Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My take on the Dr. Laura controversy

Before last week I had no idea what Dr. Laura Schlessinger was actually a doctor of, I just assumed she was a doctor in the same way Dr. Phil or Dr. Pepper was. Now I know she is a doctor af asinine logic and fake martyrdom. If you haven’t heard, the esteemed Dr. Laura was asked a question by a caller to her show and instead of using her platform to help as her call in line supposedly does, she uses it to open a pandora’s box that she can’t close. Here is the conversation in it’s entirety.

CALLER: Is it OK to say that word? Is it ever OK to say that word?
DR. LAURA: 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.
DR. LAURA: 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.
DR. LAURA: I didn't spew out the n***** word!
CALLER: You said "n*****, n*****, n*****" and I hope everybody heard it.
DR. LAURA: Yes they did, and I'll say it again: n*****, n*****, n***** is what you hear on HBO.
DR. LAURA: Why don't you let me finish a sentence? Don't take things out of context. Don't NAACP me, leave them in context.

The question the caller had was how should she convey to her white husband it offends her when he and his friends us the word nigger. What Dr. Laura did was use her platform to in my opinion maybe justify her own previously unaired use of the word. And when the caller who is clearly offended by the word from the get go is offended once more, she besmirches the name of an organization that has done a lot of good for the African American community and uses the flawed logic of “well if they can do it, I can do it.”

The debate over whether or not to use the word is a complicated one. I have been called out of my name before using the epithet in question and it Is downright dehumanizing. But I can see the point of those who say if you are going to try and degrade us, we will take the power out of the word by making it our own. But to go off on a tangent such as the one she did shows there was some residual bubbling under the surface for her. I’m not saying she’s a racist but perhaps an internal battle brewed inside her as to whether or not she should be allowed to say the word.
I also took offense to her just assuming all black guys refer to each with that same greeting. I tend to use the name of black friends instead of the Boyz in the the Hood era greetings in which she has unfairly put on all young men of color. Yes the statistics are sad regarding my demographic but the assumption we are all the same is unfair and cheapens the hard work we have done to become functioning members of society.

If her intent was to bring attention to the n-word debate, mission accomplished. But then she made an appearance on Larry King Live and one comment in particular after her announcement to leave her show at the end of her contract rubbed me the wrong way.

"The reason is I want to regain my First Amendment rights. I want to be able to say what's on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I'm sort of done with that."

Oh I get it! You are being denied your right to free speech. Wait…you were allowed to go on your rant. The first amendment does not mean you are exempt from any backlash that your statements may cause. My right as an American is to voice my disapproval with how you got your point across. It is anyone whose eyes may come across this to disagree with me on any forum the choose. That is the beauty of America. You can’t have your right to free speech and deny the people who disagree with you their right. That’s not how it works.

If I had my way the word would not be banished as if it were some leper, it would be learned about. The pain the word has caused must be remembered because if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them.

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