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. Karen

    What Dr. Laura said was horrible and her conduct was unacceptable. I hope she gets fired.

    August 13, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      Dr. Laura was rude, Yes. Dr. Laura sounded like Palin on steroids, Yes. Dr. Lauara uses her show as a platform to promote her own personal views first before helping her callers.Yes..

      Dr. Laura commited a criminal act. NO Dr. Laura deserves to be fired. NO...

      If you dont like what she has to say then just dont listen to her show...This is suppose to be a free county we live in. I love freedom of Speech and use that right quite often..(like right now)...and though I dont agree with your opinion You were able to say it, and I read it. And I dont think you should be raked over any coals for it....Awww sweet freedom, aint it grand!!...

      August 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • fudgecrapper

      that would be a dumb mistake to fire her over calling a spade a spade.

      August 13, 2010 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kitty Conrad

    It is very sad that racism is in fact worse now than it was before Obama. This was predictable. The core of the problem though is that nobody has any sense of reserve. Everybody now yells everything at everybody. We have too many talking heads, too many idiots and too many cable channels that foster widespread rudeness. Some of the rudeness would go away if we quit watching and listening to the rude loud idiots and, instead, walk around our neighborhoods and talk with our neighbors.

    August 13, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lythia

      Kitty, that is one of the most thoughtfull and intelligent comments I have read on the internet, and you are so right. And it applies not only to racism but the ugly divisiveness in general that is permeating this country right now. Why must everything be black or white, or in the case of politics, red or blue?

      August 13, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Why does everyone keep saying that racism is worse now that Obama is in office? I don't think that racism is worse; I think that people are just talking about race now where they not do it before. America has a racism problem. However, it's like having a case of aspiration pneumonitis... the symptoms indicate you are getting worse before you get better. We need to talk about it, recognize that certain behaviors are not conducive for progress, and then decide to make a change for the better. I believe in America and believe that we can do it though!

      August 13, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lythia

      I guess I should have made it more clear, I don't think racism has gotten worse since Obama was elected – I was agreeing that there is far too much rudeness and too many "loud rude idiots". The divisiveness I refer to makes it difficult to have reasonable discussions, and the talking heads are making a living off it!

      August 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Caroline

    Dr Laura is a perfect example of someone who's fame has gone to her head, and I guess we all let it happen. Racism will be alive and well in America as long as people as ignorant and arrogant as her are allowed to continue talking. I feel bad for Jade, on the hand, why would anyone stay married to someone who obviously has no respect for her.

    August 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Georgia44

      I don't care for Dr. Laura and disagree with most of what she has to say. HOWEVER I have to agree about the N word. The blacks are what keep the discrimination going, not the whites. I get so tired of hearing how bad you guys have had it. Most of you weren't arround during the slavery and , the jews had it a whole lot worse but you don't hear them complaining about being called names. you have an easier time getting funding for college, funding for housing and I could go on and on..so please, spare me the crying over spilled milk and get on with your life. I am sick of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson also. They have both been caught doing things illegally. Their word means nothing to me, not anymore than some white politicians. I am a white lady from Ga who lives in CA. I have seen the way the south treated the blacks in the OLD days back in the 50s, I remember when the blacks started rioting and standing up for what was right. Those people were good, you didn't hear all of this BS out of there mouths. They did what they did for freedom and they got the freedom, the colleges they wanted and the placecs they wanted to live. The ones who are still living in the past are the ones who are enjoying living on the white man's dime. Sorry, I had to say that..actually, they are also living on their black men's dime also, the one's who have made something of themselves and work and don't get into this crap. Have some class and move on, get over yourself.......Dr. Laura should leave the radio, not because of the N word, but, because she really gives bad advice and she also cuts people off..she's quite annoying in many other ways...

      August 19, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. ProudCanadian

    If that word is so offensive to blacks they should have thought twice about using it. No matter how much they try to explain the use of that word amongst themselves, it just does not make sense.

    I thank God everyday that I live in Canada where people respect each other no matter what race one belongs!!!!! Yes there is racism whereever you go, but I pray every day that it never gets to this level in Canada. The comments here reflect the pervasive animosity between blacks and whites.

    God bless America indeed!

    August 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • fudgecrapper

      I would rather have it the way you speak of, but I have age and experience and know that things will not change. This president is a one termer for sure, I will add. Something very drastic in the way of all that change that he promised would have to happen between now and the next election. I just don't see that happening!

