Sunday, August 22, 2010

Welcome to the Semester

Hello and welcome to the new semester. This week we start blogging assignments. Each week i'll post a topic and in two paragraphs i'd like you to respond. Every week you respond, you get 4pts. Over time those points will build. So here's the first blog

Dr. Laura, a popular talk radio host, announced recently that after several years she has decided to not renew her radio contract, effectively quitting radio. This comes on the heels of an incident where many accused her of being racist in regards to an incident where she used the "n" word in response to a caller's question.

This is not the first time her comments have gotten her in trouble. In the past, she has made remarks that infuriated homosexuals. That particular incident probably cost her a television show as well as losing several sponsors for her.

Dr. Laura claimed she is quitting radio to regain her first amendment rights. Read this article for her comments. The article also has links to her original radio comments as well as her apology and further commentary. What do you think about both her initial comments that got her into trouble and her reasoning for why she is leaving radio. Was she being racist, was the caller oversensitive, was she sincere in her apology?

38 comments:

Mnf14 said...

I have often wondered why it is okay for blacks to call themselves the "N" word but yet if whites or any other race uses the "N" word, we are called racists, bigots, etc. In my opinion, this incident should not be as big as the media is making it. If certain races do not won't other races to call them certain names, they shouldn't refer to themselves as those names. I don't like being referred to as a honky because I am white. So you will never catch me calling another white person a honky. It's really pretty simple. It all goes back to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It's not do as I say, not as I do.

As with Dr. Laura, she does need to realize that is she on the radio. There are certain things that an individual is allowed to say or do in public that is acceptable. In my opinion, it doesn't take her 1st Amendment rights away because she's a little restricted as to what she can say... It's simply respect for others. Most people would not do something such as picking their nose in public. That doesn't mean that the right to pick your nose is gone... We just restrict ourselves and have a little better manners in public vs. private.

As with the caller... She could have easily hung the phone up. Dr. Laura even took a commercial break and the caller held on the line. What the heck?!?! If I don't like something that someone is saying to me on the telephone all I do is hit the end call button. Simple as that.

Beth ann said...

I don't think Dr. Laura was trying to come off as racists. She was trying to explain the situtaion in her own view. I do think her saying the "N" word multiple amounts of times was a little to much, she should have never taking it to that extreme. She could have gone about it in different ways to avoid any problems with the caller. I don't think its right she said the "N" word over and over, but she was trying to prove her point. But she also need to see that being so open with the word on the radio can cause problems.

Anyone could have been in her shoes and the same thing would have happened to them. You have to be very careful these days about how you say things and what words to say and what words not to say.
I dont think the caller was being oversensitive, anyone in her shoes would have felt the same. But like the other comment said she could have hung up so she did not have to listen to it.

Melissa Laster said...

I think that Dr. Laura was out of place for saying the "n" word. I belive no matter the situation you should be respectful of other races and ethnicities. I belive in the saying "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." However, I have always wondered why it is ok for blacks to call themselves names but when other races call them the same names they get mad. I think that the whole situation was blown up to big by the media. I do not think that it should be this big of a deal.

I do believe that the caller was being oversensitive. If I get upset on the phone I will just hang up. I believe that if the caller was mad enough they could have hung up. I believe she was sincere in her apology and she was in the right for doing it the night it happened and not waiting.

jesimp said...

Many media personalities who gain power throughout their careers eventually let that power overtake them. Radio personality, Dr. Laura, is no exception. She allowed herself to believe that she could insult and offend one individual listener/caller and the mass would give her "props" for saying what she believes. She was wrong. After listening to her interview with Larry King, I would have believed Dr. Laura to be sincere about her apology. I, too, have been guilty of putting my foot in my mouth. However, after listening to her rant on youtube and hearing her say to an actual sincere caller that actually wanted advice, "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race". I am appalled that she would say the "n" word repeatedly to a caller whether white or black. She is absolutely correct that she has First Amendment rights but so does her caller, and Larry King, and myself, and the mass.

As a professional, Dr. Laura took the appropriate action by leaving radio. I do not believe that her caller was oversensitive. I would have responded the same way as the caller. Dr. Laura claimed she was making a "philosophical" point. I do not remember studying the "n" word in Philosophy. However, I would never sink so low as to call anyone a racist. I truly believe Dr. Laura made a horrible mistake and needs to stay away from the media and all its affiliates and sponsors.

rap201 said...

