This post is going to be halved into an ignant post and an intelligent post – that’s just how much I had to write about this. Dr. Laura Schlessinger, known commonly as Dr. Laura, made a big error recently on her radio show. In the midst of a phone call about interracial dating and the problems a black wife was having with her white husband’s friends, Dr. Laura tried to, in her words, “make a philosophical point” by saying “nigger, nigger, nigger” on 3 separate occasions – twice on the phone with the woman, and once afterward. But I recognize that this probably makes it look worse than it is – so here’s a link where you can both read the transcript and listen to the entire event.
Alright, so there’s plenty to talk about here and I don’t want to ramble on without hitting a couple of major points. First, no – Dr. Laura didn’t call anybody a nigger. To say she did that would be to take the comments out of context and to, as she said, “NAACP her.” (By the way, did anybody know you could turn the NAACP into a verb form? That’s allowed but to create slang terminology is frowned upon. Just something I noticed.) She did, however, piss me and a friend of mine off pretty badly. My friend is even more angry at the “apology” Dr. Laura gave the following day, which seemed insincere and smacked of just doing it because she had to, not because she thought she did anything wrong.
So here’s the “ignant” side of this post – I’m getting tired of the damn apologies that some white people make when they knowingly put their feet in their mouths with behavior like this. Like the rules don’t apply, and that it doesn’t matter if it’s possibly wrong, I can do it anyway. The idea that these people really don’t matter and their experience in this country is something to be mocked because I can do it. Here’s a portion of the transcript that really bothered me about this privileged attitude that is taken by some whites (and I have to say some, God knows I don’t want to do another rant about white people).
CALLER: I can’t believe someone like you is on the radio spewing out the “nigger” word, and I hope everybody heard it.
SCHLESSINGER: I didn’t spew out the “nigger” word.
CALLER: You said, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.”
SCHLESSINGER: Right, I said that’s what you hear.
CALLER: Everybody heard it.
SCHLESSINGER: Yes, they did.
CALLER: I hope everybody heard it.
SCHLESSINGER: They did, and I’ll say it again —
CALLER: So what makes it OK for you to say the word?
SCHLESSINGER: — nigger, nigger, nigger is what you hear on HB —
CALLER: So what makes it —
SCHLESSINGER: Why don’t you let me finish a sentence?
No, why don’t I cut you off right there, Dr. Laura. “They did, and I’ll say it again?” Are you kidding me? On a nationally syndicated radio show, you’re going to make the assumptions you did (which I’ll be bringing up in the intellectual post) and twice say, “nigger, nigger, nigger” for no good reason? Seriously, what philosophical point (and I truly, truly, despise that she cloaked it in “philosophical” to try to save her ass. Take it from a philosopher – there was nothing philosophical about this) was she after? Even when listening and re-reading the transcript, there really was no reason for it. There was no place for it.
Now this isn’t about who should or shouldn’t get to say the word, “nigger.” Quite frankly, “nigger” is a harsh, brutal, historically modified word that cannot (and I’ll say it again, cannot) have any sort of kind qualities attached to it. (“Nigga” might be another story) What this is about (right now) is the palpable anger I felt over this event and her half-hearted apology that she offered up. To her own admission, it’s not that she said it that was wrong – but that she offended someone. What that means to me is that if she went to a Klan rally yelling, “Nigger, nigger, nigger is on HBO!” then she wouldn’t actually be doing anything wrong because she’s not offending anyone present. I sincerely doubt Dr. Laura is pro-Klan, but the example stays – she didn’t have a problem with her actions, she had a problem with the reaction to her actions. Like when a kid gets sad because the little one disappointed the parents – the sadness isn’t with the actions taken but by the response to the actions.
Her apology meant nothing to me or to my friend because we are tired of having to hear, “I’m sorry,” from some white people. We both wanted to know when will it be common knowledge to respect the African-American experience because we both are getting quite tired of it in our personal and professional lives. So this REALLY didn’t help matters. To close out the “ignant” portion of this post, I’m going to deliver a verbatim statement I made on my friend’s Facebook post, which was, “Dr. Laura can we call me spitting in yo damn face a philosophical point as well!”
“…that was an offensive repartee if I’ve ever heard one – the black woman said, “Just because it’s on HBO doesn’t make it right for you to say it,” and Dr. Laura’s punk ass was adamant about it being OK for her to say “nigger, nigger, nigger” for what ended up being no reason at all…I’m getting real tired of all of these excuses being tossed around, fake apologies, and overall insensitivity to the Black experience in this country by white people. Goddamnit I’m about to pull a Garvey and hit the Back-to-Africa train or at least the “Get out of the US” train because this shit is pissing me off. Like she really thought this was an OK course of action? When I piss on her grave, I’ll consider it an OK course of action for a philosophical point.”
Hyperbole aside (trust me, I’m not into grave defamation), let’s just agree that I’m not pleased with what’s taken place. And if you need more explanation, ask and also check out tomorrow’s intelligent post.
Tomorrow will be the intellectual side of my problems with this – she jumps down a slippery slope in her descriptions of both racism in America right now as well as on the use of the word “nigger” by Black people. Expect a calmer tone, but it was nice to get this out.