society and they should be challenged wherever they are met
Fergus


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:04 AM

Azizi, or anyone - Dare I ask what "grizzlies" means?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:07 AM

Here's an excerpt from a post by Erik_Kowal {United Kingdom}, Posted - 12 Apr 2007 on Wordwizard Clubhouse-a coon's age

For some reason I can't copy the URL for that page, but here is the URL to wordwizard clubhouse-http://www.wordwizard.com/ch_forum/default.asp


"The word 'ho', or 'hoe', has gradually achieved widespread currency in the USA as a variant pronunciation of 'whore', in large part, I believe, because of its prevalence in hip-hop lyrics that have introduced it to people who would otherwise rarely or never have encountered it. According to the Cassell Dictionary of Slang it was first noted in the 1950s as a term of US Black origin.

Regarding 'naphead' and 'nappy-head', the same dictionary states the following:

[1930s+] (US Black) 1) someone with kinky hair. 2) an unsophisticated Black person. (Standard English nappy, of hair, tightly curled; 2) is an extension of 1) in an era when fashionable Blacks straightened their hair)

The Merriam-Webster New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (MWNUUD) defines 'nappy' in this context as an adjective meaning [of cloth] "1) covered with nap; downy. 2) (of hair) kinky. [1490-1500]."

The MWNUUD also mentions the adjectival forms 'nappier' and 'nappiest', and the noun 'nappiness'."

-snip-

I've heard the words "nappy", "naps", "nappier", "nappiest" in the context of hair all of my life. I've never heard the term 'nappiness".

After looking up the word "nap" online and elsewhere, I believe that that word in the context of hair came from "nap" as a type of surface of cloth.

See for instance this excerpt from http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/18/messages/536.html

"Re: phrase " nap-of-the-earth" origins

I've not heard of this phrase, but a number of the meanings of the word "nap" would seem to be relevant. Nap can mean the soft or fuzzy surface of a fabric - for example, the "nap of the cloth" is important to professional snooker/pool players when gauging how to pace their shots, dependant upon whether they're playing with or against the nap. To "nap" something also means to cover it with a sauce.

Both derivations of "nap" in this sense seem to come from the French "nappe", meaning a covering or tablecloth."

-snip-
I believe that Black people took the "Nap" as the "fuzzy surface of a fabric" and used it as a descriptor for fuzzy, kinky, frizzy, wooly, tightly curled hair that most-but not all-Black people have. Notice that the word 'soft' was excluded from that appropriated meaning.

I can't say whether this appropriated word was seen as negative from the get go. However, given American cultural views about beauty & ugliness, it's likely that naps, nappy, nappier, nappiest quickly became insulting descriptors since they referred to hair that was "not like White peoples".

However, it should be noted that since at least the late 1960s and probably before there have been Black people who have taken the negative out of "nappy". Many of these people are afrocentric [in this context "afrocentric" means people who are interested in African history and cultures]. Some but not all of these people {myself included] wear their hair in some natural, groomed style-for instance in an afro {'fro; "natural"} or in "dreadlocks" {"'locs"; "dreads"}.

Some afrocentric Black people may consider 'nappy hair' as a positive and look down on those Black people who get their natural hair straightened {"pressed"; "permed"}. I see it as one type of hair texture that is no better and no worse than any other type of hair.

But I admit that the majority of African Americans still consider "nappy hair" to be the worse type of hair anyone can have.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: kendall
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:13 AM

I have an old 78 record that belonged to my Grandmother titled, "Pikkininnys Paradise". It's supposed to be a mother singing to her child about heaven.

...you'll lay your black kinky head on a bed on a pillow of white...

I don't know who wrote it, and it certainly wasn't sung by a Black person. We have come a long way, but some of us are 100 years behind. Evolution is slow sometimes. People like Imus have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:25 AM

meself,

I don't believe that "grizzlies" is a slang word that comes from African Americans or is used by us.

