Dr. Laura, on her nationally syndicated (I believe and yes I'm too lazy to go verify), had a young black woman call in for relationship advice. The caller's problem revolved around her white husband's lack of response when his friends and family used racial insults and propagated racial stereotypes. The conversation that followed is below and I'll let you arrive at your own conclusions.
Howfefer (as one of my VT professors was fond of saying), as a black man who does not use the word on a regular basis and at most maybe twice a year when something on Jerry Springer catches me off guard, there is a misconception on the use of the n-word.
Black people don't consider it acceptable. Regardless of the mouth from which it spews. With that said, approving of something and tolerating something are two different actions. I remember when I was a boy around 12 or 13, I remember being in Bethel Manor which is the military housing for Langley AFB. Near one of the entrances was a 7-11 which had a dirt bike path that came up from the back. We'd fly down that path and skid around the corner to the front of the store. One day we come around the corner and there was this old white man. Pardon my language, but we scared the shit out of him. He turned to me and said 'Nigger'.
I felt smallI didn't have a grasp of the full extent or power of that word until that day. I think that experience shaped my use of the word (barring my college days where my discipline was compromised). When a person uses the word, I don't approve but I do tolerate it and I may not be right in doing that. But I don't think I'm alone in saying that the word is not accepted, it's not approved. Comics may use and we may laugh. Rappers may use it and we may dance. But that does not make it right. That doesn't make it acceptable. And maybe the one good thing that can come from the conversation below is an insight into the mentality that has resulted from our tolerance of the word.
SCHLESSINGER: Jade, welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hi, Dr. Laura.
CALLER: I'm having an issue with my husband where I'm starting to grow very resentful of him. I'm black, and he's white. We've been around some of his friends and family members who start making racist comments as if I'm not there or if I'm not black. And my husband ignores those comments, and it hurts my feelings. And he acts like --
SCHLESSINGER: Well, can you give me an example of a racist comment? 'Cause sometimes people are hypersensitive. So tell me what's -- give me two good examples of racist comments.
CALLER: OK. Last night -- good example -- we had a neighbor come over, and this neighbor -- when every time he comes over, it's always a black comment. It's, "Oh, well, how do you black people like doing this?" And, "Do black people really like doing that?" And for a long time, I would ignore it. But last night, I got to the point where it --
SCHLESSINGER: I don't think that's racist.
CALLER: Well, the stereotype --
SCHLESSINGER: I don't think that's racist. No, I think that --
SCHLESSINGER: No, no, no. I think that's -- well, listen, without giving much thought, a lot of 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. You gotta know that. That's not a surprise. Not everything that somebody says -- we had friends over the other day; we got about 35 people here -- the guys who were gonna start playing basketball. I was going to go out and play basketball. My bodyguard and my dear friend is a black man. And I said, "White men can't jump; I want you on my team." That was racist? That was funny.
CALLER: How about the N-word? So, the N-word's been thrown around --
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.
We have to be able to discuss these things. We're people -- goodness gracious me. Ah -- hypersensitivity, OK, which is being bred by black activists. I really thought that once we had a black president, the attempt to demonize whites hating blacks would stop, but it seems to have grown, and I don't get it. Yes, I do. It's all about power. I do get it. It's all about power and that's sad because what should be in power is not power or righteousness to do good -- that should be the greatest power.
After taking a commercial break, Schlessinger resumed her discussion with the caller:SCHLESSINGER: I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger, talking to Jade. What did you think about during the break, by the way?
CALLER: I was a little caught back by the N-word that you spewed out, I have to be honest with you. But my point is, race relations --
SCHLESSINGER: Oh, then I guess you don't watch HBO or listen to any black comedians.
CALLER: But that doesn't make it right. I mean, race is a [unintelligible] --
SCHLESSINGER: My dear, my dear --
CALLER: -- since Obama's been in office --
SCHLESSINGER: -- the point I'm trying to make --
CALLER: -- racism has come to another level that's unacceptable.
SCHLESSINGER: Yeah. We've got a black man as president, and we have more complaining about racism than ever. I mean, I think that's hilarious.
CALLER: But I think, honestly, because there's more white people afraid of a black man taking over the nation.
SCHLESSINGER: They're afraid.
CALLER: If you want to be honest about it [unintelligible]
SCHLESSINGER: Dear, they voted him in. Only 12 percent of the population's black. Whites voted him in.
CALLER: It was the younger generation that did it. It wasn't the older white people who did it.
SCHLESSINGER: Oh, OK.
CALLER: It was the younger generation --
SCHLESSINGER: All right. All right.
CALLER: -- that did it.
SCHLESSINGER: Chip on your shoulder. I can't do much about that.
CALLER: It's not like that.
SCHLESSINGER: Yeah. I think you have too much sensitivity --
CALLER: So it's OK to say "nigger"?
SCHLESSINGER: -- and not enough sense of humor.
CALLER: 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 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 --
CALLER: So what makes it --
SCHLESSINGER: Why don't you let me finish a sentence?
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. If you're going to marry out of your race, people are going to say, "OK, what do blacks think? What do whites think? What do Jews think? What do Catholics think?" Of course there isn't a one-think per se. But in general there's "think."
And what I just heard from Jade 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.
Need a sense of humor, sense of humor -- and answer the question. When somebody says, "What do blacks think?" say, "This is what I think. This is what I read that if you take a poll the majority of blacks think this." Answer the question and discuss the issue. It's like we can't discuss anything without saying there's -isms?