The XX Factor

Dr. Laura’s Appology for Channeling Mel Gibson Is Sorry and Insincere

When Dr. Laura unleashed her inner racist during her call-in show last week, she not only revealed her hostility toward black people, she also revealed her profound ignorance.

Just because some black comedians routinely use the so-called N-word doesn’t make it right for her-or them-to use it. For many people, both black and white, the word is a deeply painful and offensive reminder of the legacy of slavery, lynchings, and state-sanctioned segregation.

More telling than her comfort with repeating the word over and over again was the leap she made from supposedly giving advice to a black woman who called in about her white husband’s racially insensitive friends to weighing on the psychology of black voter support for President Obama.

“Without giving much thought, a lot of black people voted for Obama because he was half-black without knowing what he was going to do once in office,” she told the caller, Jade, who obviously didn’t realize she was a stand-in for all black people.

Let’s set aside for now the obvious fact that no one knows what a political candidate, black or white, will actually do once in office. What does Obama’s election have to do with Jade’s husband and his friends? That black people who voted for Obama were guided by racial allegiance, so it’s OK for friends of Jade’s husband to routinely make racist comments?

Using Dr. Laura’s logic, one could argue that white people guided by racism only voted for Obama because he was half-white or didn’t vote for him because he was half-black. People who use such oversimplistic and stupid logic are usually the first to ascribe reverse racism and hypersensitivity to black people whenever the subject is white racism.

Here are some of Dr. Laura’s more insightful comments from the conversation with Jade:

Describing how a group of people from work were going out to play basketball: “My bodyguard and my dear friend is a black man, and I say to him ‘White men can’t jump. I want you on my team.’ That was racist?”

Yeah, right. I get it. Some of her best friends are black, including the black man she pays to protect her. I’m willing to bet that this picture of the good doctor and her dear black friend was posted online after her Mel Gibson moment and that she doesn’t keep it in a frame on her nightstand.

When Jade expresses disappointment with Dr. Laura’s unfettered and repeated use of the N-word, Dr. Laura responds:

“Black guys use it all the time. … 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.”

She’s right about the mixed messages relayed by people who use the word, but Dr. Laura was clearly not among the confused. She knew exactly what she was saying and used the call as an opportunity to get on her racial soapbox.

When, Jade asked, is it ever OK to use the word?

“It depends on how it’s said,” Dr. Laura retorted. “It depends how it’s said.”

Why Jade kept trying to have a serious discussion with Dr. Laura is perplexing.

“Don’t NAACP me,” Dr. Laura snapped at her. “You know if you’re that sensitive about your race, don’t marry out of your race,” she lectured after hanging up on Jade.

Dr. Laura then turned her remarks to her listeners, telling them that Jade’s comments were an example of “black think” and “hypersensitivity which is being bred by black activists. … I really thought that once we had a black president the attempt to demonize whites as hating blacks would stop but it seems to have grown, and I don’t get it. Yes I do, it’s all about power and that’s sad.”

So now that she has made clear how she really feels, why apologize for it? Empty apologies are just that, empty and entirely meaningless. The only thing she’s probably sorry about is that she didn’t join the Rush Limbaugh school of racial ideology sooner to increase her audience share.