Racial Insensitivity Can Be A Real Bitch
I’ve been out of the news loops lately. It wasn’t until yesterday that I heard about Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s nigger rant. If you’ve been out of the news loops as long as I have, or longer, let me fill you in. On August 10th, the conservative talk show host was talking to a caller by the name of Jade who identified herself as a black woman married to a white man. Jade called in to say that her feelings are hurt because her husband doesn’t stand up to his friends and relatives who make racial generalizations and use the nigger epithet. Rather than empathize with the caller, Ms. Schlessinger insisted that Jade was hypersensitive and pointed to black comics who often use the word. Ms. Schlessinger then callously uttered the word a dozen or so times.
Jade called into the talk show looking for help. She gave an example of a neighbor who would come to her house and ask insensitive questions like, why do black people like doing this. Rather than seeing Jade as an individual in need of understanding, the talk show host saw the caller as a member of a monolithic whole labeled black people. Ms. Schlessinger responded that black comedians on HBO use the nigger word all the time and the word is no big deal. It is her theory that as long as there are examples of black people saying the word, black people who are being paid by racially generic entities like the paid programming network corporate giant HBO, then other black people shouldn’t have anything to say when white people use the word. Essentially, Ms. Schlessinger used the call as an opportunity to say black people can go to hell and she could give a rat’s ass if Jade was offended. As she wrapped up the Jerry Springer like segment of her radio show, Ms. Schlessinger commented that if black people are that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, then they shouldn’t marry outside of our race.
Ms. Schlessinger has since posted an apology on her website. She said that she articulated the racial epithet more than one time, and that was wrong. No fucking shit!
But the problem here isn’t just this woman’s lack of compassion for one of her callers who just so happened to be black or her use of the word nigger over and over again. The bigger problem here is Ms. Schlessinger’s first class example of the insidious nature of blatant racism. She didn’t hesitate to use her radio show to make the suggestion that the black community is a single minded entity of people who share equally in the blame, judgment, and/or responsibility for one of our own. A black comedian uses a hateful word. Therefore, its okay for all black people to be slammed with the word regardless of how much a black individual says that he or she is offended.
Jade didn’t call in to the show to say that the neighbor’s were calling her a nigger. She called in to express her frustration with neighbors who she felt were being racially insensitive. It was Ms. Schlessinger who brought the word to the conversation.
What would have been Ms. Schlessinger’s response if Jade called to say that her neighbors were sexist and made insensitive comments about women in general? How would that conversation go? Would Ms. Schlessinger dismiss the caller as just being hypersensitive? Would she ever bring up the fact that there are women on some network somewhere where women use the word bitch? Would the “doctor” then go into an arguably hateful tirade reciting the word “bitch” over and over again to drive home the point that the caller’s fear, concern, feelings, self esteem, and/or etcetera, doesn’t amount to jack. Somehow I doubt it.
Ms. Schlessinger’s contempt for her caller and for black people in general was plain and real. She goes along with a lot of people who simply refuse to see black people as individuals. If one black person does it then all black people are culpable. And because black people who are paid handsomely by white people use inappropriate language, black people need to just suck it up and quit being so sensitive. Black people need to get some kind of sense of humor to deal with issues of race. And if we don’t like it, we need to just stay the hell away from white people and quit cavorting outside the black race.
If that’s the best advice that Ms. Schlessinger can give then her show should be yanked as soon as possible. Personally, I never found the Dr. Laura talk show worth listening to. And after this episode I wouldn’t listen to that bitch if somebody paid me. And if anybody is offended that I used such a reference for a woman I apologize. But by Ms. Schlessinger’s own admission it’s okay. Women on HBO and television shows everywhere use that word all the time.