August 13th, 2010
04:45 PM ET

Dr. Laura's rant: In her own words

Racial comments made by talk radio host Laura Schlessinger during an on-air conversation with a caller this week have created a national furor. The issue has spawned heated responses from commentators and her listeners. iReporters are also weighing in.

In an apology posted on her blog, Schlessinger acknowledged she "did the wrong thing" in using the N-word several times during a conversation with a caller on Tuesday. The African-American woman had called to seek advice on how to deal with racist comments from her white husband's friends and relatives.

The conversation evolved into a discussion on whether it's appropriate to ever use the word, with Schlessinger arguing that it's used on HBO and by black comedians.

"I was attempting to make a philosophical point," she said on her blog. "I ended up, I’m sure, with many of you losing the point I was trying to make, because you were shocked by the fact that I said the word."

Here is a complete transcript of the exchange after the break, with the exception of the full N-word when used by Schlessinger and the caller.

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 just 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 ...

CALLER: [unintelligible]

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 n-–, n-–, n-–.

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.

[Commercial break. Segment opens with Sly and the Family Stone's "Everyday People" playing]

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 ...

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, 'cause 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 ...

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.


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 "n-–"?

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 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 "n-–" word, and I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: I didn't spew out the "n-–" word.

CALLER: You said, "n-–, n-–, n-–."

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: ... n-–, n-–, n-– is what you hear on HBO ...

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 distressing 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 "n-–, n-–, n-–." I didn't call anybody a n-–. 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?

We have to be able to discuss these things. We're people. Goodness gracious me. Ah, 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 but righteousness, to do good. That should be the greatest power.

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Filed under: Race
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. Keith Rife

    Hey theory, are you a retard?! No one can ever understand your slavery!!

    First, I would love to meet your master. I'm quite sure you have never personally been enslaved so I seriously doubt you have one. Second, I believe the Jews hold the record for number of times, years and different nations that have held them as slaves. Blacks don't even register on the meter in regards to how "bad" you had it in slavery.

    Learn some history before spewing ignorance on a message board and making yourself look stupid.

    August 18, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walter Kane

      Nice comment but you can't use "retard" anymore,you have to start saying the "R"-Word.

      August 20, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. terry

    She sounded HONEST to me. Dr. Laura does alot of good. Some people just don't want to heat the truth.

    August 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ranger 7

    It's Don Imus all over again. It is never going to end so long as the word is so profusely used by those who don't like it. Listeners to Dr. Laura's radio program know how tough she can be. Those who call her rude should get a life. She has helped more people with their personal problems than probably anyone, including her callers and listeners. Being tough with sensitive women gets them to cry, possibly because they are forced to face they may be the problem in the first place. As with Don Imus and "Imus in the Morning," there is a future for Dr. Laura Schlesinger, and it should be better than ever. Go Girl! One more thing. She is no racist. She just tells it like it is: straight, direct and to the point. And she admits error. Can you do that? She's already apologized. It takes character to do that.

    August 18, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dee

    Why are whites so scared? Why can't you treat blacks the way you treat whites? I don't feel threatened at all because I don't hide anything. I am going to say and do things to blacks that I would do to whites. If we want to feel equal, why do we walk on eggshells? We are all the same,, if you try to be careful of things you say because because of race–then you are acting like you are superior and you are full of guilt - it is stupid.

    August 18, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Don T

    I'm black. I don't care for many of Dr. Laura's views, but I have no issue with the point she was trying to make, because I actually GET the point she was trying to make. Whether or not she's a racist is really a separate issue and one that really can't be determined on the basis of these particular comments that she made.

    I think also that the "N word" need not be used by ANYONE. As a black man, I certainly wouldn't want to hear that there are words that only whites can use – words that blacks aren't "allowed" to use. So, in my opinion, it's hypocricy of the highest order for some blacks to keep insisting that there are words that only "we" can use. That is a racist position in my view and I believe this country has had enough of that type of separatist sentiment. It's troubling that everyone doesn't see that and, sadly, it's an indication that we've still got a very long way to go – on "both" (all) sides of this issue.

    If one listens objectively to Laura's comments, it's clear that what she was ATTEMPTING to do was to highlight that hypocricy and I believe that's a valid point. That she did so at the expense of a caller attempting to seek her counsel about how to handle offensive comments in her own home is more than unfortunate and she therefore owes an apology solely to that caller, and none to the rest of us. After all, we all have the right that I choose to exercise, which is to refuse to listen to her show – for whatever reasons we may have.

    For me it's this simple: If it's 'just a word" then no one should be offended irrespective of how it's used or by whom. If it's an offensive word, then everyone should be offended regardless (again) of how it's used or by whom.

    Let's keep it simple people!

    August 19, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Smoovplayer

      Don T, It is unfortunate that your comment is burried so deep in the long line of opinions on this forum. You have clearly articulated the essence of what message we all should have received, and that is; what is good for one should be as equally good for all and if something is dangerous to all we should protect the one.
      As much as I would like to address the issue with a mature level of seriousness, I'm having too much fun laughing at the ignorance of some of the comments that are posted. It's a comedy show and I get a front row seat!

