Whatever happened to the “Employee of the Month” award or certificates of appreciation? Apparently, they are too pass? for University Student Union Board of Directors Chairperson Bobby Rodgers.
Rodgers periodically awards his hard-working colleagues with the coveted “Keepin’ It Pimpin'” award.
I understand that in today’s society, people like to be rewarded and feel valued for the work they do. What I don’t understand is why one of the leaders of our USU can’t come up with a more elegant and less chauvinistic name for his award.
March is Women’s History Month, and by giving an award a name like this, Rodgers makes it clear that he didn’t show up to history class on the day women’s issues were being discussed.
The “Keepin’ It Pimpin'” award is given to employees who are exemplary in their jobs, especially in the face of adversity. The trophy is described as a goblet, painted gold, with fake plastic jewels running down its length, bought and decorated by Rodgers.
The first recipient of this eloquent honor was Pan African studies professor Bernardean Broadous. Broadous is the bylaws keeper and faculty representative on the board, and she won the award because she continued to excel at her post, even while dealing with the death of a close family member.
The second beneficiary was junior business law major Joseph Pourshalimy, given to him for his efforts in recruiting members to the board’s various committees. The Board of Directors’ main purposes are to maintain buildings and facilities, to facilitate programs, adopt policies, and to oversee financial matters for the USU in the best interest of students. The board creates and maintains policies through various committees that develop direction for the USU.
Simply put, we all hear the word “pimp” on a near-daily basis in hip-hop songs and on television. The word has become part of our vernacular, and is used to describe someone who is cool or smooth with the ladies.
But “pimp” is a word that’s thrown around without any thought to what it actually means. Using the word so loosely implies insensitivity to women’s struggles over hundreds of years, and of the very real struggles women face today in this country and around the world.
Pimping is rampant in Asian countries, where, according to The Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights, nearly 800,000 young girls under the age of 11 work as prostitutes. The Viva Network estimates that nearly 50 percent of those young girls are HIV-positive. And in the United States, it is estimated that there are about 100,000 child prostitutes.
All of these young girls are bought and sold as if they are property, their sexuality and innocence sold for profit by their pimps.
Clearly, Rodgers doesn’t mean to demean women or imply that he endorses prostitution. Certainly, though, he doesn’t understand the implications of the word. His ignorance really shines through when you realize that he gave such an award to a female professor.
It’s the kind of mindset Rodgers displays that perpetuates inequality amongst men and women. Call me a poor sport, but when the chairperson of our Student Union’s Board of Directors displays such insensitivity to women’s issues, it is an embarrassment, both for him, and for CSUN.