During that infamous radio show, Don Imus was knocking the appearance of the women on the Rutgers team and contrasting the way these women looked [to him] with the way he felt the women of the other team looked. Both of these teams were made up of mostly African American members. I've read and seen the video of either Imus or his producer saying that the championship winning {Tennessee?] team had women who were 'cute'. Therefore, a person could rightly assert that Imus wasn't saying that all Black women are unattractive. But he was using his standard of beauty-a standard held by a number of Americans both White and nonWhite- to judge the women from the Rutgers team as not being attractive. When Imus said "grizzlies" he was describing these women as looking like a grizzly bear.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:32 AM

Oh, okay - a bit of a relief; I was afraid it was yet another demeaning slang term that had been introduced into our lexicon ... (Quite demeaning in the circumstances, of course).


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:57 AM

Fwiw, Clarence Major's book "Juba To Jive-A Dictionary of African American Slang" {Penguin Books, 1994; p 313} has the following entries:

Nappy adj {1800s-1950{ kinky, wooly, usually said of someone's hair

Nappy edges n. {1870s-1940s} brittle and broken hair along the hair line

Nappyblack adj (1960s} very African looking."

-snip-

Fwiw, I've never heard the phrases "nappy edges" and "nappyblack".

In "Juba To Jive", Majors also has these entries:

"Good hair n {1880s-1950s} straight or almost straight hair {a concept that began to disappear in the early sixties with the renewal of black consciousness}, silky straight hair [p. 207]

[Hair] Going back v {1900s-1970s} processed or straightened hair returning to its natural state..." [207]

-snip-

I confess that I don't understand the system that Major used for the dates he gave. I think that the dates given in brackets are when he and others found documentation of these words' use. Or maybe these dates are when Majors or others thought that the words were most popular. But perhaps the end date is when Majors believes the word has stopped being used. [???] I can testify to the fact that in African American communities in 2007 the phrases "nappy hair", "good hair" {and its opposite "bad hair"}; and "hair going back" are still very much in use by men, women, teens, and children.

Majors ascribed various sources for the slang words & phrases in his book, but the acronym system that he used for these sources is extremely hard for me to decipher.

I did figure out that one source that Major used for the word "nappy" which he gave as SL, RJON was "Longstreet, Stephen "The Real Jazz, Old and New: Baton Rouge: Louisanna State University Press, 1956.

Also, Major cites that same book for the "nappy edges" entry. Among other citations, he gives this "Btisaje Sgabge, "Nappy Edges", 1978.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 08:10 AM

Here's some information about another put down word that Imus uttered during that infamous radio program-jigaboo:

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

jigaboo

SYLLABICATION: jig·a·boo
PRONUNCIATION:   jg-b
NOUN: Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a Black person.
ETYMOLOGY: Origin unknown

http://www.bartleby.com/61/12/J0041275.html

-snip-

Clarence Major's 1994 book "Juba To Jive" has this entry for "jigaboo" :

Jiggabool jigaboo n {163os-1950s} tshikabo {Banto}means a meek or servile person; a very dark skinned African American of pure African descent; a slave term, it was always pejorative [p. 258]


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 08:24 AM

Either Imus or his producer described the Rutgers women's basketball team as "jigaboos" and said something about "jigaboos and wannabees like that Spike Lee movie "Do The Right Thing"."

Actually, the Spike Lee movie was "School Daze".

Here's a commentary about that movie:

"[Spike]Lee based his next film, School Daze (1988), on his four years at Morehouse College. Set on a college campus during homecoming weekend, it explores the conflict between light-skinned and dark-skinned blacks. Those with light skin have money, expensive cars, and "good hair." The ones with darker skin are "less cool" and had "bad hair." Lee aimed to expose what he saw as a caste system existing within the black community. Lee began filming at Morehouse, but after three weeks the administration asked him to leave citing his negative portrayal of black colleges. Lee finished filming at Atlanta University. School Daze opened to mixed reviews but was a box office success, ultimately grossing $15 million. However, Lee's efforts to explore a complex social problem offended some, while others applauded."

http://www.gale.com/free_resources/bhm/bio/lee_s.htm

-snip-

In the context that Spike Lee used it-the light skinned Black students called the dark skinned students "jigaboos" and the light skinned students called the dark skinned students "wannabees"-that is want to be [Whites]". If I recall correctly, Lee had members of two different sororities exchanging these insults to each other.

