Position Briefs

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good riddance, Doctor Laura

It may not be very big of me, to celebrate the absolute laying low of another person, the complete destruction of a career, one that is ending in utter disgrace, but what happened this week to “Doctor” Laura Schlessinger couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person. Well, OK, maybe that’s not true… seeing as how Schlessinger is a has-been that hasn’t been politically relevant since the early 1990’s, I suppose I’d have rather it had be Rush Limbaugh, Mike Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Ann Coulter… but I’ll take what I can get. One down, too many to count to go. Goodbye Laura, and good riddance to bad garbage

OK. Glad I got that out of the way. I said some other nasty things about her on MMFA (and you can hear the audio's of her over there) when the news first broke. Bottom line: I’ve never liked her. I’ve always found her to be mean spirited, bigoted and a religious nut – especially on issues related to sexuality and sexual orientation – and most importantly, at least to me, a screaming, FLAMING HYPOCRITE. Consider this: I call my mother AT LEAST once a week, and usually every couple of days. This great preacher of “family values” hadn’t spoken to her mother for 20 years prior to her death in 2002! I don’t need to hear someone preaching to me about “family values” who’s been estranged from her mother for 20 years, anymore than I do from someone who is thrice divorced with no kids!

*Exhale*

OK, rant over. Thanks for letting me get that out of my system. What I really wanted to do was share some of the comments that I left on MMFA about the racial controversy in general. I hadn’t started out trying to write anything profound, but they got a tremendously positive response, so I’d like to share them with everyone else as well, see what y’all think about it. (The following paraphrases several comments, but primarily comes from THIS ONE.)

The media has largely focused on the fact that she actually said the word, “Nigger.” (Like… eight times in a row!) And this is a shameful (and conservatively biased) ploy on the part of the media. Because in reality, saying, "nigger" was the LEAST of the problems with he broadcast that day, as well as her career, show and political philosophy in general!

Because the WORD isn't the problem. SHE IS. And focusing on the word whitewashes the fact that she felt it was the CALLER who had a hypersensitivity problem, as opposed to realizing that it was the caller’s husband's friends who had an IGNORANCE problem, and who showed a profound LACK of sensitivity. THIS is the REAL PROBLEM. She went so far as to tell the caller that if she was so sensitive about race issues that maybe she shouldn’t have married outside her rice! WTF is up with that?! When someone asks someone else (who's black) "Do black people like [something]?" and thinks that's an appropriate substitute for "Do YOU like something]?" It's racist! PERIOD. But the “Doctor” is apparently too ignorant, too stupid, too racist and way, way, WAAAAY to ARROGANT to ever realize this.

And while it may be a gross generalization on my part, Liberals aren't the ones who, when talking to a black person, lump them into the larger group. That IS however something that I see Conservatives do ALL THE TIME - such as Dr. Laura, Limbaugh, Savage, Beck, etc... Time and time again white people are just people, but black people are black people first. And this is inherently racist, even if you harbor no conscious ill will toward the group! Because it dehumanizes – de-INDIVIDUALIZES – the person, diminishing them to being just a token representative of a group. And that’s why I say that this focus on the word “nigger” is not only unfortunate, but conservatively biased. Because Conservatives seem to think that the have to actually HATE the group in order to be racist. That somehow, as long as you don’t CALL someone a “nigger” you can’t be saying something, or thinking something racist.

But it’s not about HATING the group. Actual, conscious hate is NOT at all required: Viewing someone as the member of a sub-group FIRST and an individual human being, fully deserving of respect, dignity and validation SECOND, is inherently racist (or bigoted in the case of religion, sexuality, etc…) even if you don’t harbor – or don’t THINK you harbor – any ill will towards the group.

As for the word itself? Personally, I refuse to say "n-word." The word is "nigger." We’re all adults here, and we should be putting it on a pedestal like that. But it's a word that should be treated the same way that PEOPLE should treated: With RESPECT. It has a long, sordid history and context matters. Black people can say it. That’s perfectly OK. Given the history of white's behavior, I'm happy to let them own it - to let them emasculate it by treating it like a term of endearment even. I don’t care. For my part, I have and would never call someone one, nor would I (or have I) ever refer to someone as one. Nor do I choose to deal with people as "blacks" as opposed to PEOPLE. INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE. And that's why I - and most liberals - can get a pass for merely SAYING the word. Because in the context of a frank discussion about race, we have a tendency to remember the history, and understand and VALIDATE the other person's feelings. But people like “Doctor” Laura, who generally tend blame the victims, demonstrating that, for all their polite-sounding diction, they really haven't evolved their thinking beyond the segregation-era, generally DON’T. They might not CALL someone a “nigger,” but they also have not demonstrated sufficient understand to be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to context.

I think Keith Olbermann was right about what she was REALLY saying when she said that she that Obama's election signaling the end of racism, that we’ve moved beyond it. It's the same old question that came for Civil Right Act, The Voting Right Act, Brown v Board of Education, etc...: "Haven't we done enough for you people?"

