Dr. Laura Schlessinger apologized for using the “N-word” eleven times on a recent radio broadcast during a discussion with an African American woman. The woman, Jade, is in a mixed-race marriage. She was upset with her husband’s acceptance of what she considered racial hostility from his family and white friends and had called in to Dr. Laura for advice.
Dr. Laura asked Jade, “Give me an example of a racist comment as some people are hypersensitive.” The assumption on Dr. Laura’s part is that African Americans are too sensitive over what they perceive is racism.
When the caller tired to explain herself, Schlessinger asserted that she indeed was hypersensitive. When Jade countered by asking Dr. Laura about the use of the n-word that whites had used in her presence, she replied, “Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO and you hear a black comic: ‘ N—-r, n—-r, n—–r.””
Before Jade could react, Dr. Laura had a commercial break, and when she came back, Jade took umbrage at her use of the N-word.
During the ensuing conversation, Dr.. Laura Schlessinger claimed Jade had “too much sensitivity and not enough sense of humor.”
“Is it OK to say it [the N-word]?” Jade asked.
Dr. Laura replied, “Well, it depends on how it is said.”
Jade asked, “Is it ever OK to say that word?”
The N-word is defined in dictionaries as highly offensive and generally is considered the most negative word in the English language. The Merriam-Webster dictionary qualifies the N-word as “unusually offensive.”
“It depends how it’s said,” Dr. Laura replied.: Black guys talking to each other seem to think it’s OK.”
“But you’re not black. They’re not black,” Jade said. “My husband is white.”
“I see. So a word is restricted to race?” Sr. Laura asked. “Got it. Can’t do much about that.”
Jade had had enough with what she obviously perceived to be Dr. Schlessinger’s sophistry.
“I can’t believe someone like you is on the radio spewing out the n—-r word. I hope everyone heard it.”
“I didn’t spew out the n—-r word.”
“Everybody heard it.”
“Yes, they did,” Dr. Laura said.
Jade defiantly replied, ” I hope everybody heard it.”
“They did and I’ll say it again. ‘N—-r, n—-r, n—–r.’ Why don’t you let me finish a sentence? Don’t take things out of context. Don’t N.A.A.C.P. me!”
At this point, which many commentators failed to pick up on, the conservative commentator is getting close to crossing a bright line. America’s most venerable civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, has publicly chastised the conservative Tea Party movement.
A blog post written in mocking “Uncle Tom dialect” in the guise of a “Negro” that chastised the N.A.A.C.P. in return by one of the leading members of the Tea Party movement, Mark Williams, caused a fire storm similar to the one that engulfed Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Unlike Dr. Laura, Williams did not apologize, but he did resign from the Tea Party.
Jade came right back at Dr. Laura: “I know what the “n” word means and I know it came from a white person. And I know the white person means that.”
Dr. Laura would not accept that the perception of a black person was different from that of a white.
“All right. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Can’t have this argument.”
Dr. Laura then delivered another emotionally charged bomb. “You know what, if you are that hyper sensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race.”
In other words, what’s love got to do with it? Laura Schlesinger’s shtick is that she is a highly trained psychologist that is doling out helpful advice.
During the segment of her radio show, Dr. Laura accused her African American caller of being a victim of the Orwellian sounding thought crime “black think.” She also blamed black activists for the situation in which she couldn’t use the N-word in what she considered a neutral, clinical way and for the misunderstanding that wrecked her conversation with Jade.
In her reasoning, since Dr. Laura is not a racist, she could use a racist word and it would be treated neutrally. It seems to betray an alarming ignorance of psychology.
Dr. Laura said it was a sad situation, but was understandable as it was about power. She then made a plea for righteousness — doing the right thing — to prevail in the social and political arena.
Listening to the tape of the exchange, one might not consider Dr. Laura Schlessinger an overt racist but one would have to conceded that her desensitization therapy for Jade was a failure. Ironically, it points to a hyper-INSENSITIVITY on Dr. Laura’s part and a lack of self-awareness.