Regardless of if it is appropriate or not to say the "N" word, the Dr. must realize that it is simply not acceptable in our society for non-black persons to say it. This is probably a feeling that she has thought about for some time, and this caller presented the opportunity to vent those feelings. I am not black, so I cannot say that the word particularly offends me, nor can I understand why blacks are so sensitive to the word. Primarily because it is difficult to take the sensitivity seriously when blacks can use the word and other races cannot. If we truly want to be a colorblind society, all races must be treated equally.

Dr. Laura did not lose her freedom of speech. What she lost was sponsors and money, and ultimately her job. It is not worth the sponsors to have to deal with the backlash of these types of comments; it is much easier just to walk away. The Dr. should realize that she can say the types of things on the radio or anywhere else, but there will be consequences, regardless of right or wrong.
I can only hope that our society will someday be able to move forward from the race topic - the hatred should be a thing of the past. Discrimination should be unacceptable for all races.

Paula said...

Dr. Laura was wrong and her apology wasn't geniune. How could it have been(eleven times). Also, she stated she leaving radio to seek other venues in order to voice her opinions. When we say things to hurt people we can't take it back.

David said...

I believe she should be held accountable for her actions. Wrong is wrong, although I do believe she was trying to help. I don't believe she should lose her job since her motivation was not one of malice and hatred, but one of compassion that was most likely rooted in good intentions. She is saying that she feels stronger and freer however now she hiding inside her shell. She states that there are hateful groups who won't step to the microphone, yet instead of making this a real debate, she is running to hide behind her computer. I think she knows she would lose this one. Today, we live in a world of constant balance of sensitivity and should eliminate all words from all dialects that could bring about such horrible emotions no matter who says them. I know there are rights given our freedoms in the United States, but those freedoms should not be at the cost of hurting another person/society; I believe this is basic common sense and is built into most of our DNA.

lhw55 said...

I would have to agree with mnf14 on the fact that the line is not drawn out very well on what is too far when it comes to racial comments. When someone of their own race thinks its okay to make a racial slur about themselves, but then then gets offended when a person of another race says a slur then there is a problem with where the offense lies. I believe that Dr. Laura was wrong in her comments and not sincere at all in her apology, but the reaction of the public is not in fairness to her. When there is no line drawn or when people get offended about things they do every day then there is a problem.

Morgan Freeman, in a recent interview about racism said that "if we will stop talking about race then racism would end". I could not agree more. People will slip up and things will be said, but if we learn to overlook racism and simply see people as who they are and not by their race, then we can fix these problems we have within our society.

LHipp said...

I understand her sentiments but clearly there are better ways of discussing race. She’s an entertainer and her words are chosen to shock and garner attention. Clearly our nation has not come to terms on how to and who can discuss race. I do believe that word is more painful than whites can imagine. Dr. Laura’s reasoning for leaving radio is flawed in that her First Amendment Rights were not damaged. The First Amendment protects citizens from government censorship – not corporate censorship. By shifting her program to a website or through a podcast, she will not need to worry about upsetting corporate owners and may actually be able to pocket more of any advertising dollars. Of course, she will probably still rely on advertisers for the funds to produce the show. They can get upset at something else she says, pull their spots and she’ll just have to find a replacement.

I don’t think her intent was to be racist. She was simply doing what she does – argues with callers and says provocative statements to keep you listening. Winding up across the Internet and TV, especially with Larry King, gets her name out there again (her profile had been quiet for a while) and gets folks talking. As for the caller, I don’t understand why she sought sympathy or guidance from Dr. Laura. You call her show and your getting a certain kind of entertainment advice show. Her job is to argue to rile folks up and keep them listening past the commercial break. From the transcripts on the ‘Net, the caller never really got more than a sentence out of her mouth. We read bits and pieces of her objection, but she never really got to fully explain herself.

Hunter said...

First of all, I think Dr. Laura spoke very abruptly with the caller. She should have known that calling someone the "n" word would have all of the media in an uproar. I think we have freedom of speech to say whatever we choose, and because she chose to say it she should reap the consequences. Dr. Laura is doing the right thing by leaving radio because she can state her opinion more "under the radar" by not using radio and using blogs/ books.

