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. Austinbaby

    I agree that Dr. Laura could have handled this in a different way but I am still going to miss her. I liked that she didn’t beat around the bush & try to appease everyone & sugar coat stuff. She obviously knows what she’s doing if she’s been on the air for this long but occasionally does get harsh & may hurt someone’s feelings, but I think it’s really to get people to look at things in a different way. Some of her callers are some of the dumbest/ignorant people I have heard (some aren’t) but when you say something that people aren’t used to hearing, it comes across as rude….and sometimes…it turns a light on upstairs...I just wish she had been a little more careful this time.

    That word is horrible, but it is still in our vocabulary. If one race is allowed to use it, then don’t be surprised if others do too. I live in the South. I am white, and I hate that word. It makes me very uncomfortable when I hear my 90 yr old grandma use it but that is how SHE was raised. I was raised around that word but I don’t use it. My grandmother did not raise me.

    Dr. Laura didn’t call that caller that word. She simply wanted to find out why it is ok for some races to use it & others not. I’m sorry that we are going to be loosing radio personality that is strong & makes you think about things in a different way. Thanks, all you super sensitive people out there. Way to censor!

    August 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Benny

    You know, those Romans took my Germanic forefathers as slaves 18 centuries ago. I still hate all Italians because of my suffering.

    August 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ujaydog

    I didn't know a jew or a catholic was a race sheesh!

    August 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Deb

    Come on now. It's time to get over the slavery. None of us here were even alive then, and I am tired of white people having to apologize for what happened back then! We all came from somewhere, and I'm sure some in my family were slaves way back when. Who the hell cares? Get over it and get on with it!

    August 18, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jen

    Good answer to Theory, Mark B! You sound like an intelligent person and I enjoyed your response to Theory. I have a friend who is half Filipina. She grew up in the Midwest and during the summers in the hot sun she got very, very dark skin. One little boy called her the "n" word during a game of dodgeball at school. She went home and asked her mom what that word meant. Her mom told her he was ignorant. The next day she told the little boy that he was inorgant (too young to even pronounce the word let alone understand it). But she remembers feeling the stab in her heart of that hateful comment. Ironically enough, when that little boy entered high school he was asking my friend out on dates. She said no, but noticed the change in his entire family towards her. Either they got some wisdom or she became very attractive.....probably both. And she wasn't even African-American! She told me the experience and a few others like it made her have an empathy toward people who are discriminated against solely on their skin color. She doesn't go in the sun much now that she's an adult cause it's not good for your skin and she has a light tan and feels like she relates to all races since she is half white, too. She says it's interesting being a mixed race person.....you understand both sides.

    August 18, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jenny

    The caller, not Dr. Laura, mentioned Obama first. Dr. Laura did not call anyone "n-". Rather, she was addressing the hypocrisy associated with that word. If anyone has listed to Dr. Laura, they would know that she doesn't just dole out advice. She asks leading questions to help the caller come to a reasonable conclusion. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I believe that this country is doing a disservice to blacks by allowing the slavery debate to continue. It's become the default argument when a white and black person do not see eye to eye. Instead of allowing blacks to stand up and take credit for all that they've accomplished, they keep getting weighed down by the past.

    August 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. robert miller

    If it is a good idea to outlaw certain words, perhaps we should outlaw certain concepts, as well... starting with "context".

    August 18, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ebystrom

      Yeah, maybe what we need is a little "thoughtcrime" legislation the state can use to root out unorthodoxy. We should make up a list of words and ideas that you not only can't say, but also can't think, under penalty of law.

      August 19, 2010 at 3:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. BWC

    I guess that black woman just can't get enough of the BWC. You know what they say: "once you go anglo, you don't want afro!"

    August 18, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jay-El

    ...Dr. Laura plays basketball?

    August 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SpkgUp

    I don't think Dr. Laura did or said anything wrong. She was trying to have a discussion with this woman about how the black people use the "n-word" and see nothing wrong with it, but when a white person uses the "n-word" all of a sudden it is the Civil War all over again. And as for the questions of her husband's white friends asking about how a black person feels about things, (although I think they are rather rude and insensitive), I don't think they meant any racism toward her. Her husband sounds like a jerk though.

    August 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Patty

    I don't say the n word for the same reason you didn't use the entire c-word in your post. Duh.

    August 18, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SDC63

    I don't think that it was used in a "racist" way. I do think that she was trying to stir/inflame the caller into saying something interesting though.

    Btw would it be ok to say that someone was a "typical black person". I wouldn't say that but do recall our President refer to his grandmother as a "typical white person". Not sure what he meant but he got a pass on it.

    August 18, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Coco

    So I read this line for line and Dr. Laura did not say n. in a derogatory fashion. People are hyper-sensitive these days. We can't even discuss the differences between people anymore. I was telling a friend how "African-American" (can't even say black anymore) people don't get burned like "white" people (how come that's ok?), he said that was a 'racist' comment.
    The rebuttal on the slavery comment above. The true facts of how Africans became slaves was other African tribes sold them. They were not kidnapped and stolen but sold by their own countrymen when one tribe defeated it's enemy tribe. That's a fact which is overlooked. It doesn't excuse the fact American slavery was wrong and inhumane, but slavery is a worldwide issue. It still exists for many (black, white and Asians alike) so it

    August 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. How God see's it...

    I think the following pretty much sums it all up:

    Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
    Proverbs 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. doc evans

    I'm curious, when an african is in Paris, does he want to be called "black"? If a person, perhaps a white person, is born in Niger or even in Nigeria, what is his nationality? I think the sillyness over the "N" word is just because the mass of people are so poorly educated. The N word wasn't an insult, just a description that has now morphed into an insult if the wrong person says it. I'm trying to think of any other words that are only offensive if the wrong group uses them. It would make an interesting dictionary.
    By the way, someone wrote that white people use it all the time. I'm white, I don't, but I have actually heard one white person use the N word within the lat 30 years or so. Guess I must live in polite society.

    August 18, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
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