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.

SCHLESSINGER: Hi.

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.

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 "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?

CALLER: OK.

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. NobodysAngel80

    I think this is a classic case of "right thought, wrong verbalization". The point that Dr. Laura was trying to get across is valid, for black, white, hispanic, everyone. It seems as though every person wants to complain about how they're being discriminated against, how it's always their fault. There are stereotypes about every ethnicity in the world. ex. Irish are all drunks, Germans are all Nazis, Asians can't drive, latinos are a) lazy, or b) taking all our jobs (not quite sure how that exactly works out, since the two seem pretty much mutually exclusive...hmm..) Everyone's got something about them ethnically or religiously or culturally that someone else can talk badly about. And whether people want to hear it or not, interracial marriages do face a lot more problems, as to biracial children. If you don't believe me, ask any person of biracial background or in an interracial relationship.

    Go on, I'll wait.

    I think that my only real problem with what Dr. Laura said is that she forgot to do what a person giving advice to another person should do, and that's "speak the truth with love." Don't go on a rant and deliberately try to get someone angry, don't use words that you know are offensive for shock factor. Just be truthful and honest in as tactful a way as possible. It's true that you do hear inappropriate words on TV and in movies and in music and on the bus to and from work every day and the school yard and the breakroom at work. It's a fact of life. Labels, and words in general, only have as much power as you allow them to have over you. That's what I believe Dr. Laura should have said.

    August 19, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gomzy

    Guys .. stop this hammering..
    poor lady Laura.. and poor lady the Caller.– Ms Jade. Both are equal on their arguments.. Ms Jade got offended out of the frustation from her relationship she has with the relatives and friends of her husband. Note.. Even Laura should have been sensible in handling this issue.

    but partly I agree with Laura's aggrement.. Why do the people on whom the word n is used, still think it to be racial even when you are out of that generation.. at times you see the odd behaviour of the melanin less people behaving with an intent of insulting the people, I have experienced it couple of time in my stay in US for the past 6 years.. but what Dr. Laura said is partly true.. take things in the way they should have been taken. just for the reason of a melanin less person using the word to describe the melanin excessive ness is completely foolish

    and more over Dr. L was refering to N word while refering to HBO and people who use it and the context it is used in.
    most of the people here above really do not have the skills to comprehend the transcript.( be it vocal/text) Though being proud of american english.. you need to improve your skills in English ( even the immigrants do..)
    just understand what people say.. and how they say..
    One sincere suggestion to every one.. be it white or black or a blend of it ( brown).. be careful about what you utter... if some one utters something in a way thats no acceptable
    here the case b/w laura and Jade is wrong things done at wrong time.. and wrong place...

    August 19, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jack

    The radio jock and frankly most white people miss the real point. It's all about race, and that may never end. Only the whites keep thinking that "everyone is the same, regardless of skin color". They also think, "everyone would be just like us, if they just had the chance". They miss the reality of race, ethnicity, culture and true diversity. The other races recognize the differences between the races, and don't mind constant warfare between races, tribes, cultures etc. They feel it is normal. The Asians, Africans, Arabs and jews have fought on these terms forever, and have no intention of changing. Only the whites pursue the misguided utopia of racial "sameness". I often am amused at white people thinking how "we are all the same", then telling everyone to "celebrate diversity". It's always been all about race, and always will be. Ask the NAACP, are they dissolving since we've got a black president? Not hardly, they're race just got much more powerful. Equality be damned.

    August 19, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. opinionate

    Obviously Dr. Laura was taking the converstaion into politics instead of what it should have been – relationships. Dr. Laura is right that the use of the N word depends on the usage. You can lovingly and jokingly say someone is "stupid" or you can really mean it. The same goes for the N word.

    I am not black or white. I am of Asian ethnicity. If people want to stop other people from using a specific word, you got to quit using it yourself so you can make it clear that that word is not acceptable. Rules are easier to follow when everyone abides by them.

    August 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aaron

    How many of the people calling themselves African Americans even know of a relative anywhere in thier bloodline from Africa? Doesn't anyone think it's time for us to fully accept each other as Americans and quit labeling, and looking for ways to divide us into groups further. If we can all just realize we are in this together than what difference would words we said to each other make. Acting like the word never existed is c ompletely retarded and making an issue out of its use is just as fruitless. How about maybe we concentrate our energies on a topic that number 1: is solvable number 2: actually produces an outcome that is beneficial to all. Hate to sound insensitive but LET IT GO! Its been almost 200 years time to get over it! White people have been slaves too. If you want to get technical Egyptian would have been considered African and if they had jewish slaves than doesnt that mean the black man enslaved the white man too?