In regards to whether she was being racist or not, I think in our society saying the "n" word does have the stigma as being associated with racism. I think she was stating a point, so I don’t know what she personally thinks about other ethnicities. In regards to the caller, she should have hung up the phone if she felt violated. Overall, I think Dr. Laura was not sincere in apologizing. In the certain instances I have seen public figures apologize, it always seems to me their publicists are just telling them they better apologize or it will ruin their career.

John said...

I don’t think that Dr. Laura is a racist, but I do believe that she used poor judgment throughout the telephone conversation with the caller. After listening to the various clips regarding the interview, it appears to me that the caller was more interested in getting into a racial discussion with Dr. Laura than actually getting advice from her. The caller was the first one to bring up the “n” word and was then followed by Dr. Laura using it numerous times. Dr. Laura’s use of the word did not constitute name-calling because it was not directed at anyone in particular nor was it used as a derogatory reflection of any person or race. Her use of the word was directed toward her inquiry as to why the use of the word is considered racist when used by a Caucasian but not when used by an African American. However, in view of the current state of our society and the fact that the “n” word is considered derogatory, inflammatory, and offensive, Dr. Laura, as a public figure with a huge following, should have been more sensitive and should have expressed herself in a different way.

Dr. Laura apologized and admitted publicly that she was wrong. I do not believe that she was sincere in her apology nor do I think that she really believed she was wrong. During her interview with Larry King, she continued to justify her words instead of apologizing and putting the matter to rest. Dr. Laura has indicated that she is leaving her radio program in order to regain her First Amendment rights of free speech. Her First Amendment rights are still in effect and were not lost as a result of the incident on her program. She still has the same rights to free speech she had before the incident. We are all accountable for our actions. If a person says something inappropriate, even if it is not unlawful, there may still be consequences that person must face as a result of the comment. In this case, Dr. Laura used inappropriate language and is now suffering the consequences of a backlash from her public, employers, and sponsors. With a little time, the media will move on to something else and the incident will no longer be an issue unless Dr. Laura herself keeps it alive.

Jeremy said...

Although she does sound familiar, I have never listened to the Dr. Laura show before. I think that her initial comments that got her into trouble were the result of a poor decision. I don’t think that Dr. Laura providing the caller with an example by saying, “Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic…” was offensive. It was Dr. Laura’s actual use of the “N” word in full, not the socially acceptable term that sparked outrage amongst her African American listeners. If she had said, “and all you hear is ‘N’ word, ‘N’ word, ‘N word” then I don’t think the public response would have been the same. I do not feel as though her reason for why she is leaving radio is totally honest. I get the feeling that her true reason for leaving radio is a combination of these three factors: (1) too many similar past incidents (2) disappointment by the powers that be, and (3) Dr. Laura just being fed up with interest groups and social activists dictating everything she has to say.
I do feel as though Dr. Laura got caught up in the call and displayed some of her racial frustration. She got a taste of saying the “N” word and took it and ran with it. Whether or not she was being racist is still up for debate. I think we all have racist thoughts from time to time depending on the situation. But I think those feelings just come along with being human and growing up in today’s society. I don’t think that just because a person fouls up and has a moment of weakness, that they should be labeled for the rest of their lives. As far as her apology is concerned, I don’t feel as though it was sincere. Her tone of voice and facial expression did not convey to me that she was being sincere in her apologetic gesture.
In my opinion everyone has the freedom to say whatever they'd like to say. But just be ready to face the consequences when someone finds your particular choice of words offensive.

Jeremy said...

Although she does sound familiar, I have never listened to the Dr. Laura show before. I think that her initial comments that got her into trouble were the result of a poor decision. I don’t think that Dr. Laura providing the caller with an example by saying, “Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic…” was offensive. It was Dr. Laura’s actual use of the “N” word in full, not the socially acceptable term that sparked outrage amongst her African American listeners. If she had said, “and all you hear is ‘N’ word, ‘N’ word, ‘N word” then I don’t think the public response would have been the same. I do not feel as though her reason for why she is leaving radio is totally honest. I get the feeling that her true reason for leaving radio is a combination of these three factors: (1) too many similar past incidents (2) disappointment by the powers that be, and (3) Dr. Laura just being fed up with interest groups and social activists dictating everything she has to say.