While the African American sororities in Spike Lee's film were fictionalized, they are based on some historical and still to a much more limited extent present day truths.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 08:53 AM

Re: "jigaboo". I hadn't encountered that term since I was a kid until this thread appeared, and I was surprised to see it here. Where I grew up, it was considered as offensive or worse than the notorious "n-word". Worse, really, in that the "n-word" might be used carelessly, out of (bad) habit, whereas no one used the "j-word" without intending to express contempt - sometimes good-natured contempt, but contempt nonetheless.

Curiously, the abbreviated term "jig" was relatively innocuous; black and white guys who were friendly with each other might tell a joke using that term (usually in a pun) - but the full word was not spoken.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 09:03 AM

Oops:

Btisaje Sgabge is a typo for African American female]playwright/author} Ntosake Shange.

Somewhat off topic, Shange's best known work is probably "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf"

Here's an excerpt of one online review of that book/play from the Publisher [of Paperback, 1st ed., 64pp. Publisher: Simon & Schuster Trade Pub. Date: August 1997:

"From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange's words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century. First published in 1975 when it was praised by The New Yorker for "encompassing...every feeling and experience a woman has ever had," for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be read and performed for generations to come. Here is the complete text, with stage directions, of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world".

http://aalbc.com/books/for_colored_girls.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: robomatic
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 11:14 AM

Guest, meself, in strictly white but non PC company I've barely heard the word 'jigaboo' but I picked up enough cultural cues to know it was NOT TO BE USED. So when a white coworker used the jig term in a modest pun I was NOT AMUSED.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 11:57 AM

In our insular part of Mid-Coast Maine, we used the term "jigaboo" for a scary entity in a ghost story.

"Nappy" as a term relating to cloth or fabric texture certainly makes sense to me, as it would to anyone who has worked with fabric.

Any just why some people with straight hair envy or abhor those with curly or wavy hair, and why others with curly or wavy hair envy abhor those with straight hair is a mystery.

It's a minefield for the innocent, and evidently for the less than innocent!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 12:32 PM

"In our insular part of Mid-Coast Maine, we used the term "jigaboo" for a scary entity in a ghost story."

That's interesting - there was a thread awhile back about the origins of the song "The Foggy Dew" - not the one about the Easter Rebellion, another one altogther - anyway, the earliest known versions were from the 1600s - and they did not use the phrase, "the foggy dew", but used a word very much like "jigaboo" - "biggeryboo", or something - and it clearly referred to "a scary entity" of the ghost story variety. That term in the song eventually got replaced with "the foggy dew".


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 01:30 PM

meself, is "bugaboo" the word you're thinking of?

I found this information online http://www.mootgame.com/ballast/bal108.html and wonder if it's accurate:

"The Welsh name for the Devil, Bwcibo, entered English centuries ago. What word did it evolve into?

Answer: bugaboo

A devil is a bugaboo. Though its etymology is uncertain, the word bogey was probably originally a proper name for the devil."


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 01:58 PM

The dates in Clarence Major's book are interesting, but seem to be based on his opinion rather than documentation.
Pedant request-
If anyone has found any documented quotes of 'nappy' in print before Cassell's 1930's date, please post. Obviously the word with regard to leather, cloth, etc. is old (medieval nappig) as I noted, but I would like to find earlier usage with regard to hair - I 'remember' it from childhood, and the link to hair-straightening in the 1930's, but I think there should be earlier use. Just curious about how usage changes and develops.

I am glad that the American TV channel, BET or Black Entertainment Television, has not reached the UK public. So-called comedians and purveyors of hiphop and rap frequently use terms like 'ho, the n-word, and derogatory remarks that from whites would justify attack. Unfortunately the channel is available in Canada from cable and satellite as an extra cost site. It never should have been allowed by the CRTC (the Canadian regulatory body). In the States, the regulatory commission should act to make it clean up its programs or withdraw its license.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 02:00 PM

Sadly, hair style & texture has been used for years to 'reinforce' claims of inferiority about people of African heritage. It is 'different', so it is 'inferior'. And, as Azizi suggests, many folks have tried to emulate Caucasian styles by allowing hair to grow, then using complex processes to straighten and style it...sometime leading to serious problems.

   Back about 35 years ago, there was a controversy in Wichita, Kans. where I was living because a white barber has refused to cut a black man's hair, claiming he simply didn't have the training or experience.
There was a protest, asserting that it was simply discrimination....and off it went!

