Can we talk about race?

Radio show host's entanglement with 'N' word shows difficulty of honest debate

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Bigfoot. The Loch Ness Monster. The Honest Dialogue About Race.

Radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger plans to give up her radio show at the end of the year.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger plans to give up her radio show at the end of the year.

Don't waste your time looking for any of them anytime soon.

This country periodically scours the land for that mythical beast no one has yet described, the Honest Dialogue About Race. It's usually lip service, though, normally coming after someone has lost a job or committed professional suicide.

Enter Dr. Laura, who appears to have done the latter.

Now, if we ever do bag that legendary Honest Dialogue About Race, we certainly don't want the likes of Laura Schlessinger leading it. She tends to cross the line from harsh to abusive. Her knee jerks so quickly you can hear the rush of wind against the microphone. Not what you need, leading a discussion on such a delicate topic.

But her odd and abrupt announcement Tuesday night that she's quitting her nationally syndicated advice show on radio -- over the reaction to her using the "N" word with a caller -- was another one of those "Gee, if only we could have an honest dialogue about race" moments.

Schlessinger -- who earned the title "Dr." with a degree in physiology, not mental health -- used the "N" word to illustrate how often it's used in the black media. The problem is twofold: One, she said it over and over and over, which even she acknowledges was a mistake; two, she's white -- and the conventional wisdom today is that white people should never use the word.

The irony, of course, is that she's absolutely right: The word is ubiquitous in black culture, including music and comedy and, in many instances, everyday conversation. So yes, there is a double standard.

On some level, that double standard is actually quite understandable: The word was used as a contemptible, dispiriting cudgel for so long; the feeling among some is that those who created and wielded the word as a weapon have lost the right to use it. In truth, most of us believe no one should use the word.

But the effect of that perceived double standard is an uneven playing field upon which it's difficult to see eye to eye.

It's imperative we don't give up. Here's hoping we get that honest dialogue someday. A good start would be to listen to each other more than we speak.

Schlessinger claims she's quitting her radio show at the end of the year to "regain my First Amendment rights.

"I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry or some special-interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent," she said on CNN's Larry King Live .

Schlessinger has a nationally syndicated show. She's hardly the poster child for regaining free-speech rights. But her awkward situation does accentuate the fact that it's awfully difficult to have an honest dialogue when you can get your head bitten off for saying the wrong thing -- without even trying.

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Republicant
3
Points
Republicant 08/19/10 - 09:41 pm
0
0
We, as white people have not

We, as white people have not earned the right to say the "n" word. Never will. Deal with it.
Anybody here have brothers or sisters?
You can talk about your brothers or sisters or parents amongst them. Say whatever you want. Call them names.
Let an outsider come in and say the same thing about that person.
There will be a fight, no doubt.

dani
13
Points
dani 08/19/10 - 09:44 pm
0
0
You will never be able to

You will never be able to talk with those who carry a chip on their shoulders. It is futile to even try.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 08/19/10 - 09:54 pm
0
0
Special privileges should be

Special privileges should be considered for every situation when speaking to every person. Honest dialogue is just insult dialogue. Speaking in politically correct innuendo is the only language acceptable to everyone. No sincerity, no honesty, no offense of any kind. You see, ALL things are relative. There is no "right" or "wrong" if you look hard enough to find a point of offense at every turn. So, to stop from offending anyone under any circumstances, NEVER, EVER, speak honestly about politics, race, religion, personal feelings or family. Of course,if we do that we'll all be Dems.

I think I'd, personally, rather be seen as the honest pariah.

Republicant
3
Points
Republicant 08/19/10 - 10:42 pm
0
0
You're right grouse. But say

You're right grouse. But say something like "jesus loves you, but everyone else thinks your an a-hole" and you'll probably get your comment pulled.

Republicant
3
Points
Republicant 08/19/10 - 10:43 pm
0
0
Dr Laura is all about free

Dr Laura is all about free speech. As long as it's hers, and not Howard Stern.
She refused to sign a deal with CBS unless they could "muzzle" Stern from talking about her.
Needless to say, CBS told her to pack sand.

dougk
3
Points
dougk 08/19/10 - 10:56 pm
0
0
context...context...context..
Unpublished

context...context...context....that's all you have to remember when deciding on choice of words.
And, I don't know what you're referring to, dani, but I suspect if I knew, it would be offensive to many more people than just me.

columbiacountynative
0
Points
columbiacountynative 08/19/10 - 11:50 pm
0
0
I am sick and tired of being

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I am by not a bigot, by no means. Often when I run into the grocery or any other business that has a fire lane with 'No Parking', I have had to walk around a vehicle, illegally parked, music is blaring. The music that I heard was as the so-called "n-word" repeatedly. This was the most articulate word that I would understand. Why? Why, was the car parked illegally? Why was the music left where I (and everyone else) could hear it? Was it a coincidence? No. It was meant to be heard! This has happened many times. Just do not understand. And Yes I voted for our President and I am a native Columbia countian for over 50 years. There I've said it.

