(CNN) -- Talk radio host Don Imus has been suspended by CBS and MSNBC for two weeks after he referred to members of the Rutgers women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."
We asked CNN.com readers to share their reaction to the controversy, and who they think is fair game for talk radio. Below is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.
Marie Phillip of Hempstead, New York
I do not think that the forefathers intended that we use the term "Freedom of Speech" as a means of expressing our ignorance, fears and sheer bigotry, willfully and intentionally to demean another human being, especially in a position when one can influence the public.
It is about time Imus and the other talk show hosts who spew hatred and despair to an audience who sometimes cannot think for themselves be responsible for their actions and if it is through demonstrations by the public, cancellation of advertisements and any other means to take them off the airways, so be it. We must as a nation stand up to this type of ugly talk and be brave to say "enough is enough".
Chris Bevers of Kaukauna, Wisconsin
While the Imus controversy is troubling, it reflects a trend in talk radio in which the medium seems to think it is immune from criticism and above reproach, regardless of what is said on the air.
To me, talk radio shows have become nothing more than mirrors for the blind. (Let me emphasize that I'm referring to the blind in the figurative sense; I don't mean to marginalize the visually impaired.) These radio megalomaniacs preach to their own narrow-minded choirs in their own cathedrals.
Dan Beckham of Mathis, Texas
I watch Imus every day and have been for quite a few years. I don't agree with him on a lot of things and I think his comments directed toward the young women of Rutgers were absolutely wrong. I also believe in accepting a man's apology and listening to him when he says he is going to make amends and is going to change for the better.
I strongly feel that if Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson really want to help their people, then they should do more to help solve the many problems that are facing them. Sharpton and Jackson's energy and focus should be directed toward black rappers who are doing untold harm to the black community. As they work on that they need to help solve drug-selling and using, which is rampant in the black neighborhoods. I feel as many people do that Sharpton and Jackson use the black people more than they help them. Actually, I compare what the black leaders are doing to what Congress does most of the time, which is next to nothing. Instead of really addressing issues and finding solutions to problems, they spend their time chasing after frivolous events that wind up helping no one. It really is disgraceful and seems pretty apparent to me that what we have here is business as usual with no end in sight.
D. Michael Gurley of Birmingham, Alabama
I must say that I think we have turned into a cruel and uncaring society. People's feelings and beliefs are subject to constant ridicule and criticism.... Imus and Howard Stern radio are no exception. My guess is that we would no longer watch television or listen to radio if it were to be about something nice somebody did.
Dana Irlbacher of Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Imus, a powerful public figure, points out in a bit of petulance that black rappers and others use the term "ho." Imus adds he doesn't see this as an excuse for his own racist and sexist remarks, but he just wants to point it out. OK, so why point it out? The truth is, anyone saying what Imus said is simply in the wrong, and particularly someone in Imus's position of influence. Wouldn't it have been so much better if Imus pointed out that despite the racist and sexist things others are saying about young women, HE will choose to never say them? Now there's a public figure I could admire!
Susan of West Palm Beach, Florida
The comments Imus made are without a doubt inappropriate but certainly no more so than the rap and hip-hop so-called "music" that we tolerate and indeed give awards to. If Imus gets fired for this then it would be an outrageous exhibit of a double standard, unless the rappers and hip-hoppers are required to clean up their lyrics if their "music" is to be for public consumption. I am not condoning Imus' behavior. I think it is all inappropriate. This is not just about race or gender -- it is about becoming so desensitized that we don't know how to be civil anymore. The media, sadly to say, is a major culprit and reality TV is one of the worst offenders. It is disgraceful and has to stop.
Kathleen Berry of Youngstown, Ohio
Don Imus has a history of disrespect toward others. I was offended when I saw him on Larry King Live and he was condescending and humiliating toward his own wife, speaking to her in a demeaning way. He is typical of people who obtain some degree of recognition and think they are above the fray. Most of all, in our path toward respect for human dignity he represents a dying breed that must be put out to pasture. The decision of what to do with this man is a no-brainer. He must be fired!
Donna Hartl of Pleasanton, California
His comments simply reflect what has been accepted from black entertainers for years! Obviously, only whites are "fair game" -- only minorities presently enjoy free speech -- whites do not!
Mark Banning of Fredericksburg, Virginia
Imus was hired as a shock jock, now he says something shocking, everybody is shocked! The joke is on us and the media.
Gwyn Poole of Piscataway, New Jersey
There should be some limitations as to what a fair target is on talk radio. We all know that everyone has an audience... whether your comments are positive or negative... there is an audience for them. I believe that children and young adults who are representing their age-group in a positive manner should be strictly off limits, unless you can find something positive to say about them. Also, disabled individuals -- physically and/or mentally -- should be off limits. The disabled, our children, and young adults doing positive work should not be open to the verbal abuse from the mouths of anyone whose job it is to profit -- either monetarily or in popularity -- at someone else's expense.
Marinelle Morrow of San Angelo, Texas
It seems like the world we live in is like a dogfight. When you are a dog in a fight, any dog that gets noticed is fair game. In a world where personal things aren't personal, anything goes. So, either sharpen your teeth or do something to make a change for the better! A good start would be to stop supporting trash and get interested in something that matters.
I think it is so sad that we have sunk so low as to celebrate and promote the kinds of negative subjects that talk radio and Jerry Springer-type shows put out. Wouldn't it be so much better if we used our media to lift ourselves up, to improve our minds and to celebrate the joys of life? It isn't surprising that so many of us are semiliterate and depressed when we waste our minds and resources on tearing each other down. Why would we expect people to respect others when they live as the center of their own universe and get their power through the belittlement of others? How can people like Don Imus rise to such prominence? What about him is there to respect? Well, at least I haven't heard him say that he "comes in the name of the Lord;" but then, I haven't heard him at all,only about him. I guess for so many people it is just more fun to destroy than it is to be joyful or create beauty. What a waste!
Donna Hadley of Columbia, Maryland
Let me qualify this by stating I am a black woman -- I think women in all demographics should hold everyone accountable who spouts these kinds of words as "pronouns" for women. However, I believe that Imus never would have dreamt it was OK to use these terms had black rappers not paved the way into pop culture (again over radio waves) for such disrespect, by combining vulgarity against all women, with emotionally stirring rhythms and calling it music. (Yeah right.)
Personally, I wouldn't mind if Imus kept his job, since his misguided and ill-thought comment provides such a great avenue for this discussion.
Connie Chamberlin of Molino, Florida
Since we are a free speech country, anything and everyone is fair game. That being said, we also all have the right not to listen to anything we find offensive. I see it as a supply and demand issue -- if there's no audience, there will be no sponsors, so there will be no show. Turn the junk off!!!
Mark Jaynes of Fairbanks, Alaska
I think the only "fair" game is ourselves. By denigrating yourself you send the message that you are no better than anyone else. Of course, the whole concept of being "better" is ludicrous, but then after all, humanity is a primitive affair.