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The issue of banning racially offensive words and words that are crude and demeaning to women has now entered a new phase of the debate.

Yesterday on this program the Rev. Al Sharpton promised he would go after the rappers and record execs who sell the word ho as entertainment and make hundreds of millions of dollars doing so. Well, we will see. Sharpton has been jumping on Imus like a trampoline, and that's OK as far as it goes.

What goes a lot farther are the rappers who think this is language that is OK for them to use, but not OK for anyone else to use, anyone such as an old white man like Don Imus.

Take the bad boy rapper Snoop Dogg. He issued a statement through MTV today and was stunning in its blunt candor and in its near total lack of concern about the problems that result from promulgating this language. The mighty Snoop said:

"It's a completely different scenario. [Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about hos that's in the 'hood that ain't doing (bleep), that's trying to get a (bleep) for his money. These are two separate things."

So Snoop's position is that he is an expert on who is a ho and who is not, and therefore he is licensed to label hos and others are not. He said:

"First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them (bleepers) say we in the same league as him."

So we can now assume that there is a higher form of calling someone a ho and a lower form of calling someone a ho. And when we hear Snoop call a woman that name then we can take it to the bank that she is, and it's OK that she is called that.

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling much better about this. Obviously Imus must be flogged while Snoop and those he rolls with are off the hook.

That's My Word.

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