So When Did This Coarse Term Become Mainstream?
This article revolves around the nature and usage of offensive language and how some words have become what they are today. Referring to the words that got Don Imus fired from his radio talk shows, Julia Keller mentions Professor Deborah Rhode's book "Speaking of Sex: The Denial of Gender Inequality," and quotes her on the specific words Imus used:
"I do think there's been much more attention to the racist aspect of this than the gender aspect," said Deborah Rhode, a professor at Stanford Law School who often writes about sexism. "Would the same comment have been made about black male basketball players? My guess is no. They occupy quite a different landscape culturally and athletically."
Male athletes might be insulted by some cruel and foolish person because of their race, but because of their gender? Hard to imagine, said Rhode, author of "Speaking of Sex: The Denial of Gender Inequality," which chronicles how racism is denounced more frequently and fervently than sexism.