Friday, August 27, 2010

Dr. Laura - Racist, Not Martyr

When Jade called Dr. Laura, she was asking for advice how, as a black woman, she could handle repeated racist comments from her white husband’s friends. When Dr. Laura concluded, 46 seconds into the call, that her husband’s friends were not racists, the nature of the call quickly turned from that of a woman asking for help to a debate about racial sensitivity.

Less than a minute later, in making a philosophical point, Dr. Laura was repeatedly using the ‘N’ word before abruptly going to break.

After the commercial break, Dr. Laura used the racial slur several more times, accused Jade of having a chip on her shoulder when she said she did not appreciate hearing the word and abruptly ended the call all in under two minutes.

After disconnecting, Dr. Laura indicated that if Jade did not like hearing white people say the ‘N’ word and was not going to have a sense of humor about racism, she should not have married outside of her race.

The call has created an outcry across the country, not only about the racial slur but about the ideas that Dr. Laura expressed along with them. At one point, she said that, “blacks voted for Obama simply 'cause he was half-black. Didn't matter what he was gonna do in office, it was a black thing.”

Also disturbing was the implication that any black person who was offended by racial slurs was too sensitive and that the caller should not have married a white man.

After coming under intense fire, Dr. Laura posted an apology on her website.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, however, isn’t buying it. He claimed that her rant would have been offensive even without the racial slurs and that she did not apologize until there was a public outcry.

“Not only the caller was right that she said the word over and over and in a very animated way, I might add, but that she actually, if you listen carefully to the logic of what she was saying was saying that the n-word was not offensive,” said Sharpton during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “Her first reaction was that people use the n-word all along and you are being too sensitive or something to that effect, and at no point until after the outrage that followed did she come back today and say it was wrong."

More than 9 million Americans listen to Dr. Laura’s show every week.

The media was waaaay to easy on Dr. Laura on this one, even though she's acting like a martyr.

Here's the thing that nobody seems to pointing out, though Reverend Sharpton touched on it.

The n-word wasn't the worst of Dr. Laura's offenses here. In fact, it wasn't even the most racist thing to come out of her mouth.

The attitudes behind her rant were far worse than the word itself. Particularly the part about how Jade shouldn't have married a white guy if she wasn't going to have a sense of humor about racism.

I am sad that Dr. Laura is running off and quitting her radio show, though. I like people like her out in the open where we can see them, not lurking in the shadows.

So nobody really called her on her shit and she gets to go off and pretend she's a free-speech martyr. It's a goddamn pity all around.

But let's be clear. Let's put the n-word aside and pretend she never said it. Dr. Laura is not being chased off the airwaves, in fact, I would love to have her stay on.

And let's be clear on something else. Yes, there's room for disagreement and debate, even about the use of the n-word and all kinds of race-related issues. But Dr. Laura is not a voice of dissent. She is a racist.

Just to be clear.

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