I do feel as though Dr. Laura got caught up in the call and displayed some of her racial frustration. She got a taste of saying the “N” word and took it and ran with it. Whether or not she was being racist is still up for debate. I think we all have racist thoughts from time to time depending on the situation. But I think those feelings just come along with being human and growing up in today’s society. I don’t think that just because a person fouls up and has a moment of weakness, that they should be labeled for the rest of their lives. As far as her apology is concerned, I don’t feel as though it was sincere. Her tone of voice and facial expression did not prove to me that she was being sincere in her apologetic gesture.

In my opinion everyone has the freedom to say whatever they'd like. But just be ready to face the consequences when someone finds your particular choice of words offensive.

emdaco said...

I do not know if Dr. Laura is a racist or not, but one thing is for sure, her actions were ignorant. To let the "N" word even once "slip out" is not okay. It still means that even subconscienciously you already made that word association to an Afircan American person. Those who make the comparison that "if they use, it why can't others?" do not see the clear distinction that they use the word in a nonconfrontational manner, not to degrade someone.
As far as Dr. Laura's apology--too little too late. I see it as being for PR reasons more than anything. Clearly, freedom of speech still exists, however, there is a difference between one's actual rights being infringed upon versus being offended by a ranting idiot (put nicely).
I do not feel the caller was overly sensitive. Her only mistake was contacting Dr. Laura in the first place.

E. McGraw said...

I don't think that it was meant to be a racist type, thing it was just a matter of her using the term and back before my time, many have referred this term as meaning racist.. I think that this is just one of those terms that no one outside the race should use, just like if were refer to others in a different name then we probably would be looked upon as a racist.

I believe that radio personnel should be very sleek when it comes to certain terms that are referred to as being racist, not that you are but because it is look upon as just that.

Taylor Lang said...

Dr. Laura is an intelligent woman. On her show, for the most part, she makes good philosophical points. In this particular case though, Dr. Laura realized that she had messed up. It makes me wonder why she would slip up as she did and let this emotionally charged call get the best of her. This is similar to Mel Gibson’s recent racist rants. If you are in the celebrity spotlight, it is not an option to make these types of racist remarks. You must constantly monitor what you say and do regardless of the communication medium used. The media and general public are waiting for celebrities to slip up with these types of comments because 99% of the time it makes a good controversial story. Although Dr. Laura still made some strong points in this call, she let the topic get the best of her and let her emotions run her remarks. All in all, she was out of line and insensitive to the caller and her listeners.

After this had happened, she had taken herself off of the air for the rest of the show. The bottom line is that she knew she messed up! She surely lost sponsors, listeners, and possibly her job. I have trouble believing that she “took herself off the air” and decided not to renew her contract. I can almost guarantee that there was heightened pressure from affiliate radio stations to end her contract. At this point the damage was done and she had nowhere to go with her defense and saving face except that she “wants to regain first amendment rights.”

Sara said...

Skw98

After watching the video clip and reading about Dr. Laura, I think she is an open, straightforward woman. I don't think her intentions were to be hurtful toward the caller, I think she sometimes just doesn't think before she speaks. There have been numerous times other people have been in this exact situation and the media blows it completely out of proportion.


I don't think Dr. Laura is racist just because she said the "N" word. I think she understood that her saying it several times was wrong and hurtful. She apologized several times and she is regretful of saying it. She just needs to be aware that she is live on the radio so she needs to think before she speaks. She now is moving on to other communications; E-mailing, tweeting, blogging,writing, and other types of communicating may be better for her so she can think before she types.

Daniel said...

It is a shame that this conversation had to take such an ugly turn. Dr. Laura was not being racist whatsoever, she was simply pointing out a fact. I feel she should have used better judgement especially after seeing that it offended the caller. No word should be restricted to the use of a single race, if the word is such a sore subject then nobody regardless of skin color should use it.

The caller was certainly being oversensitive. She took what was said entirely out of context. Again, Dr. Laura was just making a point, not disrespecting anyone.

Cperkins said...

I firmly believe that Dr. Laura was trying to make a point. The caller brought the word into the conversation, but got offended when Dr. Laura also used it. This is the double standard that continues to plaque our society. I definately agree with the Morgan Freeman statement that was previously brought into the discussion. I believe when we quit making every issue about race instead of the issue, then and only then we will move away from a racist society.