Well, I happened to be listening to a radio talk show as it was being 'discussed', when a seemingly elderly (by the sound of her voice) white lady called in and proclaimed..." he shouldn't be expected to cut a black man's hair. Why, they don't even have real 'hair'...it's just sort of a kind of wool!"

To his credit, the talk show host lit into her and 'explained' that she had no idea of the truth and was just repeating rumors and slander, and that HE would not allow that sort of remark on his show without making it clear that he considered it stupid & insulting.

...but you see why hair gets such attention, when all it is is one genetic adaptation to an earlier environment.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 02:14 PM

THIS looks like a really good book for getting kids involved in cultural diversity and understanding.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,Scoville at Dad's
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 03:36 PM

Does anyone remember the early scenes in Malcolm X, where Denzel Washington in a zoot suit is straightening his hair with lye, and the white guys shut off the water so he has to rinse off his head in the toilet before his scalp gets burned? A lot of people have burned a lot of hair and skin trying to straighten hair, and the idea of "good" straight or loosely-curling hair versus "bad" tightly-curling hair is old.

I always thought the UK "nappy" was short for "napkin" (which we, in the U.S., would use in our laps at meals rather than on a baby, but which is not unlike a diaper). And "nap" is OK when applied to things other than people, such as carpet (we have short-nap carpet in the den--the kind with very snug, short loops instead of soft pile).

"Boogerboo" or "buggerboo" or "bugaboo" or whatever is the same as the bogeyman/boogieman in the United States (at least in the South). Lots of word variants on the same idea. There's an old song called "Boogerboo"; the version I have is on the Red Clay Ramblers and Fiddlin' Al McCanless. I've never heard "jigaboo" substituted, but then I live in Texas and there is no doubt here as to the meaning if that particular word, nor would I find the abbreviation "jig" to be amusing.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 03:38 PM

Many of these expressions from Urban culture, both Black and White, are found here: http://www.urbandictionary.com
Urban dictionary

In this dictionary, see 'hoe.' Several quotations give a good idea of the use of the word.
Not a documented site, with many invented by the person submitting the usage, but useful to one like me who is far from urban American life.

Nappy is on page 21 of the 'N's, giving an idea of the extent of this website. Both UK and American uses of the term, but look at all the other slang using nap-


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 03:56 PM

Bill D, looking for an early use of nappy with regard to hair, I found that woolly or wool-headed was common in the 19th c.
Kinky, as I indicated, showed up in minstrel shows.
I think nappy would be at least this early but haven't found it yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 03:57 PM

Azizi - I just took a look in the DT, and there are two pertinent songs; one, from the 1700s, uses the term "bugaboo", and this is the other one (I've added spaces between the verses). The note at the bottom gives a little etymology, variants, etc.:


FOGGY, FOGGY DEW (The Fright'ned Yorkshire Damosel, Or, Fear Dispears'd by
Pleasure)

When first I began to court, and pretty young maids to wooe
I could not win the virgin fort, but by the Bogulmaroo.
I kiss'd her in the summer time, and in the cold winter too;
At last I took her in the prime, but by the Bogulmaroo.

My love she was going one Night to bed as she us'd to do,
When on the stairs whe saw a Spright it was the Bogulmaroo.
She came to my chamber-door, and could not tell what to do;
But straight began to weep full sore, for fear of the Bogulmaroo.

At last she came boldly in, tho' still her poor heart did rue
For looking back the Spright did grin O cruel Bogulmaroo.
She started and run in haste, and close to my bed-side drew;
Her eyes she durst not backward cast, for fear of Bogulmaroo.

But into my bed she crept, and did her sorrows renew,
She wrung her hands, and sadly wept, for fear of Bogulmaroo.
I turn'd about to the maid, as lovers are wont to do;
And bid her be no more afraid of th' ugly Bogulmaroo.

I kiss'd and embrac'd her then, our pleasures they were not few;
We lay abed next day till ten, for fear of Bogulmaroo.
My love she was all dismay'd, to think of what she had done,
Arise, said I, be not afraid, the Bogulmaroo is gone.