And the answer (to those who would ask this) is, "NO." NO. Not until you stop treating people who you can categorize into subgroups as token representatives of that subgroup and start dealing with every person as an individual. And what’s more, an individual worthy of respect, dignity and validation! And definitely not until you realize that, when it comes to race, white people CAN, in fact, do wrong. That not ALL racism exists solely in the imaginations of black people, and Schlessinger is living proof of this, whether she realizes it or not.

Obama’s election was NEVER evidence that racism was gone. In fact, it’s brought out every last, ugly bit of evidence out there that racism is still alive and well. It’s not the SAME, obviously – we don’t go around CALLING people “niggers” anymore – but like any strong organism, it’s EVOLVED. It’s evolved to remain hidden and preserve itself in our viewpoints and our discourse.

President Obama, our first Black President, means the end of racism? It would be closer to the truth to say that more people have apparently taken it as a signal that racism is somehow OK to bring back out into the open again.

7 comments:

  1. It's really sad that your commentary is so on the money - it's terribly distressing that so many don't understand that it's not okay to discriminate against any group.

    You nailed it. Thanks for your contributions.

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  2. I had never really heard of Dr. Laura before this controversy. I really was pretty offended by her quotes, though, and it had nothing to do with her racial epithets.

    It was that when this lady called her, (for whatever reason... I'm not sure why someone would actually call her and expect help..) and summarized her problem in the first couple sentences, Laura had already diagnosed the problem... "oversensitivity."

    I'm also offended by her transition from apologetic, to basically retracting the apology, to essentially saying "THEY should apologize to ME." But we all know where she's aiming when she says "I'm quitting radio, but I'm not retired. Wink wink. Fox News. Wink."

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  3. It was also offensive for Dr. C-bag to immediately go to the Obama rant when that wasn't the topic. She went after the poor caller from so many angles before the woman could really get her question finished. She wanted to know how to handle insensitive questions and her husband's non-response. Goodbye and good riddance, indeed.

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  4. Now if only we could get Limbaugh to break down and go on a race rant. Maybe we'd be rid of him, as well. You know he's itching to do it, too.

    Although, I can't imagine why any black person with half a brain (or any PERSON with half a brain, for that matter. ZING!) would listen to his show for anything but "the lulz".

    Anyway, great post as always, Eddie.

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  5. "Dr." Laura is a monster and has always been a monster. "Good riddance" is the kindest possible sentiment to offer her departure from public discourse.

    I'm with you on all this "n-word" nonsense, too, Eddie. Every time I hear someone say "n-word," I feel the nerve impulses that set the eyes to rolling begin to fire, and have to restrain them.

    Besides, we have enough problems with word usage; as everyone knows, the biggest controversy in the U.S. right now is Cosmo's cover-story about unshaven female pubic hair. Not their contention that this is coming back in style, but rather the propriety of their use of a silly word like "Va-jay-jay" on their cover. Very important cultural stuff.

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  6. I also had never listened to this woman's show before, although I had heard of her. In listening to this segment, I had to ask (with Dradeeus) why anyone seeking help would call this woman. "Dr." Laura displayed all the empathy and analytical skills shown by the ex-DI who plays a shrink in that Geico commercial. Why would anyone subject themselves to this? It's clear that the microphone gives the good "Dr." more power than her character can deal with. Good riddance indeed.

    I also agree, Eddie, that her use of the word is the least heinous part of her diatribe, although it is used in an overly aggressive and vicious tone. Her argument is one I heard from some "I'm not a racist, BUT..." types during the Civil Rights movement. "Why would these people want to sit where they're not wanted?" Absolutely disgusting.

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  7. @DellDolly - Thank YOU.

    @Dradeeus - Yeah, you weren't missing much. And is there a single conservative out there who can resist that very "transformation?" It's like they re-discover their basic humanity for a brief, shining moment and then immediately go back to being their typical, nasty selves.

    @Sammy - I hadn't listened to her show in like, probably 15 years, and 'blame the caller' was pretty much her shtick back then too.

    @MetalMatt - Unfortunately, Limbaugh's too smart for that. He's an asshole, yes, but he KNOWS HIS JOB. And he'll stop just before saying [whatever it would take] to lose it. He has the bigotry of the market gauged down to a nanospec. He'll go as far as he possibly can (which, sadly, is pretty far) but stop just short of crossing the point of no return.

    @ClassicLiberal - I don't use the word very often myself, but you're absolutely right: She IS a "monster." And I have to say that this has been applicable for LONG before this latest tirade of hers. BTW... I totally hear you, RE the namby-pamby language we use these days, but I'll concede the one point to Cosmo: probably the only mag that can get away with having vagina on the cover is Hustler. ;) (Now, as to the societal value of talking about pubic hair...? Well... it IS Cosmo!)

    @Conchobhar - Like I said to Drad: You weren't missing much. I can only assume that the caller was sent to her show by a friend (possibly one of her husband's) and wasn't all that familiar with the show, or its host, herself. This is not the first time the good "doctor" has done something like this. It's just the first time anyone noticed. I love the comparison to R.Lee Ermey, BTW. That's pretty much it, isn't it? All she'd have to do is SHOUT.

    Thank you all for your comments.

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