The media also picks and chooses what it allows to be considered racist. If a rap song uses the "n" word, it is only bleeped out. I do understand the notion of conotation and that the meaning you attach to the word is what is offensive, however, if the word is completely eradicated from the media at no point can it be offensive.

I bet the same sponsors that pulled their money from Dr. Laura's show to distance themselves from the backlash would leave their money in commercials on a predominately rap radio station that allows the word to be used in lyrics, if the listernship was high.

hallen said...

I've been following this story since the beginning with utter amazement. I know I read this somewhere (can't remember the source), but I'll try and paraphrase. A word is just a word...it's people that give it power. In this situation, Dr. Laura used a word in a context that was completely ignored when the story broke. She immediately became a racist. Whether she is or isn't remains to be seen, but I honestly don't believe that was her intent.

The fact is, there is a tremendous double standard when using the "N Word". It's ok for rappers, comedians, and the like to use it all the time. But as soon as a white radio host uses it...duck and cover. So what does that tell us? This word was given power in the past to destroy and subjugate people in the past, and it is being given power (by a different group) to do the same today.

In the final analysis, you obviously can't erase the word from our collective memory, but you can stop giving it power. This means that rappers that use it to (in my opinion) undermine self worth. This means the news media that have urgent breaking news that the word was used by Dr. Laura.

drm198 said...

I certainly think that Dr. Laura was ut of line for using the "n' word as much as she did while trying to make her point. I do also think that she was merely trying to make a vaild point when she used the "n" word. I do not understand why it is ok for blacks to use that word and it is ok, but if a white person uses the word then they are labeled as racist. You can't have it both ways.


As far as her apology is concerned I do believe it was sincere, but I also feel she is doing the right thing by steping down. She is a professional and I think she could have made her point with a little more tact than she did. The caller was indeed a little oversensitive, but I feel that Dr. Laura could have made her point without using the "n" word eleven times.

Rebecca G. said...

I don’t think Dr. Laura’s comments made her come across as being racist, however I do think she was somewhat insensitive to the caller’s feelings regarding the matter. Although I see what point Dr. Laura was trying to get across, I believe she went about it the wrong way. The caller did appear to be a slightly oversensitive in both the things that were bothering her with her husband and friends as well as over what Dr. Laura said which seemed to compound the problem.

As a radio personality, I believe she has a certain responsibility to be tactful without offending her audience. While this restraint should be exercised, I don’t believe it is so much about her First Amendment rights as it is common courtesy to other individuals that everyone should practice. Dr. Laura took responsibility for her actions and her apology over the incident seemed sincere to me. Everyone says the wrong thing and regrets it at some point in their life; most people just aren’t on a radio show when they do it.

Nick said...

It seems to me that Dr Laura seems to be talking out of both sides of her mouth. After initially making the comments, she apologized and said multiple times that using the “N” word was wrong. However she later says that she is quitting radio because of interest groups forcing her to give up her First Amendment right of free speech.
This implies to me that Dr Laura doesn’t feel that what she said is truly wrong. The bottom line is, radio show and TV shows are on air because of sponsors paying for advertising. If sponsors get enough heat from their customers or if the host draws enough negative attention, eventually they will pull out and the host or show will be off the air. Hard to say from the outside looking in that this is what happened, but it is almost as if the apology was said in order for her to try and keep her job. Once she realized that probably wasn’t going to happen, then when reading between the lines for her excuse to leave radio it is obvious to me that the truth came out that she really wasn’t sorry.
I understand what she said and I don’t feel she was using the word in malice or a derogatory way, she was merely trying to make a point. However, the fact that she is using the excuse that she wants to be able to exercise her First Amendment as the reason for leaving radio seems sort of lame to me. Everyone has to the right of freedom of speech, however that speech doesn’t have freedom of consequences.

john ray said...

I understand the point that Dr. Laura was trying to make but they way she went about it was all wrong. She seemed to have an attitude or point to make instead of just voicing her opinion. She was talking down to the caller and was rubbing in the use of the "n" word.

I agree with Dr. Laura about the fact on race shouldnt be able to use it and the other race can. That is completely wrong and nobody should use it. Even Dr. Laura when trying to be philosophical (which is bs, that wasn't philosophical).