      August 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Amy

    LS TOTALLY handled this wrong because she just doesn't get it. I worked with this guy who would ask me dumb -ish like, "why do black people do this? Why do black people do that?" I finally flew off at him and asked him, "Who in the hell do I look like, Al Sharpton?" LS stated that the caller was "hypersensitive." I disagree. LS wasn't sensitive enough. Why couldn't the neighbor ask, "what do you think?" That' goes to the stereotype that if you get once response from a black person that response will be representative of all black people. Call it ignorance, stupid, racist, what have you. A white person will NEVER understand until they become the minority. Nope, not racist, because I know all white people don't react the same way to a certain situation, so I wouldn't think to ask a white person "why do white people do this/that?" If her neighbor wasn't racist, he wouldn't have brought race into it. He would have just asked her what she thought. And no one would ask a Jewish person "what do Jews think about this or that." I think LS is living in a world of "what should be" as opposed to what is. Yeah, she mucked up on this and she missed the point. That's like if I called a woman a b**** (I'm a woman) she wouldn't take it as hard as if a man called her one. Same difference. Different connotation coming from a man is all. Just like the use of the N word is different coming from a white person than a black person.

    August 19, 2010 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Smoovplayer

      Amy, you asked, "Why couldn't the neighbor ask, What do you think?" In a perfect world, that would be the expectation. Unfortunately, the woman's(Jade) neighbor is the person who should be more sensitive. Perhaps the neighbor should be politely called onto the carpet and asked why he feels that one black person has the answers for the actions and philosophies of all other blacks. Jade, the CALLER could turn the question around and pose some absurd stereotypical question to the neighbor and await his quizical facial expression.
      With respect to your comment about whites understanding only after they become the minority, must be tempered with the realization that this "hoop-la" we are discussing has nothing to do with being black or white, but with one's own state of mind.
      Is it any different for a white person to feel that the "black man" has taken their good jobs and white women than it is for a black person to feel that the "white man" is holding them down? These beliefs are a state of mind. "You are a slave, Neo". This is a prison... for your mind.

      August 19, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CJonLI

    So glad this conversation has come up. I am one who is also confused by the ease that the N-word is thrown around by colored people. I used to live in New York where many of my friends were black, (I am white). The N-word has a dual meaning, it can be a word of affection as in, "That's my n*gger", or it can be a derogatory word as in, "He's nothing but a n*gger". The word as I know it has no color to it; a white or a black person can be a n*gger. In a derogatory sense, the word 'n*gger' typically means someone who is untrustworthy, has no class and no direction in life. My friends used to call me a n*gger in a lighthearted way, and sometimes I would do so in return. None of us took offense at this word, as it was used as a word of affection. We never crossed the line by using the word in a derogatory way. Unfortunately not everyone sees it this way. For example, many years ago I moved to N. Carolina and my first very close friend down there was black. One day we were playing volleyball and he spiked the ball to score a winning point. Proud of him, I said, "Now that's my n*gger". Well, that essentially ended the friendship and I almost had my head ripped off. I tried to explain my NY background and friends, where we did not see color and how the n-word was used in an affectionate way. In my head, I was saying, "Now that's my buddy". It was at that point that I stopped using the word, seeing how for the first time people view the n-word differently. I do find it interesting that many blacks throw around this word without a second thought, but if a white person uses it, conversation stops and there is a very uncomfortable moment. For the word to be dropped from our vocabulary, it needs to be dropped altogether and not just by one race.

    August 19, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lakeisha

    I think so many of the comments that were made are very ignorant. I am a black woman and I am the first one to say that the "n-word" is a negative, derogatory word that was birthed from a very bad place and it should not be word that anyone uses freely. No one and that goes for any race! I feel that we ALL are responsible for seeing that this word is omitted from our vocabulary and that start with each of us as individuals. Hearing it on the streets, from comedians or television shows does not negate that its not right. It doesn't give anyone the right to use it so freely. Be individuals, you start the trend. With that being said, I think that Dr. Laura was very insensitive and wrong with her approach at this topic. So now its okay to because we have a black president, does she think that the black race should be satisfied and content because it appears that racism doesn't exist! I was outraged by her response. She has the audacity to say that black people are oversensitive. PEOPLE DO NOT TALK ABOUT SOMETHING YOU DON'T KNOW about! She doesn't know what it feels like to be black and the DAILY issues that we face. Do you know how uncomfortable it is to hear someone say, " Do black people really like doing that?" I mean, one, two or 20 black people are not the majority. I am not walking around asking white people about being serial killers or pedophiles because "statics" show that more whites commit those crimes. Its wrong and it stings every time I hear those questions. We have the right to be sensitive and unless you have been faced with these situations. I am the first to admit that times are improving but we have not truly overcome. LASTLY, DR. LAURA...You have ONE black friend! Whooptydoo! Please do ever use that excuse again to justify, its lame and makes you look like an idiot.