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 08/20/10 - 02:30 am
0
0
Extend the hand of friendship

Extend the hand of friendship and be willing to render aid and comfort whenever required to all; black, white, tan, red or yellow, christian, muslim, wiccan, buddhist or polytheistic. BUT, turn you back and withdraw from all commerce and communication with those that "cry racist" at all ill-perceived slights; and with those fanatics that follow blindly in the path of lunatics.

GGpap

Brad Owens
4906
Points
Brad Owens 08/20/10 - 02:13 am
0
0
I never liked listening to

I never liked listening to Dr. Laura.

From what have read, a lady called in and complained that she had trouble dealing with the flak she got for being in an interracial marriage. She asked advice about how to deal with people who were bigoted and the conversation shifted into one about race in general.

I thiink Dr. Laura should have been a little slow on the draw when it comes to using offensive terms to make a point.

One day America will pay a heafty price for not being honest about its race problems.

Brad

psychologyseniorusc
0
Points
psychologyseniorusc 08/20/10 - 03:32 am
0
0
Dr. (if you can call her

Dr. (if you can call her that) Laura has never been one of tact. She makes statements to sell books and promote herself, not unlike Ann C.
The woman has no background in psychology, sociology, or even human respect. To engage in any turmoil she has fired is only to make her smile. People who do not have a problem with race, don't talk about race. I am white and have dated blacks, asians, hispanics, and people of other religions. It's no big deal !!!!! We don't need to look at other people as a color, religion, or culture,,,,, just people.

Johnny Rotten
0
Points
Johnny Rotten 08/20/10 - 04:09 am
0
0
Mr. Ryan and ACES, I find

Mr. Ryan and ACES,
I find it "interesting" that you chose this editorial topic to run on the same day that the AC has suspended readers' comments on the lead news story concerning the latest shootings/murder in CTX. I understand that black-on-black violence is a potentially racially-charged discussion subject, but it's all about the freedom to give personal opinions, isn't it?

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 08/20/10 - 05:33 am
0
0
GGpap, I'm in full agreement

GGpap, I'm in full agreement with your 3:30am post.

seenitB4
97562
Points
seenitB4 08/20/10 - 05:53 am
0
0
Either we all say the word or

Either we all say the word or no one says it!!!
I don't buy that it's ok for some to say it...NO NO NO.

seenitB4
97562
Points
seenitB4 08/20/10 - 06:06 am
0
0
You know what notreally... I

You know what notreally... I don't say the word.. my friends don't use the word... the only time I hear it is from the BLACKS....If you really want to stop it....EVERYONE should stop using the word...You won't convince me that it is ok for "some" to say it. That doesn't even make a little bit of sense.

seenitB4
97562
Points
seenitB4 08/20/10 - 06:27 am
0
0
Well I see posts are going

Well I see posts are going bye-bye...early in the am..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHDVDL-Vico&feature=related
we just can't..

NotReallyGA
0
Points
NotReallyGA 08/20/10 - 06:34 am
0
0
Well what did I say this time

Well what did I say this time WOW... Nevertheless that word within the black community is common and in many circle the same could be said about the white community and that word. How's that moderators LOL.

seenitB4
97562
Points
seenitB4 08/20/10 - 06:44 am
0
0
I would kinda tip-toe now

I would kinda tip-toe now around the tulips...names are flying off the shelf!

TheFederalist
1
Points
TheFederalist 08/20/10 - 07:07 am
0
0
Let's be perfectly honest

Let's be perfectly honest here, for just this once. IMHO, we will never be able to have this legendary, "Honest Dialogue About Race", because just like Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster, I contend that it does not exist.
Every time we try and scratch the scab off this 200+ year oozing societal wound, the worst sort of infectious feelings once again begin flowing, by both sides, because of the everlasting, all consuming sin of slavery, that will never be allowed to heal. Discussion is futile, and the simple truth is that there are just some things that are too painful to pursue any further, and IMHO, this is one that needs to stay buried.

justus4
113
Points
justus4 08/20/10 - 07:16 am
0
0
Schlessinger should quit the
Unpublished

