by Glenn Littrell
At least on this incident.
In response to an article on the Huffington Post:
The doctor has a right to her opinion, but putting it out there in a public forum, her forum, creates the opportunity for others to express their outrage and opinion. She warns the caller about taking things out of context, but as a ‘doctor’ the context is what she seems to forget or in this case ignore. It is that context that differentiates the use of the word amongst blacks from it use by whites. It is not a double standard but the context that leads to varying levels of what is acceptable .
Most African-Americans condemn the use of the word, but not being monolithic some have varying degrees of acceptance of its use. So even for African-Americans there are situations that it is not acceptable.
The origin, use and history of the word stems from one overriding intent: to identify in an insulting manner, to degrade and to inflict humiliation. I can not think of any single word, spoken by a black man to a white man, that would be guaranteed to give rise to as strong and passionate an emotion as the use of this word spoken in reverse.
Words like cracker, whitey, or honky wouldn’t even transcend generational lines amongst white people. None of these words even have a significant history before the 50’s. None of them have a place in time when they were used from a position of authority and power to inflict humiliation. The most common reaction to them amongst whites would probably be a giggle of amusement for being so ‘retro’. Those that would be offended by them would probably be more offended by the audacity and yes, context of the person using the words.
Terms like white trash and red neck are currently so commonly used by whites in reference to themselves and each other that they are barely taken as being negative.
If you were of Italian descent and your Uncle Marco was still with us and I said any one of several slang words for Italians or Catholics he would knock me on my butt in a heartbeat.
But things change. Through assimilation and acceptance Italians may be more tolerant of Italian jokes and ethnic humor today. The context today might be different to some. Marco lived in a world where the KKK burned crosses in the neighborhood because they did not like Catholics.
I not saying there aren't words that wouldn't offend a white person or anyone other than an African-American. My point is is that offensive words across lines of differences don't carry the same weight. Sometimes because of them becoming irrelevant over time and generations, sometimes because of assimilation or acceptance, hopefully always because we progress forward in an acceptance of each other not digress to the point that we tolerate offensive words because its easier.
As to the word being used by African-Americans amongst themselves and in reference to themselves and each other on TV and by comedians, again the doctor ignores the context.
Now if I refer to my wife as ‘honey’ and my daughter as ‘ sweetie’. Does anyone think that it would me alright for a complete stranger, particularly a male, to refer to them in the same manner? I don’t think so. Coming from the lips of a stranger the use of those terms would be incendiary and very inappropriate. This is not a double-standard. This is the context that alludes the doctor and many people, black and white, and the context is about familiarity and appropriateness.
The above analogy is in reference to the doctor’s logic, her point, is that it's alright to use the word, or should be alright because blacks do it, but the doctor is ignoring all context.
In the conversation with the caller the doctor’s desire to repeat what she heard on TV was petty and inappropriate.
"Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO and listen to a black comic, and all you hear is n****, n*****, n*****. 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."
She' claims its confusing, yet she gives advice? Or is it just that she wants to echo the ridiculous idea that a black president = the end of racism, not so that we can go forward to a non-racist existence, but so that we can have license to say offensive things without reproach, because racism is dead? i.e. "Don't NAACP me" A statement that reveals a racially slanted stereotype.
If you turn on HBO you will also hear the ‘F’ bomb being dropped repeatedly. Does that make it alright? I know guys who use profanity all the time, except around their wife, kids and parents. These same guys would get very upset if any of their friends did it around those same people. I know guys who watch the shows with the "’F’ bomb who never use the word themselves and even though they watch the shows would never let their kids do so. Is this a double standard or is it about appropriate language? Before you say its a double standard consider that showing discretion involves applying varied but appropriate behavior and decisions to similar but not totally identical situations. It is the difference between the situations, not the similarities, that dictate appropriateness.
The most appalling thing about the doctor’s response to the caller is that she didn’t outright condemn everyone's use of the word. She actually unloads on the caller for being too sensitive about the racist actions of her husband’s friends and his condoning their behavior. This situation has potential domestic violence written all over it. The doctor’s inclination to want to make an asinine statement in support of the universal acceptance of the ‘N’ word, instead of offering sound advise to the caller in itself is enough to warrant the criticism and condemnation of her words.
by Glenn Littrell
in reference to:
“Dr. Laura's N-Word Rant: Radio Host Apologizes For Offensive Language” (AUDIO)
Dr. Laura's History Of Incendiary Statements: Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced Tuesday that she is ending her radio show in the wake of the firestorm created over her repeated use of the n-word in a conversation with a black caller last week. But it's hardly the first time she's made incendiary or controversial statements.
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