Soapbox Sunday: Dr. Laura Edition

By now you’ve probably become aware of the incident between Dr. Laura Schlessinger and a caller to her radio show. Unfortunately, much of the narrative in the mainstream media seems to focus on her use of the “N-word” while glossing over the other offensive elements of her rant. Yes, her use of the “N-word” was offensive, regardless of the context in which she assumed she was using it, and she should be called to task for it. However, she had no right to accuse a person of color of being “hypersensitive” toward racism. She had no right to presume that she was a better judge of racism than the person of color who was experiencing it. She had no right to outright dismiss this caller on the basis of her (the caller’s) race. I could go on, but I’ll sum up the rest by stating that she was failing Racism 101 in a hardcore way.

The sad thing is that Dr. Laura is not the first person to espouse those views publicly and I doubt she’ll be the last. I also doubt she’ll receive any significant sanctions over her behavior. I’ve personally encountered her type of thinking. I’ve been treated as less than equal by those who think this way. I’m “lucky” that I only suffered hurt, humiliation, and a hard-to-shake, mild anxiety while shopping because of those encounters but far too many others have suffered worse. And because this type of thinking still exists, I have to somehow prepare my son, a child of color, to be wary of this world without damaging him in the process. But according to Dr. Laura, that would mean I’m “hypersensitive” and that I engage in “black think.” Unfortunately, I think that instead of this incident leading to a mainstream deeper reflection on race in the US, it will be forgotten in a few weeks and go down in history as “that time Dr. Laura said the N-word on air.” Hell, we’d already forgotten her attacks on the LGBT community.

So, I dedicate this edition of Soapbox Sunday to Dr. Laura and those of her ilk. May they learn the errors of their ways (but I won’t hold my breath).

Renee at Womanist Musings gives her take on the incident.

Danielle at The Black Snob explains, hilariously, (for those like Dr. Laura who are confused) why using the N-word is not appropriate.

Countdown with Keith Olbermann votes Dr. Laura as Worst Person.

Arwyn at Raising My Boychick sums up the fact that Race Affects Everyone.

Tamara Winfrey Harris notes on Change.org What “So Ghetto” Really Means.

As always, feel free to share the links that made you think this week.

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Posted on August 15, 2010, in I'm a brown mama, My soapbox, Soapbox Sunday and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. And because this type of thinking still exists, I have to somehow prepare my son, a child of color, to be wary of this world without damaging him in the process.

    This is a painful reality. To put it bluntly, until more whites are ready to do better re: antiracist work, progress will be slow and arduous. Dr. Laura showed her true self. I was not surprised. What saddens me is how so many other whites basically hold the same beliefs and just talk into their shirt cuff and silently nod at her words.

    (White) people often say they want to have an “honest discussion about race” but apparently they don’t want to hear what a few people like Laura’s caller Jade have to say.

    Thanks for the link round-up.

  2. is it my imagination that these types of “incidents” in the media seem to be happening way more often? it’s like the carefully screwed on lid is blowing off the geyser! anyone with a big mouth and a mic can spew their prejudice bile over the airwaves and in print without any real repercussions (Don Imus, Mel Gibson, Andrew Breitbart). I worry about the message this is sending to children of color…your feelings don’t matter

  1. Pingback: Soapbox Sunday: Mixed Bag Edition « Navelgazing

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