Although racism is not as prevalent as it was in the past, it is still an issue in America.
In August, noted psychologist and popular radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, received a call on her show from a black woman who is married to a white man. The caller told Dr. Laura that her husband’s friends and family make racist comments. She said her husband lets the comments slide, and she felt hurt. The caller said the N-word had also been used. In the ensuing conversation, Dr. Laura said that the caller was being hypersensitive and surprised the caller by using the N-word several times to emphasize her opinion.
Hypersensitive? To a word that originated as a derogatory term for African Americans in the days of slavery? The fact that some African Americans playfully use the word, believing that the light-hearted use of it is a victory over the pain and stigma associated with it, does not erase the inherent hate in the word.
What these people and Dr. Laura don’t realize is that using the N-word is like uttering a curse. But instead of meaning something as fanciful as, “She shall prick her finger and die,” it means, “You will continue to remain under submission to those who think they are better than you. You will never be able to live above the stereotypes and limitations that others placed on you and your ancestors.”
Whenever someone uses the N-word or any other racial slur, they are degrading them-selves and the victim. They are bringing back the horrors of slavery and genocide. They are bringing back the evils that drove the madness of the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis, and terrorists.
Along with the right to free speech, comes the responsibility to use speech wisely, with concern for the feelings of others. If anyone is offended by something said, the right thing to do is to apologize, whether or not one was aware of the offense.
That’s what Dr. Laura thought she did the next day. But her subsequent announcement that she was leaving her radio show because she wants to say what’s on her mind without angering somebody or special interest groups, nullified her apology. Furthermore, the fact that she continued to use the word throughout the call, shows that she did not care about hurting the caller even as it was obvious that she was offended. During the call, she said that that it was alright to use the N-word under certain circumstances, and when she apologized, she said that it was never right to use it. Way to be clear on the issue, Dr. Laura.
No, Dr. Laura, it’s not hypersensitivity. It’s wanting to finally be free of the stereotypes and hurts of the past. It’s wanting to forgive the past, but having a hard time forgetting it when others constantly bring back its pain. You and every other person who use the N-word bring back the ugly ghost of racism from the grave. And that is the last thing America needs.