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 anĀ apology posted on her blog, Schlessinger acknowledged she "did the wrong thing"Ā in using the N-word several times during a conversation with a caller on Tuesday. TheĀ 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, Iām 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 -Ā good example -Ā 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 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?
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.
Can we ALL TOGETHER abolish the use of any racial slurs? We all know that it is derogatory to the race, so why do we have to continue to use it? The meaning of the word portrays a negative picture of my race. Yes, some African Americans use the word as a part of their everyday speech, that doesnāt make it right. Yes, some may say that we use it to find solidarity within our race and reclaim the things that were taken away, yet this is a display of negativity that we are reciprocating in our culture. We should all have that mentality that we have to create change, efforts to end racism, in our society. Nobody said that it will be an overnight thing, but that doesnāt have to discourage us from trying. The word affects us all and our relationships with one another. Even though there are claims of the word being empowering, that shouldnāt be a word that I would want to be labeled as. It continues to separate us from other races and separate us within our race. It continues to make a standard, a stereotype, objectified in our society. How does that display growth? How does that display compassion and understanding?
Dr. Laura should not have used that word or disrespect the caller in any way. She knows very well that that word holds a lot of weight in our society. Although her examples are valid, her impact was a lot worse. I am not defending her, encouraging the use of the word, or saying āitās okay for only blacks to use the wordā. I am saying that the word is not uplifting to anyone and things need to change. Letās move forward.