AP Lectures Whites
"When Imus says 'these nappy-headed hos,' his first flaw is he's using an in-group term that's loaded," said Lanita Jacobs-Huey, associate professor of anthropology and American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California."When I hear it from someone who doesn't understand the depth of pain, they just don't have the right to say it," Jacobs-Huey said.
The USC professor has written a book on black hair and articles with titles such as "Epistemological Deliberations: Constructing and Contesting Knowledge in Women's Cross-Cultural Hair Testimonies." Hajela, who served a term (2004-05) as president of the South Asian Journalists Association, also quoted other academics:
"If your hair wasn't straight, it was called nappy. Nappy hair meant you weren't beautiful or desirable," said Nsenga Burton, professor of communications and media studies at Goucher College in Baltimore. "Even within the community, nappy hair for a long time was seen as a bad thing."
There are accounts of African slaves attempting to change their hair using axle grease or dirty dishwater with oil, said Neal Lester, chairman of the English department at Arizona State University. "Slaves knew the ideal of beauty didn't fit them," he said.