      August 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • fudgecrapper

      furthermore, he could not get re-elected if he ran EITHER BILL or HILLARY as his VP next time either...and that is EITHER of them by the way. Maybe if he ran with a running mate such as George Clooney, dummies in the US would give Obama and Clooney a TRY. But the Clinton's have had their day. To elect Obama and Hillary would be stupid, as SHE would REALLY be the president and Oboza would never put up with that!

      August 13, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cindy

    I dont think the "N" word is racist!..how ever I do think how the "N" word is used can be racist but so can ANY word depending on how it is said and in what context it is used.

    If a non-black person has to be dragged over the coals and punished each time they utter the "N" word in public or on a radio or talk show. Then dont stop there, Out law the word period and lets punish EVERYONE OF EVERY COLOR that uses the word. And be done with this sillyness once and for all!

    August 13, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • SallyGh

      Hallelujah, thank you.

      If saying the n word is going to become an international issue anytime any person of another race says it, then get rid of it. Americans are really frustrating a lot of people with this issue. You easily take offense. I agree with Cindy, outlaw the word completely. Look this world has greater issues like global warming, hunger, war, and terrorism to deal with. I'm African and I read this and I can't believe all of you.

      Get rid of that word and let's focus on the important stuff. To all black people, if you don't want anyone of a different race to use the N word, then don't use it yourselves. It defies logic to be offended by something that you are encouraging

      August 13, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Izmir Ted

      If a European American or Asian American etc. use the N word it's wrong, but in America if an African American uses it it's OK. Just another example of the double standard, like "affirmative action" (i.e.reverse discrimination). Or having a half-white President be automatically referred to as black.
      By the way, I always wonder what a white African in the US thinks about the term "African American" ???

      August 14, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Smoovplayer

      Cindy, your prosposal is an honorable one. Our freedom of speech-amendment allows us to use any word we choose, even if it is not in our best interest to do so. If we were to make the word illegal to use, there'd be a lot of folks out of a job and we all would have to find another soapbox to climb upon to spew our rants. Our freedom means that we can uplift ourselves or hang ourselves. Hey, there's a joke or racist comment in there somewhere?! For all the hypersensitives out there, see if you can pick it out. It's like finding Waldo in one of those busy colorful pictures. Enjoy.

      August 19, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rick

    Dr Laura is right. When Obama was elected the blacks were dancing in the streets. We are going to get free cars and free houses and everything the white people have. This is not how I got my house and car. This whole thing stinks of double standards. Us guys can't use the "C" word with women, but you don't hear other women calling each other the "C" word everyday on HBO and other TV shows. If you want the whites to stop using it, the blacks better start setting the example!

    August 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      When Obama was elected, there were many more white people dancing in the streets than blacks. I don't think it is true that blacks thought that Obama would give them free merchandise. I think that most black people believe that they need to work for what they want as much as their white counterparts. It disturbs me that there are so many people that believe that blacks are so different. I don't think that blacks are some "alien race" with all these different motivations than any of us. I don't understand why you see skin color and associate so many other differences with it.

      August 13, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Izmir Ted

      Brian: the cop-out is to say it's "skin color" but the differences are much deeper than that, either race knows this instinctively, that's why there is racism in the first place because you instinctively know the other person is somehow fundamentally different. Look up the definition of "race", it means a different group within the human species. The trick is to overcome that instinct and try to treat everyone the same, regardless of what race you are yourself. Good Luck.
      Another subject:
      If whites were dancing in the streets when Obama was elected, I suspect it was because the final barrier has been broken down, there's a Black Man (half actually) at the highest level of society. Now we can finally drop race as an issue and move on to other things. What I don't understand is why Obama hasn't gotten rid of Affirmative Action yet, that should have been the first thing he did. A lot of corporations don't hire using that reverse discrimination filter anymore. Thankfully it's no longer needed.

      August 14, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      You are right. I will admit that Dr. Laura could've presented the material a different way, but the point is that the double standard does need to stop. I hear the N-word used all the time by blacks where I live, but heaven forbid I use it, as a white person. The moment I do, I am sought after like public enemy number one. Dr. Laura was just trying to make a point abot the double standard between the two races and yet no one bothers to even care about that. I think that before you start trying to clean someone else's backyard, you need to do the same to your own.

      August 20, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. Eva

    Dr. Laura has trouble listening to her clients, her customers, the reason she's on the air. Instead of listening and trying to empathize with the caller, she chose to spill out her own perception of reality – which showed a biased viewpoint. In the end she did not help and instead harmed. Is that what the purpose of the show is – to make people feel more isolated and ignored than they already feel? It's sad.