    August 19, 2010 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. realist

    Hey Theory, white people are fed up when blacks constantly whine about reparations. Blacks always use the race card(Jesse Jackson- a crook himself-shaking down corporations for money, Sharpton hello- Tawana Brawley. Please, white people are sick of listening to that b.s. Deal with it.

    August 19, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Michelle1597

    Several things are going on I'm going to play the devil's advocate for a moment.

    The caller has every right to be offended by what is going on with her husband, his family and their friends/neighbors. She is being discrimintated against. Husband should stand up for her not lay low like a coward. If not, then she has every right to defend herself to whomever thinks it is okay to speak that way.

    Second, while I wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Laura, she is RUDE! She has a god complex...even Howard Stearn makes great points sometimes, but when you have such a big mouth that you won't shut up long enough to let someone else speak, your obnoxious rudeness shadows your point. Dr. Laura needs to learn how to have a conversation – she may have good advice to give, but her effectiveness would be much greater if she used tact.

    ON THAT NOTE!!! The caller would obviously know this about Dr. Laura. Dr. Laura has always been this way and the caller is the one who put her business on the radio/call. She knows Dr. Laura is abrupt – all of us do. The caller knew the can of worms she was opening and just couldn't see the forest for the N word!

    Okay...advocate opinion is this. Ulitmately, the caller has a valid concern and she really could have used the advice she was getting, but because she heard ONE word her mind shut down. She wasn't being called a N-–. Dr. Laura simply stated the truth. (At work I actually called an african american woman's attention to the fact that her use of that word was offensive to me!) She needs to stand up for herself and take what she is given. Part of me can't stand listening to Dr. Laura because she is so obnoxious, but in this situation I'll have to agree with her.

    August 19, 2010 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. SFinSF

    To Jade: I know it is hard to be in a black/white marriage. I too am in a black/white marriage. I too have put up with terrible comments and humiliating treatment from my in-laws, friends, and even strangers who have passed us on the street. It's not easy. I've had many times where I have confronted my husband about how his family has behaved and have asked him why he doesn't he speak out about not accepting or tolerating such treatment of me, his wife. Many times. And I too, haven't always gotten the support and response from him that I have wanted. And yes, it has sometimes frustrated and hurt me to be married to him.
    However, I can tell you that I look to the quality of the marriage that exists between the two of us. When it's just us. How are we when we are together? How do we treat each other and love each other when it's just us. Does he love me and do I love him? Do we treat each other with kindness and respect? Do we cherish the true essence of each other?
    So, I try to keep things in perspective. I try to understand that it is not easy for either of us when we are pressed by external people about our choice. I understand we make some people uncomfortable, and some people act-out as a result of our being together. And yes, some family members would prefer for us to not be together and many have tried their best to break us apart.... simply because of the color of our skin. And that's their problem, not mine. It is up to me and my husband to keep these external forces from influencing and destroying our marriage.
    Jade, if you really love your husband and cherish your relationship together, please look to him with love and find in your heart the love that brought the two of you together in the first place. Pull from that strength and use it as glue to keep your relationship together..... even if he doesn't always behave the way you wish he did.

    August 19, 2010 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. Elly

    What bugs me the most is what Dr. Laura gets away with, with no accountability. She is a true hypocrite – she did not "choose wisely and treat kindly" with her first husband; they got divorced. According to Wikipedia, she has admitted to two extra-martial affairs. No wonder why she goes light on people that have extra-martial affairs and instantly blames the other spouse with "What did you do wrong?" Then she had an affair with a married man with three children!! (now her current husband) They lived together as an unmarried couple for 9 years. Can you say "shacking up?" She tears people apart now for this kind of behavior. If Wikipedia is a correct source, try looking her up on there. Interesting reading.....

    August 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Linda

    I think Dr Laura has lost it. She was talking in circles, not making any sense at all. She did the same thing on Larry King.
    Some radio talk show hosts do the same thing when they can't get their act together, they go after the messenger, not the message!

    August 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ontario-Dave

    Dr. Laura, has on several occasions shown poor judgment. She chooses to have no relationship with her mom, had an affair, took nude photos that ended up being published and yet finds herself qualified to tell her listeners how disfunctional they are. Now this. Her actions have proven that she has no credibility, time for her to fade into obscurity, it should have happened a few decades ago.

    August 19, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Humanbeing

    I think what Dr. Laura's initial premise is: ppl need to lighten-up! And reading thru all this is a great example! Do we as "citizens" of this planet really have nothing better to do than nit-pick each word/sentence/situation to death?! Are there more positive solution-finding energy's we could be spending our precious time on??? What's goin on with this world? Where is the compassion, understanding, and respect (etc. ad infinitum) in treating ourselves/therefore each other???? ~Perplexed human~

    August 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
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