OK, let’s get one thing straight: Calling anybody a “nappy-headed ho” is a racist remark. The question is: Should Don Imus be fired for saying it?

“Nappy-headed ho’s,” of course, is what Imus himself called the great Rutgers women’s basketball team. Then he just laughed when producer Bernie McQuirk said the Rutgers and Tennessee teams reminded him of the “Jigaboos and Wannabes.” Another racist remark.

Nor is it the first time Imus has gotten himself in hot water for racist remarks. Like the time he derided journalist Gwen Ifill as “a cleaning lady at the White House.”

For all of which Rev. Al Sharpton and others have demanded that the I-Man be fired.

So what’s the answer? Was it racist? Absolutely. Was it stupid? Hell, yes. Should he be fired? Not yet. For now, MSNBC and CBS have done the right thing, suspending him for two weeks. By which time, maybe Imus will have learned his lesson, which is this: The talk-radio microphone is a powerful instrument, which those entrusted with have a duty to use responsibly.

Meanwhile, those journalists and politicians who parade regularly like peacocks on Imus’s show should think twice about appearing the next time. In this business, you are, indeed, known by the company you keep.