Before the Triptik…at Least for Blacks

Traveling by car “back in the day” was a completely different experience than today.

Folks who look like me couldn’t just stop anywhere to eat or sleep or even get gas. Many places — most notably in the South, but really anywhere once you got outside the cities — refused to serve blacks.

Enter The Green Book.

The Green Book, started by a mailman named Green, showed you where you could go without fear of being mistreated or humiliated across North America.

CNN did a fascinating piece this week that chronicled the history of The Green Book and all that went with it…a forgotten piece of Americana…and the reality of America in those days for blacks.

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So because you hear the word, you figure it’s okay?

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.

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 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 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?

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 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.

Black Conservative Tea Party Supporters Take Heat

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I’m not as active as I used to be, but I’m still there….

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — They’ve been called Oreos, traitors and Uncle Toms, and are used to having to defend their values. Now black conservatives are really taking heat for their involvement in the mostly white tea party movement — and for having the audacity to oppose the policies of the nation’s first black president.

“I’ve been told I hate myself. I’ve been called an Uncle Tom. I’ve been told I’m a spook at the door,” said Timothy F. Johnson, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a group of black conservatives who support free market principles and limited government.

“Black Republicans find themselves always having to prove who they are. Because the assumption is the Republican Party is for whites and the Democratic Party is for blacks,” he said.

Johnson and other black conservatives say they were drawn to the tea party movement because of what they consider its commonsense fiscal values of controlled spending, less taxes and smaller government. The fact that they’re black – or that most tea partyers are white – should have nothing to do with it, they say.

“You have to be honest and true to yourself. What am I supposed to do, vote Democratic just to be popular? Just to fit in?” asked Clifton Bazar, a 45-year-old New Jersey freelance photographer and conservative blogger.

Opponents have branded the tea party as a group of racists hiding behind economic concerns – and reports that some tea partyers were lobbing racist slurs at black congressmen during last month’s heated health care vote give them ammunition.

But these black conservatives don’t consider racism representative of the movement as a whole – or race a reason to support it.

Angela McGlowan, a black congressional candidate from Mississippi, said her tea party involvement is “not about a black or white issue.”

“It’s not even about Republican or Democrat, from my standpoint,” she told The Associated Press. “All of us are taxed too much.”

Still, she’s in the minority. As a nascent grassroots movement with no registration or formal structure, there are no racial demographics available for the tea party movement; it’s believed to include only a small number of blacks and Hispanics.

Some black conservatives credit President Barack Obama‘s election – and their distaste for his policies – with inspiring them and motivating dozens of black Republicans to plan political runs in November.

For black candidates like McGlowan, tea party events are a way to reach out to voters of all races with her conservative message.

“I’m so proud to be a part of this movement! I want to tell you that a lot of people underestimate you guys,” the former national political commentator for Fox News told the cheering crowd at a tea party rally in Nashville, Tenn., in February.

Tea party voters represent a new model for these black conservatives – away from the black, liberal Democratic base located primarily in cities, and toward a black and white conservative base that extends into the suburbs.

Black voters have overwhelmingly backed Democratic candidates, support that has only grown in recent years. In 2004, presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry won 88 percent of the black vote; four years later, 95 percent of black voters cast ballots for Obama.

Black conservatives don’t want to have to apologize for their divergent views.

“I’ve gotten the statement, ‘How can you not support the brother?'” said David Webb, an organizer of New York City’s Tea Party 365, Inc. movement and a conservative radio personality.

Since Obama’s election, Webb said some black conservatives have even resorted to hiding their political views.

“I know of people who would play the (liberal) role publicly, but have their private opinions,” he said. “They don’t agree with the policy but they have to work, live and exist in the community … Why can’t we speak openly and honestly if we disagree?”

Among the 37 black Republicans running for U.S. House and Senate seats in November is Charles Lollar of Maryland’s 5th District.

A tea party supporter running against House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Lollar says he’s finding support in unexpected places.

The 38-year-old U.S. Marine Corps reservist recently walked into a bar in southern Maryland decorated with a Confederate flag. It gave his wife Rosha pause.

“I said, ‘You know what, honey? Many, many of our Southern citizens came together under that flag for the purpose of keeping their family and their state together,'” Lollar recalled. “The flag is not what you’re to fear. It’s the stupidity behind the flag that is a problem. I don’t think we’ll find that in here. Let’s go ahead in.”

Once inside, they were treated to a pig roast, a motorcycle rally – and presented with $5,000 in contributions for his campaign.

McGlowan, one of three GOP candidates in north Mississippi’s 1st District primary, seeks a seat held since 2008 by Democrat Travis Childers. The National Republican Congressional Committee has supported Alan Nunnelee, chairman of the state Senate Appropriations Committee, who is also pursuing tea party voters.

McGlowan believes the tea party movement has been unfairly portrayed as monolithically white, male and middle-aged, though she acknowledged blacks and Hispanics are a minority at most events.

Racist protest signs at some tea party rallies and recent reports by U.S. Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Barney Frank, D-Mass., that tea partyers shouted racial and anti-gay slurs at them have raised allegations of racism in the tea party movement.

Black members of the movement say it is not inherently racist, and some question the reported slurs. “You would think – something that offensive – you would think someone got video of it,” Bazar, the conservative blogger, said.

“Just because you have one nut case, it doesn’t automatically equate that you’ve got an organization that espouses (racism) as a sane belief,” Johnson said.

Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington bureau of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, suggested a bit of caution.

“I’m sure the reason that (black conservatives) are involved is that from an ideological perspective, they agree,” said Shelton. “But when those kinds of things happen, it is very important to be careful of the company that you keep.”