Radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced on CNN’s Larry King Live last night that she was ending her long-running talk show after getting caught in a wringer over her use of the “N-word” repeatedly on the air last week.
For those of you who have been under a rock, she got caught up in the midst of trying to talk to a caller who is part of an interracial couple about slurs and whether it’s okay to use the word.
Here, for those who missed it, is the entire transcript of the interaction from her show:
SCHLESSINGER: Jade, welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hi, Dr. Laura.
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 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 —
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 nigger, nigger, nigger.
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.
After the commercial break, Schlessinger and the caller continued their conversation:
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 [unintelligible] —
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, because 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 [unintelligible]
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 “nigger”?
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’s — 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 “nigger” word, and I hope everybody heard it.
SCHLESSINGER: I didn’t spew out the “nigger” word.
CALLER: You said, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.”
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: — nigger, nigger, nigger is what you hear on HB —
CALLER: So what makes it —
SCHLESSINGER: Why don’t you let me finish a sentence?
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 distressting [sic] 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 “nigger, nigger, nigger.” I didn’t call anybody a nigger. 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 — 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 or righteousness to do good — that should be the greatest power.
I hear from folks all the time that because “you people use it, so it can’t be that bad.”
First off, I don’t use the word as a matter of course. I don’t condone use of the word. By anyone. There’s no reason that someone should use the word, in any context.
The use of the word — by anyone — is nothing short of an insult to their mindset and their stature in this nation. Too many people, no matter their political stripe, insist that they have a “right” to use that slur (along with others) however and wherever they want. What happened to everyone getting along? That’s a lesson that Dr. Laura, among others, needed to have learned before parking in front of a microphone.
All that being said, I have to wonder where Dr. Laura’s head was. Anyone who has any kind of common sense would have known right off the bat that there was a danger in going down the slippery slope that she ventured down. Some critics have pointed out that this — at least in their minds — shows where her head and heart truly are. Others insist that she’s “conservative” and shows the “conservative” mind set (never mind that she does not claim any side of the political aisle, and is more of a self-help guru than anything else), despite evidence to the contrary.
Bottom line, she has made herself even more ineffectual in the public eye (she ran awry of the gay community in America, and has been the subject of an ongoing boycott from them for many years now). I’m sure that if she didn’t decide to end her show, that the combination of sponsors backing away from her, along with local affiliates doing the same would have brought her show to a conclusion before too long.
Then again, radio is a strange animal. Who’s to say where she may have fallen.