Dr. Laura, Your First Amendment Rights Are Alive And Well

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Media, Race

From WSJ:

Schlessinger said on “Larry King Live” Tuesday that she “made the decision not to do radio anymore” because she wanted to regain her First Amendment rights and say what’s on her mind.

Sure, that’s why she’s quitting…not because her advertisers told her they’re through with her after she blurted out racial obscenities on air.

Wow. What a hack.

Furthermore, this tired First Amendment argument really gets me going because, news flash, Dr. Laura wasn’t hauled away to jail or sued or had any of her rights violated. She lost her job. That’s it. And she actually quit before she suffered the embarrassment of not having her contract renewed.

So please Dr. Laura, if you think you need to quit radio in order to be free to say racially insensitive things in public…by all means. And you’ll find that people will shun you just as quickly off the radio as on.

Welcome to the real world.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 and is filed under Media, Race. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Dr. Laura, Your First Amendment Rights Are Alive And Well”

  1. theWord Says:

    I hate to defend Dr. Laura but I think this has been twisted beyond belief. I think she was insensitive far worse in her response everywhere but the use of the word but that is totally who she is. It is who she markets to, her demographic. It’s who she is and has been since she has had a show. I know these people.
    Her comment on Obama was racist and with the standard GOP White blinders.

    I think the term nigger is offensive. I also think it is silly that adults use the “N word” as if it changes anything. It’s not a magic word. I think it is sad we can’t have a dialogue on the word and on race.

    I think she is a racist based on her insensitivity and repeatedly going back to the well on Obama all the while oblivious to the racist Elephant in the room. Much of what she said was the standard woe is me, I’m white and have all the power but I’m so disadvantaged mantra. I think that is more obnoxious than the word she used and the way she used it which frankly is an argument that I have heard people of both races use as an argument that NONE of us should use that noxious word. (That said on Curb Your Enthusiasm it was one of the funniest lines ever)

    Stephen Fry responding to (in his case religious) people saying “I’m offended by that” said it was nothing more than a whine and “So F***ng What”. I’m offended every day by tons of things. I think in most cases people have the right to offend if what they are doing is stating an opinion. Just be willing to back it up and be called on it.

    I also am happy that one less hate monger will be on the air. But it had nothing to do with her saying nigger and having it used out of context (like the Community Center in NY).

  2. mw Says:

    To pick up on a thread from an earlier post – I don’t think there is anything to be said about Dr. Laura Schlessinger that has not already been said better by Mojo Nixon in Dr. Laura – Who made you God?

    I’m not going to put the lyrics here – you just have to listen to it.

  3. blackout Says:

    MW, the recent revelation (to me at least) of your Mojo Nixon fandom is a ray of light in an otherwise gloomy world.

  4. Agnostick Says:

    Two words: Attention whore.

  5. Justin Gardner Says:

    theWord,

    I do think her comment about not marrying outside of your race if you have racial sensitivities was just as or even more offensive than her use of the word. But, in the end, they both reveal her for who she truly is and I’m glad it happened ultimately. One less radio shock jock spewing nonsense to worry about.

  6. kranky kritter Says:

    Here’s the thing about everyone’s 1st amendment rights. You can say whatever you want, but you have no right to insist that someone else must subsidize your soapbox, provide your stage, and so on.

    So, you get to say what you want, but you don’t get to be immune from the consequences of what you say. Audiences are free to react as they see fit, and sponsors are free to take notice of those reactions.

    Like word, I’m utterly untroubled by the particular context in which Dr Laura used the word “nigger.” I’m far more troubled by her simplistic and too-often mean-spirited viewpoints. She chose to answer her offended critics by grabbing a shovel and digging. Given enough rope, she quickly hung herself. Metaphorically speaking, it’s a happy ending to that chapter. Good riddance for now Dr Laura. Don’t forget to suck it! LOL

    At the same time, I still think we’d all be better served by letting our skills at taking offense wither a bit. If you take away another person’s ability to offend you, you’re usually taking one of their meanest and most favored tools right out of their hands.

  7. theWord Says:

    I think we are all in agreement that using “nigger” just offered the tipping point. What bothers me is that the truly offensive stuff is no different than what she has been spewing for years and absent that word (that we all seem to think was not the major offense)… she’d still be on the air come fall. Weird world ain’t it.

    And Mojo wrote some might fine lyrics.

  8. Chris Says:

    What is she a doctor of again? Goes to wikipedia….
    ” a Ph.D. in physiology” I always thought it strange that people would take her advice, or even listen to her.

