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Racism Part 2… Dr. Laura

So, after reading numerous reports on CNN, I was just about ready to pounce on Dr. Laura as I did (somewhat prematurely) with Sherrod. However, after viewing the video Dr. Laura makes some very valid points. Perhaps she should not have used the “N” word as freely or flippantly as she did, but we cannot ignore that this word receives mixed messages… depending on WHAT COLOR the person is who says it. Let us make no mistake, if a black person uses the word it can be viewed as companionship or as humorous. However, when a white person uses the word, it is immediately derogatory.

Now I have to disagree with Jade… I think there are appropriate times to use the “N” word… not in a casual sense, but rather in a historical sense… in an educational sense. One of my favorite movies, Coach Carter, makes this point when Carter’s ball players call each other “Ni**er,” only to have the coach jump down their throats about it, explaining what it really means.

You see, unless we remember the past for what it is (the past), words lose meaning. Today, the word “racism” is really blank and void. Everyone calls everyone a racist, when in fact that is not the case. When my grandfather met my (now) wife, one of the first things he did was tell her a black joke. And yes, he used the “N” word as well… the funny thing is, if you knew my grandfather you would know he is probably the ONLY person in the world that can tell a black joke in Harlem and have people laugh with him. It wasn’t malicious, but rather an attempt to use humor to develop a relationship with (as he described her) “a very beautiful woman, on the inside and out.”

In another sense, Dr. Laura is right, not only is there this double standard BASED ON RACE, but also a hypersensitivity. We are so concerned about racism that often times (as I myself have done) we call it out prematurely. The simple fact is that people ARE different, and as such we often times do not understand the traditions of another culture (which by the way, is not as dependent on race as some like to think… another conversation for another day). People who are being introduced to another culture may, WRONGLY, assume stereotypes. But at the same time, asking a person who lives in a culture what that cultures feels or believes should not be construed as racism.

Now, Jade seems like a very sensible, intelligent individual. And I understand how she can take things personally as she lives in a mixed culture environment. If certain comments offend her she should talk to her husband about it, and she SHOULD explain to people that the “N” word is not appropriate. I applaud Jade for stating that the “N” word is NOT appropriate regardless of who is using it. And as mentioned above, I agree with her that her friends and neighbors should not be using it. Just let’s make sure we’re keeping the standard the same for everyone (often times we are more likely to overlook trespasses by those who we feel connected with).

Now, to wrap things up… should Dr. Laura apologize for using the “N” word… I do not believe so. I believe she attempted to use it in an educational sense. Should she apologize for becoming flippant about it, Yes. She made her initial point, and did not need to reiterate the three “Ni**ers” that she did after the fact. Did Dr. Laura state that people should not marry out of their race… No. She gives a very insightful warning that if you do, you WILL deal with racism from BOTH sides.

Now, I will listen to this again later to make sure I am being fair… but overall I think Dr. Laura should be excused from the racial accusations, while still taking responsibility for immaturely responding to the calling regarding her use of the word. As for Jade, I would suggest talking to your husband… and don’t be surprised if he doesn’t get similar questions from your black friends and family. Questions of curiosity (as your first example) imho should be interpreted as someone trying to better understand your background, while use of the “N” word should be strongly refuted. Just remember, more often than not people are trying to be nice… and you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.

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