The real problem with ‘Dr.’ Laura

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Baby-boomer wingnut “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger maintains that there’s no difference whatsoever between a rich white wingnut like herself using the word “nigger” and a black person using the word “nigger.” She also doesn’t want to be “NAACP’d” (I never knew that that was a verb), calls historically oppressed minority groups “hypersensitive” (it’s easy to say that someone else is “hypersensitive” when you yourself are a member of the historically oppressive and dominant group), and advises the “hypersensitive,” “Don’t marry out of your race.” 

CALLER: How about the “n”-word? So, the “n”-word’s been thrown around [by her white husband’s white friends; the female caller identifies herself as black] —

SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is “nigger, nigger, nigger.”

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.

I’m Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I’ll be right back.

… 

CALLER: So it’s OK to say “nigger”? … It’s OK to say that word?

SCHLESSINGER: It depends how it’s said.

CALLER: Is it OK to say that word? Is it ever OK to say that word?

SCHLESSINGER: It’s — it depends how it’s said. Black guys talking to each other seem to think it’s OK.

CALLER: But you’re not black. They’re [my husband’s friends are] not black. My husband is white.

SCHLESSINGER: Oh, I see. So, a word is restricted to race. Got it. Can’t do much about that.

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[O] —

CALLER: So what makes it —

SCHLESSINGER: Why don’t you let me finish a sentence?

CALLER: OK.

SCHLESSINGER: Don’t take things out of context. Don’t double N — NAACP me. Tape the —

CALLER: I know what the NAACP —

SCHLESSINGER: Leave them in context.

CALLER: I know what the N-word means and I know it came from a white person. And I know the white person made it bad.

SCHLESSINGER: All right. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Can’t have this argument. You know what? If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race….

And what I just heard from Jade [the caller] is a lot of what I hear from black-think — and it’s really distressting [sic] and disturbing. And to put it in its context, she said the “n”-word, and I said, on HBO, listening to black comics, you hear “nigger, nigger, nigger.” I didn’t call anybody a nigger. Nice try, Jade. Actually, sucky try….

From “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger’s radio show of August 10

I haven’t chimed in yet on the “Dr.” Laura* brouhaha, so here goes. In a word, it isn’t about “the ‘n’-word.”

What it is about is that “Dr.” Laura Schlessigner is an overly comfortable right-wing white person who is unable to or refuses to even try to have empathy with members of other groups that don’t have the same comfort and ease and the same privileges that she and her lily-white ilk do.

Schlessinger claimed, on her August 10 radio talk show, that if black people can say “nigger,” so can she and other whites.

It’s as though there were no such fucking thing as social context.

She’s another fucking dipshit, another wingnutty dingbat, but she’s a “doctor” and a baby boomer, so she actually makes money dispensing her “wisdom” and “expert advice.”

If black people want to call each other “nigger,” that’s fine with me. It’s their business. It’s their free speech. It was their right to take back an ugly word that had been used against them for decades if not for centuries by racists and white supremacists.

For a rich white right-winger like Schlessinger to use the word “nigger” obviously is different, because her cohort is representative of the group that once used the word “nigger” as a venomous pejorative against blacks and held blacks down for generations (and still holds them down).

Duh.

Similarly, as a gay man, if I use words like “queer” or “faggot,” that’s quite a different social context than if a known homo-hater uses those words.

There are some of my uptight fellow gay men who take themselves and their sexuality way too seriously who believe that no one should use such words as “faggot” or “queer” or “Froot Loop.”

That’s fine. If they don’t want to use such words themselves, more power to them. But those fucking faggots they have no right to dictate my free speech.

So “Dr.” Laura’s biggest sin, in my book, is not her simple use of the word “nigger,” even repeatedly. It’s her assertion that there really is no difference as to whether a rich white wingnut like herself uses the word or whether a black person uses the word.

It seems to me that no person whose empathetic ability and logical skills are so absofuckinglutely non-existent should be using the title “Dr.” and be a commercially successful dispenser of advice.

I wholeheartedly support “Dr.” Laura’s right to free speech, and, as this news analysis makes clear, legally the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects us from governmental interference in our speech, not from such things as boycotts or social pressure that arises as the result of our saying things that are unpopular.

When we fags and dykes non-heterosexuals started to boycott businesses that gave money to the Proposition H8 effort, I remember pro-Prop H8 assbites positing, at least implicitly, that boycotts are illegal. (The wingnuts’ insane “argument” seemed to be that we consumers have to give our money to businesses. “Free” enterprise apparently means that the business owners, but not we consumers, have economic freedom.) 

No, boycotts (and similar pressure campaigns) are not illegal.

They’re just another form of free speech in a society that we claim is free.

“Dr.” Laura has the free-speech right to go on air and have an entire show in which the only word that she says is “nigger.” She can have “nigger”-a-thon if she fucking wants to. But if this causes people to complain to the broadcasting business(es) that put(s) her bile and venom on the air, and to boycott her show’s advertisers, well, it’s the free-speech right of those individuals to do so.

“Dr.” Laura should not be relegated to the dustbin of wingnut history because she repeatedly said the “‘n’-word,” though. She should be put out to pasture because she has demonstrated, amply, that she’s only a husk of a shell of a human being with no feeling or compassion whatsofuckingever.

And her other words outside of “nigger” — “Don’t double N — NAACP me”; her charge that blacks are “hypersensitive” (despite the long history of white-on-black discrimination and violence, not to mention the historical white enslavement of blacks); and “Don’t marry out of your race” — demonstrate amply, I think, what “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger is all about.

*I use quotation marks around the title “Dr.” because Schlessinger does not have a degree in psychology or psychiatry or the like. Her 1974 doctorate was in physiology, for fuck’s sake.

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