Her apology and retirement are purely network driven. If it wasn't for the uproar from the public she would not have done either one!

Jerodine greenlaw said...

I believe that Dr. Laura was out of line by saying the (n) word. Because no matter what happen you should respect other people race as you want them to respect to respect your. She went about it the wrong way. Even know she was try to prove a point.

I think if a caller made you that mad, I think you should have hang up. Some people need to think before they speak.

bkp36 said...

I believe Dr. Laura’s comments could be taken very differently by people. I personally would never use the “N” word. I feel it is very disrespectful and references former times that I want to believe most Americans’ have tried to no longer participate in. I understand her initial comments and I don’t think the first reference to HBO was meant to be racist. However, as the conversation continued Dr. Laura took the rope. As Dr. Williams referenced in lecture one basically saying, if a person has too much rope they will eventually hang them self. Dr. Laura did exactly that. She was given an opportunity to express her freedom of speech and she took advantage of that situation. She was rude to the caller and became very arrogant and that is when she lost her right to the First Amendment. I do believe the caller should take some of the responsibility. She should have been better prepared for a radical response before she tried calling in for a solution to what appeared to be a serious issue she was dealing with. Shock factors seem to play a large role when ratings are concerned.

I was pleased to see Dr. Laura could admit she was wrong. If people would take more credit for their faults, people would learn to debate and not try to eliminate. Was her apology sincere? It was once she started hearing from the powers at be. Without sponsors and support the odds of her renewing her contract may have been limited anyway. It was her way of trying to leave gracefully.

clp said...

Dr. Laura’s use of the “n” word was unnecessary and tactless. She alienated her caller and her audience by using such a distasteful and offensive word, but I do not believe that she was being racist. Dr. Laura’s efforts to discover the caller’s level of sensitivity to her white friend’s comments were quickly derailed into a debate about who, when and how the “n” should be used. Dr. Laura could have made an effective point had she not articulated such a derogatory word. I think the point Dr. Laura was trying to make is that there is a double standard for using the “n” word and to some that could be confusing. The fact that entertainers use the word freely on HBO might lead others to believe it is a term to be used in a joking manner. I would like to think most adults are beyond the persuasion of TV and would use their own ethical standards to determine if something is correct. Maybe I am idealist in this assumption.

I do believe Dr. Laura regrets using the “n” and realizes that she was not helpful to her caller. I do not however know if her motives for regret are pure in nature. She may genuinely regret she offended her caller, or she may simply regret that people perceive her in a negative light because of her comments. The only person who can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Laura was sincere in her apology is Dr. Laura. The same goes for her reasoning behind leaving radio. Dr. Laura has not lost her first amendment rights, but I do believe she is weary of others exercising their first amendment rights to disagree with her via angry letters and loss of sponsors. In short the caller’s problem was not remedied by this conversation. The caller’s problem was not addressed properly and we will never know if the caller is hypersensitive or being subjected to racist remarks, because Dr. Laura’s tangent about the “n” word took precedence over counseling her caller.

clp said...

Dr. Laura’s use of the “n” word was unnecessary and tactless. She alienated her caller and her audience by using such a distasteful and offensive word, but I do not believe that she was being racist. Dr. Laura’s efforts to discover the caller’s level of sensitivity to her white friend’s comments were quickly derailed into a debate about who, when and how the “n” should be used. Dr. Laura could have made an effective point had she not articulated such a derogatory word. I think the point Dr. Laura was trying to make is that there is a double standard for using the “n” word and to some that could be confusing. The fact that entertainers use the word freely on HBO might lead others to believe it is a term to be used in a joking manner. I would like to think most adults are beyond the persuasion of TV and would use their own ethical standards to determine if something is correct. Maybe I am idealist in this assumption.

I do believe Dr. Laura regrets using the “n” and realizes that she was not helpful to her caller. I do not however know if her motives for regret are pure in nature. She may genuinely regret she offended her caller, or she may simply regret that people perceive her in a negative light because of her comments. The only person who can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Laura was sincere in her apology is Dr. Laura. The same goes for her reasoning behind leaving radio. Dr. Laura has not lost her first amendment rights, but I do believe she is weary of others exercising their first amendment rights to disagree with her via angry letters and loss of sponsors. In short the caller’s problem was not remedied by this conversation. The caller’s problem was not addressed properly and we will never know if the caller is hypersensitive or being subjected to racist remarks, because Dr. Laura’s tangent about the “n” word took precedence over counseling her caller.

clp said...

