Apology Not Accepted Dr. Laura!: Another Take on the Racist Rant

Well known Dr. Laura Schlessinger, conservative talk show host and author, has done it again. Recently, in an on-air conversation with a Black female caller who was calling into the show to ask Dr. Laura for advice on how to handle issues of racial discomfort with the racially charged rhetoric of her White husband’s friends and family members; the host, as my good mother would say, “lost her damn mind” and displayed her intolerance and oppressive mindset toward people of color. This is not the first time she has exhibited intolerance and blatant ignorance toward a marginalized group. In 1998, she was quoted on her website as saying:

1. A huge portion of the male homosexual populace is predatory on young boys.
2. If you’re gay or lesbian it’s a biological error.
3. I call homosexual practices deviant.
4. When we have the word ‘homosexual,’ we are clarifying the dysfunction, the deviancy, the reality.
5. ….[reparative] therapies which have been successful in helping a reasonable number of people become heterosexual.
6. …I believe that homosexual behavior is deviant; that when homosexuals adopt children, these children are intentionally robbed of a necessary mom and dad…
7. I’m sorry, hear it one more time perfectly clearly: If you’re gay or a lesbian, it’s a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is in your inability to relate sexually intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex – it is a biological error


Later she took out a full page in the Daily Variety noting,

While I express my opinions from the perspective of an Orthodox Jew and a staunch defender of the traditional family, in talking about gays and lesbians, some of my words were poorly chosen … Many people perceive them as hate speech. This fact has been personally and professionally devastating to me as well as to many others. Ugly words have been relentlessly repeated and distorted for far too long …

In The Boston Herald, Schlessinger said was quoted as saying her words were not an apology, but simple “clarification.”

In terms of the recent Black female caller, there are several points of importance. First, Dr. Laura began by asking the caller for an example of a racist comment, “Cause sometimes people are hypersensitive.” Later within the conversation, she says, “…hypersensitivity, OK, which is being bred by black activists.” The said quotes are examples of her in ability to take acts of racism and oppression serious. She devalues the plight of Blacks. Next, Dr. Laura says the N-word eleven times while debating that it is alright to use because Blacks use to word so freely. My final and most important point is that using the word was horrible enough. But when one listens to the actual conversation, one will be able to notice her “devil may care attitude” she takes. She seems to have no fear or disinclination with using the N-word or other degrading racist rhetoric. Researchers Leslie Picca and Joe Feagin discuss and explain explains the racial attitudes and behaviors exhibited by Whites in private vs. public settings in their profound book, Two-Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage. Simply, their case studies proved that Whites will discuss oppressive and racists words in regards to marginalized people more so in private when surrounded by other Whites they feel are liked minded. Well, you might be thinking, “Dr. T, what she did was not in private, but on a publically national syndicated talk show.” What is interesting and escapes many that have attempted to discuss this issue, is the fact that a majority of those who dial into her show weekly, those that sponsor her show, share a like mindedness in regards to her social and racial ideology. She felt so freely to degrade the caller’s concerns while spewing the N-word because she knew the majority of her audience was simply like her. She felt feely to discuss interracial marriage in a degrading manner because she knew the majority of her audience was simply like her.

On her website, she said,

“ I talk every day about doing the right thing. And yesterday, I did the wrong thing. I didn’t intend to hurt people, but I did. And that makes it the wrong thing to have done. I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the “n” word all the way out – more than one time. And that was wrong. I’ll say it again – that was wrong. I ended up, I’m sure, with many of you losing the point I was trying to make, because you were shocked by the fact that I said the word…

Well Dr. Laura, I am sure Plato is rolling around in his toga due to your attempt to “philosophize.” Next, in regards to losing the point; THIS FACT IS TRUE! This is obvious by the views of news media coverage that has taken place on CNN, and other venues. The media once again exemplifies their fear to have real scholars on to discuss the matter. Instead they go to their shoe box of so-called experts who have no idea what exactly they are witnessing (who always happens to be Black). Sorry Rolland! To me, they all missed your point due to their inability to dissect your overall argument, words used, and tone. But do not worry, Dr. Laura. I got it…I got it.


  1. No1KState

    In CNN’s defense, Don Lemon did interview 2 black people whose names escape me and Tim Wise, who posts here. I posted the clip on my blog. http://herecomethatgirl.blogspot.com/2010/08/only-because-don-lemon-does-good-job.html#more

    One thing I don’t understand is that there’s no confusion about any other word. There’s a show called QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY, and that’s a word that’s used in the LGBT community among friends. But it’s fairly well understood that the word because a slur when used by a heterosexual to mean “gay.” There’s a movement to encourage teens to stop saying, “That’s so gay,” when they really mean, “That’s so lame” (TeenNick 30sec promo).

    I don’t think there’s really any confusion about who can and can’t use the n-word. I think there’re some whites who just refuse to have their “1st amendment right” to free speech abrogated by people of color. But as I like to say (different saying from the one about reparations): Yes in the US, you have the right free speech. But always remember, you get what you pay for!