    August 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Samantha

    At some point in this "Jade" needs to decide what it is that she wants for having her feelings hurt. The woman is done on the radio, she apologized, and "Jade" says she doesn't accept it. What is it then that she wants? If someone offends you, but does apologize, you have a choice to receive the apology or deny it, but if that is not the resolution that is required then it needs to be established what exactly "Jade" wants at the end of this. Meanwhile I get my feelings hurt all the time, my son gets called the "N" word at school, and I teach him that LOVE is the color of water... clear. We all bleed the same color, and nobody can hurt you unless they touch you. I also tell him that it is not what we are called but what we answer to. I feel sorry for both of the women in this situation, but being the better person means giving the forgiveness that she will one day need to receive!

    August 19, 2010 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Studydown

    I don't understand why the caller thought Dr Laura would be helpful and understanding of her situation in any way. One thing's for sure. I bet all the friends and family of the caller's husband won't be using that word at their house anymore.

    August 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. terriasher

    I thought they put pit bulls down when they got into fights...Dr. Laura is the pit bull

    August 19, 2010 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Norm

    To be honest, nobody should really be using *N* at all. White, black, yellow, brown. Did she really have a party with 35 people and had her black bodyguard there? Did I read that right? Why would you need a bodyguard at a personal gathering of friends? IDK, maybe because you say stupid things on radio programs heard across the country. I am not impressed. I don't think Dr. Laura is a racist. I think she's just an idiot.

    August 20, 2010 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. solution1

    to answer the question why its ok for blacks to call each other the n word and it seems to be accepted by blacks but when it comes from a white persons mouth it carries a daggering derrogatory intent. first of all the word was selected by whites ages ago before 95% of us in this disscusion before our time right? so we will never know from either side the real damage it use to carry but obvioustly it was pretty severe to still cause so much hate to rise right back up in all of us.and for blacks to still use it among ourselves has to be dead wrong even more so than whites using it so what that tells me is that word is so hated by the black race that the only way we can control it is by owning it ourselves change the meaning,use it for comedy,deflate it so to speak as only we could do or want to. just my opinion being black my self and hate the word but find it coming out of my mouth ocassionaly myself shows me that we as a people will probaly never stop saying it because to us it will never mean never what it use to.

    August 20, 2010 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  11. maryellen432

    I don't know that Dr. Laura was necessarily racist so much as she was rude and stupid. And I love how she accused the caller of never letting her finish a sentence while interrupting the woman every time she opened her mouth! If she'd been LISTENING, she might have noticed that the caller never actually said it was okay for black comedians to use the n-word. We don't really know what the caller thinks of that, because Dr. Laura never let her tell us. Instead, she put words into her mouth and then proceeded to argue with statements the caller never even made. Too bad; it might have been an interesting discussion.

    August 20, 2010 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. Don Mitchell

    Yet again I am so incredibly happy to be Canadian...this whole story is just so very typical of what is still so very wrong in America. "Dr. Laura", Ann Coulter <>, Dick Cheney <>, The Jerry Springer Show, Jersey Shore, Sarah "Refudiate" Palin, "Rummy" Rumsfelld, John "Permatan" Boehner.....this list goes on and on. The comments posted here are indicitave that there are still alot of problems in the good old U.S.of A. Yet, you have so much to be proud of. Top of the list?!? President Obama. Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Sean Penn, Jim Lehrer, Charlie Rose, Barney Frank, Jon Stewart......it's just so sad that the extremists and whack-jobs garner all the attention. When Barack Obama won the election, we danced in the streets here. And yet, two years later polls are showing that more people think he's a Muslim?!?!?!? C'mon people...your credibility is already shaky...get your act together. He's an American citizen and he's a Christian...period. And after the HORRORS of the Bush/Cheney years he's the best thing that's happened to your country in a long, long time. Possibly ever. When was the last time you heard the term "waterboarding"?!?!? Don't forget just what "Dubya" and his nefarious cabal did to America...damage that is still being undone to this day. "Dr." Laura et al are just reminders of that shameful period in your history. Shameful..and if there truly were real justice, Cheney and others would be on trial for Crimes Against Humanity. Meanwhile, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Talk about polar opposites.

    August 20, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Supacat

    Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words WILL hurt you.

    It doesn't matter what derogatory word is used, and by whom. If it is intended to hurt it will. The situation is that no one wants to take responsibility for his/her actions. blame it on someone else. Let the other person accept the responsibility for my actions. We all as a nation need to be sensitive to each others plight, no matter what ethnic group you belong to. But I must say some of you on here haven't got a clue.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Off-White Guy

    Laura wasn't listening much in this conversation. Seems like she and much of America are not really listening on many conversations. Everyone wants to state some opinion; few want to listen and learn.

    August 22, 2010 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. fooloof

    white people have everything already: money, education, standard of living, etc. now y'all want the N-word, too!

    that's the real issue. whites are mad because it's okay for us to say it, but not them. Ok, you guys can say it. Happy now?

    October 5, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
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