Dr. Laura and Post-Race America
Soon after President Barack Obama was elected, the lie of post-race America began. It was this idea that because we had a black president in office, we as a nation, had somehow transcended race. But the very idea of a raceless (it isn’t even a real word) society is impossible. However, for many, the uptick in interracial relationships coupled with a bi-racial President in office is overwhelming evidence that society has moved on from the big “R.” Fortunately, we still have reminders.
Meet Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She’s a conservative talk radio show host who has often times run up against more liberal groups. Prior to her nigger-rant, she has previously sparked outrage from gay groups. She has also ranked alongside Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh in conservative radio with nearly 9 million listeners tuning in each week. She has since left her multi-million dollar radio spot amid outrage.
The incident that sparked the fallout revolved around black caller seeking advice on her interracial relationship.
It is clear Dr. Laura was annoyed but I also get the feeling she was having a bit of fun. By contrast, her on-air apology sounded rather forced and painful. But in the original broadcast she is annoyed that a black woman is “hypersensitive” about her blackness and about the use of the n-word. For Laura, HBO and other blacks are responsible for the mainstreaming of the n-word and that by now, it isn’t a racial epithet at all. So get over it or don’t marry outside of your race.
Much has been made about Dr. Laura’s use of the n-word. She said it 11 times. If anything, Dr. Laura was more taunting in her repetition than derogatory. What I found most frustrating was her use of the word “black.” Why does it sound like she’s vomiting? Also, Dr. Laura uses black comedians’ use of the n-word and the election of Barack Obama (because he’s “half-black”) as evidence that black people racialize more than whites. Does she have a point?
In the end, what I find most intriguing and sad is that the mysterious woman calling the white conservative show is a black woman. Even worse, she’s expecting some advice on issues concerning race. Perhaps she was thinking she could find a learned white woman to talk some sense into her white husband, but instead she was met with a harsh response. It seems the opposite of what Dr. Laura says—this woman doesn’t appear to be sensitive enough to her racial difference. Ultimately, we get to see the effects of “post-race” America from both sides—a white woman who thinks the n-word is a universal term and a black woman who goes to white people for advice on how to handle racism. God help us.