What Dr. Laura Said Wasn’t Racist
By Cord Jefferson of The Root
Could we stop giving folks like radio show host Laura Schlessinger the power to work our nerves?
So here we go again — another tedious descent into the “n-word” hole. This latest ride is courtesy of radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who, while speaking with a black female caller about problems in the woman’s interracial marriage on Tuesday, said the following:
CALLER: How about the n-word? So, the n-word’s been thrown around —
SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is N-Word, N-Word, N-Word.
CALLER: That isn’t —
SCHLESSINGER: I don’t get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it’s a horrible thing; but when black people say it, it’s affectionate. It’s very confusing. Don’t hang up, I want to talk to you some more. Don’t go away.
The caller became audibly distressed, telling Schlessinger, “I was a little caught back by the n-word that you spewed out, I have to be honest with you.” Schlessinger responded by saying the n-word several more times, thus setting into motion a wave of backlash on talk shows and in the liberal blogosphere, which is now abuzz with calls for her firing.
Presumably, that we’re even talking about Schlessinger means her plan has worked — from irrelevant to slightly less irrelevant with one little word. The joke’s on us, and I’m not laughing.