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Dr. Laura’s ZEALOUS N-word Rant: She Missed The Point, Caller Missed Advice

August 16, 2010

During her nationally syndicated radio show last week, Dr. Laura Schlesinger repeatedly used the N-word while giving “advice” to a caller, a Black woman.

The caller asked Dr. Laura how to handle racist comments from her White husband’s friends. The caller also asked if the N-word is offensive.

Dr. Laura said, quote- “black guys use it all the time,” and went on to give, what she claimed, were examples; shows on HBO, jokes by Black comedians, and such.  She said Black people in general use the N-word to refer to each other all the time.

After the caller said she was upset Dr. Laura used the N-word, the good doctor told the Black woman quote- “If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race.”

At its peak Dr. Laura’s show in which she gave relationship advice to callers was the second highest rated radio show in the country, heard by more than 10 million people. Her listenership declined in 2002 in part because Dr. Laura instead started lecturing on morality and conservative politics.  For instance she referred to homosexuality as a biological mistake. But I digress.

Dr. Laura is not a sociologist, she’s a physiologist.  Her 1974 doctoral thesis examined the effects of insulin on rats.  She is not qualified, either personally or professionally- to define the N-word or the acceptability of its use in any scenario, by anyone- Black or White.  Period.  As proof, everything she said to the caller was wrong. Everything.

Not all Black people use the N-word.  Despite her claims we are not monolithic people and in fact many Black people detest the word, no matter how it’s pronounced, no matter who is saying it.  That the word is used by some Black people does not lessen the history and pain associated with it, nor does it make it more acceptable for other people to use.  Two wrongs don’t make a right, Doc.

Also, that whole “the N-word as a joke” defense is nothing more than rhetoric people use to excuse themselves when they say things that are racist.  Instead of the accountability being on the person who used a racial slur, the “it’s a joke” method flips it back onto the person who didn’t find it funny.

The caller asked the question, is the N-word offensive?  In repeatedly using the word in her reply, Dr. Laura gave her the answer.  But what about the other issue the caller brought up On how to handle her White husband’s friends’ racist comments.

Well, here’s some real advice for her, and anyone in a similar position.  It’s unacceptable for her husband’s White friends to make those comments, especially when his Black wife is standing right there.  Those comments are not funny and the caller is not hypersensitive.  Instead of focusing on the friends though, it’s time to turn her efforts to her husband.

Dr. Laura accused the caller of being hypersensitive and told her she shouldn’t have married outside of her race if she couldn’t handle it.  That was wrong.

The wife wasn’t the only one in the equation who entered into an interracial marriage.  The husband did too.  He chose to marry a Black woman.  In that decision, he takes on the responsibility to honor, respect, and defend his wife- to anyone, friends, family members or co-workers.

This issue is his responsibility to deal with, not hers.  She needs to sit her husband down and tell him, not ask him, but tell him to deal with his so-called friends and their racist behavior towards her, end of discussion.  It doesn’t matter if this makes the husband uncomfortable, nor does it matter if it results in lost friendships.

If he can’t respect his wife enough to do that for her, then she needs to ask herself if that is the kind of partner she wants to have for the rest of her life.

Take note Dr. Laura, that is sound relationship advice.

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