The real name of the lady who called in to Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s radio talk show is Nita Hanson. She was using the name ‘Jade’ when she called in to tell Dr. Laura about a problem she was trying to deal with as a result of her interracial marriage. Some of her husband’s relatives and friends and their racial remarks were making her uncomfortable.
Unless you’ve been in the proverbial cave or just prefer to steer clear of this type of news, you have probably heard that instead of helping Nita Hanson a.k.a. Jade, Dr. Laura launched into a rant about how she doesn’t know what the problem is with the use of the n-word when black comedians use it liberally without repercussion and as if to punctuate her point, Dr. Laura used the n-words 11 times during the course of the conversation.
Dr. Laura later apologized, sent a shout out to “Jade” that she would like to proffer a personal apology, and then later told Larry King she was wrapping up her radio talk show at the end of the year in an effort to reclaim her “First Amendment rights.”
Nita Hanson spoke with T.J. Holmes about the incident on CNN’s “American Morning,” expressing her skepticism of Dr. Laura’s apology. T.J. Holmes asked her why this incident upset her so much that she even had “crying sprees.” She explained that the turn the conversation took was so unexpected that she actually thought she had done something wrong, especially since after she hung up, Dr. Laura seemed to be accusing her on the air of trying to set her up. T.J. Holmes pointed out that Dr. Laura was sorry and apologetic about the incident, but Mrs. Hanson said:
“It’s more than just the n-word. I mean, that whole conversation, she said I shouldn’t marry outside my race. Dr. Laura acted as if I tried to set her up. And that’s not what happened. I called for advice. I didn’t try to set this woman up. You know, at the end of the tape, she’s like “nice try, Jade.” Like, what is that supposed to mean? So I don’t think she’s sincere in her apology. She thinks it’s OK to use the n-word and it’s not sincere.”
Well, you do get that impression from Dr. Laura, because of bringing up her First Amendment rights to say whatever she wants to say. But, Dr. Laura says on her blog that her apology is sincere in that she never intended to hurt anyone and later recognized that she had done that. Yet when you listen to the audio, you wonder if Dr. Laura still believes what she said about the whole thing being in the nature of a power play. Dr. Laura ended up her session after speaking with Nita Hanson as ‘Jade,’ by saying:
“We have to be able to discuss these things. … Ah — hypersensitivity, OK, which is being bred by black activists. I really thought that once we had a black president, the attempt to demonize whites hating blacks would stop, but it seems to have grown, and I don’t get it. Yes, I do. It’s all about power. I do get it. It’s all about power and that’s sad because what should be in power is not power or righteousness to do good — that should be the greatest power.”
How the conversation went from a simple call to help in a situation that is not that uncommon to the above ending was all Dr. Laura’s doing, including her insulting remarks about hypersensitivity and marrying outside one’s own race. From her apology, you don’t get the sense that she no longer believes what she said. I don’t know if I get the idea that she’s sorry she got caught, as Mrs. Hanson says. I think that Dr. Laura definitely thought she could defend this diatribe and found out differently after the fact.
Dr. Laura says on her blog that she often gave out the advice when you have done something wrong to follow the 4 R’s: Responsibility, Remorse, Repair, Repeat. (The last one means make a commitment to never repeat, not do it again. ) I think Dr. Laura missed the ‘repair’ part of her own advice. To make amends, it’s not enough to just say ‘I’m sorry I hurt you,’ but to make an effort to understand why your own thinking was out of line and change that thinking.
Dr. Laura is right that there are some people who will never forgive her no matters what she says, but I would rather hear her saying that she understands that when a white person says the n-word, regardless of the point being illustrated, it still carries the connotation of racial inferiority than to be saying she wants to protect her First Amendment rights.
It’s really not that hard to understand, Dr. Laura, and I have to agree with Mrs. Hanson, that you are old enough to know better than this.
Sources: embedded and
Lexis-Nexis Transcript of “American Morning” (8/19/2010)