Dr. Laura’s use of the “n” word was unnecessary and tactless. She alienated her caller and her audience by using such a distasteful and offensive word, but I do not believe that she was being racist. Dr. Laura’s efforts to discover the caller’s level of sensitivity to her white friend’s comments were quickly derailed into a debate about who, when and how the “n” should be used. Dr. Laura could have made an effective point had she not articulated such a derogatory word. I think the point Dr. Laura was trying to make is that there is a double standard for using the “n” word and to some that could be confusing. The fact that entertainers use the word freely on HBO might lead others to believe it is a term to be used in a joking manner. I would like to think most adults are beyond the persuasion of TV and would use their own ethical standards to determine if something is correct. Maybe I am idealist in this assumption.

I do believe Dr. Laura regrets using the “n” and realizes that she was not helpful to her caller. I do not however know if her motives for regret are pure in nature. She may genuinely regret she offended her caller, or she may simply regret that people perceive her in a negative light because of her comments. The only person who can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Laura was sincere in her apology is Dr. Laura. The same goes for her reasoning behind leaving radio. Dr. Laura has not lost her first amendment rights, but I do believe she is weary of others exercising their first amendment rights to disagree with her via angry letters and loss of sponsors. In short the caller’s problem was not remedied by this conversation. The caller’s problem was not addressed properly and we will never know if the caller is hypersensitive or being subjected to racist remarks, because Dr. Laura’s tangent about the “n” word took precedence over counseling her caller.

David said...

What if the media overlooked this event? What if Dr. Laura said this and it just passed all of us by? I know this is kind of like "if a tree fell in the woods and no one was there, would it make a sound?" I am kind of asking that, what if it just didn't matter? Does it make it okay or does it allow Dr. Laura to really try to help someone without the society requirement of asking what your skin color is to use certain words? Is Dr. Laura wrong for trying to help and using the "n" word or is it solely because she is white? Are we prejudice for allowing this to happen or for making it an issue?

I think these are valid questions but in my opinion the word should be stricken from all dialects and uses regardless of the race of those who use the nasty vulgar word. Or should we look at it as Hollywood did in the movie "Bullworth?" Basically, a burnt our suicidal politician started telling it like it is. His conclusion, everyone needed to start having inter-cultural relations until all of children were touched by everything. His idea was that if no one had any significant cultural differences, then there would be no prejudices existing in the world.

Although the movie wasn't very good, is this possibly on the right track? Or should we learn to embrace what makes us different, accept those differences, and learn from each other? Is that realistic? I view this to be a generational solution and one that society must address or suffer the consequences. If anyone is searching for extreme consequences, look at the middle east with the Israeli-Palenstinean conflict.

clp said...

Dr. Laura’s use of the “n” word was unnecessary and tactless. She alienated her caller and her audience by using such a distasteful and offensive word, but I do not believe that she was being racist. Dr. Laura’s efforts to discover the caller’s level of sensitivity to her white friend’s comments were quickly derailed into a debate about who, when and how the “n” should be used. Dr. Laura could have made an effective point had she not articulated such a derogatory word. I think the point Dr. Laura was trying to make is that there is a double standard for using the “n” word and to some that could be confusing. The fact that entertainers use the word freely on HBO might lead others to believe it is a term to be used in a joking manner. I would like to think most adults are beyond the persuasion of TV and would use their own ethical standards to determine if something is correct. Maybe I am idealist in this assumption.
I do believe Dr. Laura regrets using the “n” and realizes that she was not helpful to her caller. I do not however know if her motives for regret are pure in nature. She may genuinely regret she offended her caller, or she may simply regret that people perceive her in a negative light because of her comments. The only person who can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Laura was sincere in her apology is Dr. Laura. The same goes for her reasoning behind leaving radio. Dr. Laura has not lost her first amendment rights, but I do believe she is weary of others exercising their first amendment rights to disagree with her via angry letters and loss of sponsors. In short the caller’s problem was not remedied by this conversation. The caller’s problem was not addressed properly and we will never know if the caller is hypersensitive or being subjected to racist remarks, because Dr. Laura’s tangent about the “n” word took precedence over counseling her caller.

clp said...