    • ThirtyNine4Ever

      Wait, who can and can’t use the n-word? I know I can’t. I had a white roommate that would always say it, but then a lot of what he said was a quote from hip-hop lyrics, is that ok? It was always a little off-putting. Is there a manual somewhere I could download?

      • No1KState

        You’re a woman, right?

        Are the any circumstances under which a man could use the c-word and it would be okay with you? Even if he meant it jovially?

        Black people have been using the n-word since slavery to mean, “friend.” That’s nothing new.

        But relying on rap and entertainers to rationalize its use among whites is just not credible.

        1 – HBO is HBO. The n-word isn’t bleeped out because it’s HBO. And there are more established comedians, who aren’t Cosby, who object to the use of the word, especially the grutuity. Besides, Def Comedy Jam doesn’t even air new episodes, anymore. So Dr. Laura was being disingenuous.

        2 – The music with the n-word is marked explicit. It’s not played on radio or even BET without the n-word deleted. When I buy rap, I always buy the edited version. So it’s not as though whites couldn’t do the same if they chose. The n-word isn’t why I buy the edited version, and I’m not saying that whites must buy the edited version; just that there’re options. When white people buy music with the n-word, they’re making a conscious choice. Moreover, why is there no assumption that there’re millions of black people who, though they like mainstream rap, aren’t comfortable with its use of the n-word. What about us? How convenient that we’re left out of the discussion.

        3 – Regardless of what’s common “knowledge,” the music industry is still ran by white men in suits, and suburban white boys made up close to 80% of rap buyers just a couple of years ago. Whatever the artists are saying, they’re not saying to portray an authentic reality of urban black life.

        4 – The reality they’re supposed to represent is a small portion of black life. Whatever underclass, young black males call themselves and each other, the vast majority of African Americans don’t use the word in daily conversation. Those young men shouldn’t represent black culture anymore than the Jersey Shore kids, or GODFATHER, represent Italian-American culture.

        5 – As far as I’m aware, the word “guido” isn’t bleeped out of Jersey Shore episodes, but it would still be a slur coming from my mouth, right? Or, at least an insult. (Someone correct me if I’m wrong about this, but there’s an element of social power that turns an insult into a slur. Much like power+bias=racism?)

        6 – Is there any confusion surrounding the c-word? The b-word?

        7 – No one would call me a honky, so I don’t know, but how often is a white person called a cracker or honky by a black person, really? Mind you, those words aren’t known as the “h-word”; they don’t have an opposite and equal meaning to the n-word. But do white people really hear that word a lot from black people? If so, are they used as racial insults or are they used jovially? My suspicion is they when they’re used, they’re used to insult. I can think of at least two times I’ve heard either word in movie or TV: SCRUBS and OCEAN’S 11. Both are comedies, and each time the word was supposed to be an insult, even though the SCRUBS episode was softer than OCEAN’S 11. There’s no confusion about the use and meaning of those words. There’s also not a lot of confusion about the word “redneck.” If you’re not a redneck, it’s an insult.

        Which is to say, there’s little confusion about other slurs, be they racial, gender, or sexual orientation. So is there really any confusion about the n-word, really?

        Wow. That is a lot to remember. So I’ll make it simple: There is no circumstance under which whites can use the n-word, including singing along to a hip-hop a song.

        Well, being that you have 1st amend rights, whites can use it. Be I’d be discriminate as to when and where. Cause however confused whites may be, there’s no confusion among the black community. And that’s the real insult: not that there’s a double standard as to who can’t and can use the word, but that the black community is pretty clear how we feel about that word coming from white people, and yet whites insist on the right to use it around us.

        Or, if you know some men who wanna do actual research, send them to one of the rough neighborhoods those rap artists supposedly represent, let them hang out at a barbershop for about 6 months. I mean, let’s do a real sociological case study. Have those men start making friends in the barbershop and throughout the community. They could even go to church. Maybe even recruit Dr. Laura and Palin to hang out at the nearby beauty shop. Then at some point once the 6 months are over, at the first available opportunity, have the researchers sing along to a rap song and have them sing every word, including the n-word, and report what happens. If it’s really okay, they’ll be fine. If not, the police and EMTs will get there really quick. Just in case, make sure they sign waivers and have good insurance.

  2. Dr. Terence Fitzgerald Author

    No1KState, thank you for your insight. I find the use of the N-word charged to the seventh degree when one really takes apart all the other comments made in regards to “so called Black activists,” NAACP joke, and the freedom she felt when using the racial slur so freely.

  3. No1KState

    A question for the academics: why the supposed confusion?

    Do whites really just wanna sing along to rap music? I doubt that’s the cause, but thought I should mention it as an option.

    Is it the indignation at being censured by a group who really were previously known by that term?

    Is that whites want the history of race in America to be forgotten, one indication of which would be their use of the n-word without controversy.