I maarry'd her the next day, and did her pleasures renew;
Each night we spend in charming play,mfor all the Bogulmaroo.
I ne'r said a word of the thing, nor never intend to do;
But ev'ry time she smiles on me, I think of Bogulmaroo.


Printed and Sold by J. Millet, ... 1689.
Bogulmaroo = Buggle/Bugle Bow, or now, Buggabo, was a big black devil that
played tricks on travelers at night. This superstition goes back at least to the
early 17th century. A chapbook published in 1660 was The Meickle Black Diel, or
the Boggle Bo.
"Bugle Bow" was the name of a tune, 1595, and is given in Simpson's BBBM.
Play: Original tune not certainly known, but may be "Ay, marry, and thank you
too", B017-8

*********

Can't help wondering if there's a connection between "buggabo"/"big black devil"/jig... - although that "Banto" etymology makes sense, so it could be just coincidence, or it all could have melded together.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 05:25 PM

Jiggaboo (so spelled) in print in 1926, Finerty, "Criminalese." "A Negro or yellow race chauffeur. Lighter, "Historical Dictionary of American Slang." Sometimes spelled zigaboo. Jigaboo is in Mencken, "The American Language." Probably older than the quote in Lighter.

See "I've Got Rings on My Fingers," sheet music, 1909, with "Mumbo jumbo jijjiboo," but Lighter questions the connection.

Never heard jigaboo used for a ghost or ghost story (post by meself) but I wouldn't doubt it. I doubt the connection of the derogatory use with bugaboo.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: pdq
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 05:46 PM

I have never heard the word(s) 'jigaboo', 'jiggabo' or 'jiggaboo'. I did hear the variant 'jiggerboo' on the grade school playground a few times, but mosty remember it from that bastian of good taste "All In The Family". Thanks, Archie and Meathead, I guess. Shall we be banning their re-runs?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 06:12 PM

I'm wondering if that word was not considered as vile in some parts of North America as in others. I didn't watch "All in the Family" enough to have heard it uttered there; I think I would have been shocked if I had; it would have been like hearing Archie out-and-out cuss - which, interestingly, WAS considered too distasteful to allow, apparently.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: terrier
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 06:53 PM

As soon as I read the title of this thread, I assumed that 'hos' referred to horse! I don't know about terminology in the USA or anywhere else for that matter but in England, if you're on a 'nappy headed horse', then you've got equine attitude problems. Nappy, in this case, has nothing to do with infant attire, more with a horse that has decided that it doesn't want to be where you want it to be, in fact it would rather be back in its paddock eating grass. When Cysgod, my 16h gelding gets his 'nappy' head on him, my usual calm and collected aids turn into a tirade of "do as you're BL**DY WELL TOLD, YOU STUPID B*****D", or something to that effect.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:07 PM

Azizi-

I'm now thinking it was "bugaboo" rather than "jigaboo."

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:24 PM

Now you tell us - and here I just submitted a scholarly paper to the Journal of Etymology entitled "Inadvertent Racist Terminology in New England Ghost Stories", based entirely on your post ... I hope you feel bad.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:25 PM

Yep, Charley. I think bugaboo was probably the originally word.

**

Here's a link to the thead
thread.cfm?threadid=100807&messages=11 Gigalo & other children's rhymes & cheers

If you have a mind to, check out the post in that thread that I wrote on 15 Apr 07 -07:14 PM.

In a not too convoluted way, that post connects up with this discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 07:39 PM

Very old, simple words such as nappy always seem to gather several meanings. Terrier's nappy headed horse is one of many well-known uses of the word. It is applied to people as well.
In Scotland and the north of England, a nappy is a drink, e. g. ale. The adjective means foaming.
In turn that usage comes from a very old word for bowl (which persists in the small bowls for individual servings of fruit, etc.: fruit nappies).

Look in the OED and there are others.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'nappy headed hos' what does it mean?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Apr 07 - 08:48 PM

Azizi - Just looked at that other thread - and was surprised that you were unfamiliar with that j-word - but that explains why you seemed so blase about it. I wonder if that means that it really isn't that widespread, as you speculate, or if in some areas, at least, white people were discreet enough not to utter it in the presence of black people, so that it eventually became more or less forgotten.

Anyone have an opinion or observation on that?


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