  9. Roschelle Says:

    as a black woman, i’ve heard the word as both an unforgivably offensive slur and a term of endearment. it’s amazing to me how quick people of color jump on the bandwagon of condemnation when this word is used by any white person.

    black actors, comedians, rappers, and ordinary joe-blows can use it all day long and it doesn’t solicit so much as a sneer…not even a second thought.

    that’s extremely hypocritical. dr. what’s her name was far more racially insensitive or should i say just plain insensitive to this caller in a number of other ways. but of course, she broke the unspoken rule – that word must never be uttered.

    i wonder what the world would be like if we just gave up trying to condemn those who use it. telling people not to do something will never work. it completely contradicts human nature. “tell me i can’t and i’ll show you i can.”

  10. Justin Gardner Says:

    kranky, you said the following…

    So, you get to say what you want, but you don’t get to be immune from the consequences of what you say. Audiences are free to react as they see fit, and sponsors are free to take notice of those reactions.

    Couldn’t agree more. She can say whatever she pleases. In fact, I had a conversation with some friends tonight about this topic and told them I hope Dr. Laura uses the word daily on her program…and let’s see where that takes her. No rights were impinged. She wasn’t hauled away to a reeducation camp or jailed or even fined. No, she just doesn’t like the consequences of using a racially insensitive word…repeatedly.. If she feels that means her first amendment rights are being violated, well, so be it…but she’s dead wrong.

    Roschelle,

    Thank you so much for weighing in on this topic and lending your perspective.

    And we can definitely agree that the word is used quite often by the black community and, well, rightly so. To me, they own that word and part of me thinks that they use it to desensitize folks to it. Because the more you use it, the less power it holds. At least that’s the theory. Still, we think it’s

    And I think, in context, the word is appropriately used by anybody. My friend used it a few times tonight to explain the situation and nobody thought he was being insensitive. Also, I think artists can use it when trying to prove a point. The comedian David Cross famously used the word in a fundraiser to illustrate how weird it would be if he somehow turned into a racist at the end of a comedy skit where he had been railing against ignorance the entire time. Perhaps you would disagree, but the net effect was condemning racists for being so incredibly ignorant.

    Still, the problem here is exactly what you spoke to…that Dr. Laura not only used it again and again and again and again, but didn’t apologize immediately for her actions until the next day and then continued to make insensitive comments about the caller that were even more offensive than the use of the word itself. I mean, she actually said that if you have racial sensitivities, you shouldn’t marry outside of your race? Genuinely, what a completely intellectually disjointed statement. But should we expect anything more from her?

    So yes, she’ll be gone soon. Good riddance.

  11. kranky kritter Says:

    The reason why white folks like me don’t use the word nigger is because of manners. We all have the right to use any word we choose. I don’t use it because it’s gratuitously offensive. To insist on my right to use it is to be intentionally offensive. I try to avoid that, even though I don’t always succeed.

    Oh, and what Roschelle said. The whole word policing movement has done little but to make people more attuned to whether a message is offensive, and less attuned to whatever truth and insight a message might have. As our sensibilities become ever more delicate, it becomes harder and harder for folks to communicate openly and honestly.

    It is always very difficult to resolve conflicts with people who are easily offended, because they are so loathe to truly dig into any conflict and see both sides. They always retreat to a level of superficial decorum.

    That’s where manners comes in. There is a real social utility in both trying not to offend AND trying not to be offended. Unless I feel that someone is saying something with the purpose of offending me, I am seldom if ever offended.

    And further, often when I sense that someone is trying to offend me, I know that I can take away one of their tools by refusing to get offended.

  12. blackout Says:

    I’ll avoid having a full on ‘my wife is black’ moment and acting as if that provides me with any spceial insight, but there’s a difference between nigger and nigga. Most of my family uses the latter term (e.g. my nigga, nigga please), so while this is definitely ‘owning’ the term as Justin says, there is a distinction to be made. And, FWIW, it’s tacitly understood that I should not/would never use either one around my wife unless directly quoting someone. It’s been a great source of frustration when rapping along with, oh, any hip-hop recorded after 1990.

  13. Chris Says:

    http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/19/palin-defends-controversial-talk-show-host-in-facebook-post/

    palin to the rescue!

  14. Alistair Says:

    Not surprise that Palin would defend this witch.

  15. Chris Says:

    Of course, but I’d love to see some of these “free speech defenders” defend some radio host that says that people are delusional for believing in a magical 2000 year old zombie that can defy physics and has transmutation powers.

  16. Michael LaRocca Says:

    First, we have to assume that something is on her mind. Can’t do it.

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