    Is it indignation at being censured at all? I’m doubting that’s it because the n-word isn’t the only word that’s not said in polite company; or, bleeped out in music or network TV; or, for which a radio station would be fined.

    I suspect it’s just the unfamiliarity of having a privilege stripped away; I just want to be sure. As for the “confusion” surrounding who can and can’t use the word, I’m confused that there’s any confusion. How hard is it really to understand? I know some claim it’s “unfair” that blacks can use it and others, primarily whites, can’t. But there’s no similar claim made about “b*tch” as to why men can’t say it? McCain wasn’t even the one who used the word, and he was socially reprimanded for not chiding the woman who did say it. Even some PUMA “feminists” reprimanded Obama for not saying anything on the issue. Meanwhile, nothing much was said in reprimand to the woman, unless it was said on some feminist blogs.

    There’s no confusion about slurs against Latino/as. There’s no confusion about slurs against the LGBT community even if, like queer, they’re used within the community. Tim Wise explains it best as analogous to family relationships whereby I can call my brother a big baby, but no one else can. What’s so difficult in understanding that?

  4. Dr. Terence Fitzgerald Author

    I agree cliffnotes, the discussion must go beyond the use of the word. We must look at the intent in conjunction with the covert messages that had gone unnoticed due to the gut reaction to hearing a White person using the N-word. My intent of writing the piece was to do exactly that. I did not want others to get hung up on who can say what.

  5. No1KState

    What are those “convert messages?”

    Personally, it’s more than just the word I “hear.” I hear “I’m white and I’m gonna say what I want no matter how you feel about it because I’m white.”

    cliffnotes made a good point in his post about people dismissing racism as motivation for Omar Thornton’s workplace killing spree and PhD Physiology Laura telling the caller she was being hypersensitive. And the, “Don’t NAACP me,” comment.

    As though white Americans are objective arbiters of what is and what isn’t racist and/or offensive.

    And the snap about the NAACP reminds me of how during the CRM, white Southerners would say everything was fine except that “outsiders were inciting” anger amongst the “negros.”

    I think it’s pretty clear who can say what and claims of confusion of disingenious. What I don’t understand is why so many, many whites are just dying to say it. A post a clip of Tim Wise’s panel interview with Don Lemon on facebook, and someone actually messaged me that this one word alone gave blacks more rights than whites. Someone else said I was f*cked in the head. Being black, I know why we’re upset when we hear it. What I don’t understand is why whites get upset that they can’t say it.

    So, what is the intent and covert message? What’s going on? What’s beyond my gut reaction.

    Btw, I don’t buy the whole, “It doesn’t bother me cause I know I’m not one,” line from some black folks. The white person who insists on using the word may not be describing me, but s/he’s definitely telling me something about them and what they think of me as a black person. I don’t see how that’s any less insulting.

    Also, why are so very many whites insisting on saying a word and using popular mainstream entertain to justify saying that word – as though all of black America should be okay with it because of what they think a slice of black America does? Is there another ethnic group so defined by the culture of its adolescent males? I feel like using rap and untalented comedians as an excuse to say the n-word is a bit racist in and of itself. It’s not as though everything thinks it’s okay to go around saying “redneck” just because of Jeff Foxworthy.

    In fact, in 1992, a court ruled 2 Live Crew’s “nasty as they wanna be” as obscene and dismissed their claim of giving artistic expression to their daily culture. Has something happened so dramatically in less than 20 years that not only is it okay for black rappers to be “obscene” as “artistic expression of their culture,” it’s okay for whites to copy that obscenity. Just a short time ago, these same conservative types were pointing at rap as indication of blacks’ cultural “deficit” (whatever that means).

    What’s happened that the use of the n-word no long indicates a person lack of culture? Is it that whites who would use the n-word are only “play acting” at blackness? That at any time they want, they can put it down and rely again on their white skin? Is it that, as we saw in the piece on “enlighten” racism, these whites know that they aren’t n*ggers, so it’s no big deal?

    And who are white Americans, any conservative in fact as I did hear the black tea kettles complain that their white friends can’t use the n-word jovially without having their 1st amend rights taken —– Who’re these people to tell anyone we’re being hypersensitive when they’re complaining about being overtaxed to an administration that’s just lowered taxes for 95% of Americans.

    If what whites really want is true peace and not just silence, why insist on having the right and ability to define what is or should be, isn’t or shouldn’t be offensive to the groups who remain victims of a white supremacist society? One guy, who may have been black, even compared this sort of censuring and asking leaders of the tea pots to renounce racism to KKK racial terror. “Huh, what?!” Yep. The NAACP and black activists in general were compared to the KKK.

    So lets not get hung up on who can say what cause first off, it’s really obvious. And second off, I got questions galore!

    And just for the record, do whites really hear “cr*cker” a lot? I know that’s part of the complaint, that they can’t say the n-word but, allegedly, we can call them that word anytime we want, even on national TV/radio and not be censured. So how often do whites hear it, really?


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