    August 13, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nkelly

      Don't you get it? Dr. Laura has gained points by stirring up controversy. Her bosses love it and urge it into it every day. She won! Just a silly thing and people all over are getting into a stir about it. That's money in her pocket.
      Not yours. Not mine. HERS!

      August 15, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MIKE

    It's the mess created by the liberal "politically correct" crowd. My experience for several years, has been that blacks are far more prejudice than whites (or latinos). Blacks have also learned a very good trick which Rangel and Walters are now using. If whites do ANYTHING blacks do not agree with, they are racist. It really doesn't leave much room for discussion because whites (and probably latinos but they are also guilty of using the race card sometimes) are terrified that if they object to anything blacks do which might be criminal or corrupt, out comes the "You're a racist!" shouts.

    Take a look tv. For a 12% minority, they sure get a lot of air time on tv. Hardly an example of whites keeping them down. Of course, again the mess created by the "politically correct" crowd, we get this constant barrage of hype about successful blacks to the point where many white (or latino) children feel that blacks are superior and they are inferior. Maybe we need to see more programs showing the prison population(s) where blacks make up something like 40% of the prison population....but of course they are in their because of racism.

    August 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Wow, you’ve had a tough set of experiences. My experience has been that the various races are not that different once you bypass skin color. I have not seen a conspiracy by blacks to label people as racists. I have seen America go ask the opinion of a selected few African-Americans who they know give the same opinions and judgments over and over again. However, if you ask most African-Americans if those selected few speak for the entire race, they will readily refute that assertion. Maybe we should talk to a different set of African-Americans.

      August 13, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grant

      The core problem here is DOUBLE STANDARDS. They are tearing us apart. A candidate that speaks to this issue could win next time–maybe. I hope. Joe Brown For President. No More Double Standards.

      August 18, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Elizabeth

    As a professional person Dr. Laura should have known before the word was uttered out of her mouth that to the majority of her listners that the N-word would be offensive. She would think twice before using any other vulgar words that would be offensive to her audience and for whatever reason chose not to stop and think. The person that she owes the greatest apology to is 'Jade', whom she failed to respond to in a professional manner. As far as the comments I have read on this blog – it goes to show we have a longggg way to go.

    August 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • rachel

      C'mon Elizabeth, we have a long way to go? Maybe with our school system and hoew it graduates people who can't comprehend their native tongue.

      I don't like Dr. Laura, but if you read the transcripts you would clearly see that she was DESCRIBING a situation, not CALLING someone a name.

      Huked on fonex!

      August 13, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. elvira

    She's always rude. That's her schtick. But she's also right about 99.999 percent of the time. She hits the nail on the head and it can get uncomfortable. As for this topic, if I heard it live, I'd cringe for about 8 seconds and roll my eyes and move on. Life is too short to debate this. She regrets it and now we know to speak about race even less. Great. Now let's move along shall we.

    August 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hans van Wijk

    Dr. Schlessinger? ROTJODIN!

    August 13, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. KD

    I thought it was rich that she told the caller to stop interrupting her when she didn't seem to let the caller finish a single sentence! And yes, I thought she was incredibly rude and was incorrect in her assessment that the caller was "hypersensitive." Regardless of what has happened in the black younger community, with that epithet commonly used among them, when a white person says it, it carries decades, if not centuries of connotation. Its use is unpleasant and unnecessary.

    August 13, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jefferson

    i had never heard of dr? laura until today. i find the n-word offensive no matter who says it.to prohibit one group from any activity while allowing another group to do it is as unamerican as it gets.to say i can use the word because of the color of my skin and saying another cannot use it because of the color of their skin is obviously racist. if we are serious about combating racism all ethnic communities must educate everyone not to use any of these slurrs.i beleive anyone who uses the n-word(and i mean anyone) is a racist whether you realize it or not. i do not agree with the fake dr. any more than i agree with the caller. it shouldnt matter what color my skin is,but im sure it will to a lot of folks, so im white.god bless everyone(no exceptions,please). jefferson williams

    August 13, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rachel

    Maybe we all need to clean out our ears. SHE DESCRIBED A SITUATION. She did not call anyone a name. I don't even care for her, but let's stick with the issue and quit the witch hunt already.

    August 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nav

    The United States in my opinion has become more racially divided since the 2008 election. We have taken several steps backwards in race relations which is a total shame. This would not have been a big deal in 2007!!!! Good luck USA...

    August 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
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