Schlessinger should quit the radio TODAY! Not three months down the road, because her "insensitivity" toward people of color demonstrates her ignorance of the country's history. Then, she crying about her freedom of speech rights being lost. Ha! How ignorant is this woman? And how can she be called a doctor, when she is not one? (Let a minority citizen try that one) Isn't that a violation of something? Is it honest to have {Dr} in your name to deceive the public? That's enough for me to know that this is a slippery individual who believes in white supremacy and the N-word is nothing unusual for her kind. She and others can say what ever they want, but don't expect others to tolerate her ignorance by spending their money supporting businesses who keep racists on the air. Oh, and the "honest debate" stuff will not happen until the government that sanctioned and enforced the enslavement, breeding, raping, lynching, murdering and destruction of the Black mind, be held to account. Until that happens, little progress will result.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 08/20/10 - 07:19 am
0
0
the issue will continue to

the issue will continue to remain a festering sore on this country until both sides can and do sit down and have a frank, forthright and candid discussion about race. each side continue to skirt the issue for fear of offending the other then using vain attempts to mitigate or sove the underlying problem by enacting various esoteric laws that the "so-called" experts claim will solve the problem, but in actuality only makes things worse. it's time that the whites be honest and candid about there feelings about race and the accompaning guilt complex and the blacks need to stop falling back on the victim mentality blaming all failures and the destruction of the black family on slavery. it's time for all to take a hard long and honest look in the mirror

cparker
83
Points
cparker 08/20/10 - 07:36 am
0
0
It is wrong to call black

It is wrong to call black people N**gers... I don't feel blacks should call one another the "N" either. I know blacks that feel just as passionate about not living with, near, or around the corner from blacks. Racism is a funny issue because black and white people proclaim they are not racist when they truly are. Race matters a lot more than most people will admit!! Black muslims call white people blue eyed devils, but don't consider themselves racist. Young white students hang nooses on school campuses, but don't feel they should be punished for exciting racism. Race matters in America!!

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 08/20/10 - 07:36 am
0
0
We all have to update our own

We all have to update our own opinions sometimes. I know mine need another adjustment after I heard an older white Southern lady use the term "nigra" in conversation with a distinguished professor from Paine College. I happen to know that both of these people have good hearts, clean minds, excellent educations and liberal views, but I did notice that the gentleman who winced in this situation was me.

GAterp
2
Points
GAterp 08/20/10 - 07:47 am
0
0
The last place to have a

The last place to have a dialogue about anything is with a "talk show host". It's not dialogue, it's bring in the clowns!

dougk
3
Points
dougk 08/20/10 - 07:49 am
0
0
Just for the record,
Unpublished

Just for the record, Justice....she is a doctor of physiology. The sham or the unethical part is that she uses the title to "perform" in an area outside of the field in which she has earned that credential

psychologyseniorusc
0
Points
psychologyseniorusc 08/20/10 - 08:01 am
0
0
my goodness people, the

my goodness people, the bottom line is that people should respect one another. it does not matter what the term but how it is meant. this happens in all cultures. it's ok for a redneck to call another idiot a redneck, it's ok for a gay man to call another gay man a girl or fag, it's ok for a black person to call another one a [filtered word]. just get over the term thing. respect people. i'm sure i'll get banned for this comment, but it needs to be said. people, just be nice to one another. geeezzz

psychologyseniorusc
0
Points
psychologyseniorusc 08/20/10 - 08:02 am
0
0
Oh, and i'm gay and black,

Oh, and i'm gay and black, so don't call me a bigot.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 08/20/10 - 08:14 am
0
0
Psych, enlighten me: Today,

Psych, enlighten me: Today, at 4:32 you wrote, "I am white and have dated blacks..." then at 9:02, "...i'm (sic) gay and black..." You may not be a bigot as you profess, but you certainly seem schizophrenic.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 08/20/10 - 08:21 am
0
0
If she had been a black

If she had been a black entertainer and called someone a honk ** she'd still have her job. A politically correct double standard exists in this country.

effete elitist liberal
3191
Points
effete elitist liberal 08/20/10 - 08:22 am
0
0
Let's see

Let's see here....conservatives argue that while those NYC Muslims may have a Constitutional Right of Religion to build their Mosque near GZ, they should not. Why? Because they should be more "sensitive" to the feelings of the families of 9/11 victims and others. But Dr. Laura should be free to exercise her Right to Free Speech and ignore the sensitivities of her listeners? Double standard?

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 08/20/10 - 08:25 am
0
0
I wonder if anybody remembers
Unpublished

I wonder if anybody remembers a "man of color" by the name of Jesse Jackson referring to Jews as "hymies," and NYC as "hymietown" a few years ago?

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