Dr. Laura’s use of the “n” word was unnecessary and tactless. She alienated her caller and her audience by using such a distasteful and offensive word, but I do not believe that she was being racist. Dr. Laura’s efforts to discover the caller’s level of sensitivity to her white friend’s comments were quickly derailed into a debate about who, when and how the “n” should be used. Dr. Laura could have made an effective point had she not articulated such a derogatory word. I think the point Dr. Laura was trying to make is that there is a double standard for using the “n” word and to some that could be confusing. The fact that entertainers use the word freely on HBO might lead others to believe it is a term to be used in a joking manner. I would like to think most adults are beyond the persuasion of TV and would use their own ethical standards to determine if something is correct. Maybe I am idealist in this assumption.
I do believe Dr. Laura regrets using the “n” and realizes that she was not helpful to her caller. I do not however know if her motives for regret are pure in nature. She may genuinely regret she offended her caller, or she may simply regret that people perceive her in a negative light because of her comments. The only person who can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Laura was sincere in her apology is Dr. Laura. The same goes for her reasoning behind leaving radio. Dr. Laura has not lost her first amendment rights, but I do believe she is weary of others exercising their first amendment rights to disagree with her via angry letters and loss of sponsors. In short the caller’s problem was not remedied by this conversation. The caller’s problem was not addressed properly and we will never know if the caller is hypersensitive or being subjected to racist remarks, because Dr. Laura’s tangent about the “n” word took precedence over counseling her caller.

Ruthie Robison said...

In my opinion, what Dr. Laura said was not right. I really do not think that saying a word that she knows will provoke an extreme emotion from a certain race is an acceptable behavior for a woman in her position in broadcast media. Whether black people use the “N” word or not is insignificant in my opinion, and it does not justify her, Dr. Laura, using it. Then her to say that her first amendment right has been taken from her is ludicrous, because she obviously skipped over the part about “fighting words and offensive speech.” She intentionally said this word several times to provoke some type of action or speech from the caller.
I think that Dr. Laura just used this caller’s question to take a political platform on an issue that must have been brewing in her for some time now. I do not think she meant for it to be racist. I think she just wanted to provoke the caller so she could debate about a political issue and prove a point she wanted to make. The caller at first was asking questions that seemed to be a little oversensitive, but after Dr. Laura’s use of the “N” word, I think she was just genuinely shocked.
And by no means was Dr. Laura’s “apology” sincere, it was a continuation in the “philosophical point” she was trying to make.

Jeremy D. said...

Although she does sound familiar, I have never listened to the Dr. Laura show before. I think that her initial comments that got her into trouble were the result of a poor decision. I don’t think that Dr. Laura providing the caller with an example by saying, “Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic…” was offensive. It was Dr. Laura’s actual use of the “N” word in full, not the socially acceptable term that sparked outrage amongst her African American listeners. If she had said, “and all you hear is ‘N’ word, ‘N’ word, ‘N word” then I don’t think the public response would have been the same. I do not feel as though her reason for why she is leaving radio is totally honest. I get the feeling that her true reason for leaving radio is a combination of these three factors: (1) too many similar past incidents (2) disappointment by the powers that be, and (3) Dr. Laura just being fed up with interest groups and social activists dictating everything she has to say.

I do feel as though Dr. Laura got caught up in the call and displayed some of her racial frustration. She got a taste of saying the “N” word and took it and ran with it. Whether or not she was being racist is still up for debate. I think we all have racist thoughts from time to time depending on the situation. But I think those feelings just come along with being human and growing up in today’s society. I don’t think that just because a person fouls up and has a moment of weakness, that they should be labeled for the rest of their lives. As far as her apology is concerned, I don’t feel as though it was sincere. Her tone of voice and facial expression did not prove to me that she was being sincere in her apologetic gesture.

In my opinion everyone has the freedom to say whatever they'd like. But just be ready to face the consequences when someone finds your particular choice of words offensive.

Brandon said...

I have mixed feelings about Dr. Laura's "retirement". It comes off as more of a forced retirement, but that is just my opinion. I think that there are two ways that this could have been resolved. She could have vehemently apologized for her actions, asked for forgiveness, and then carried on as normal. The American public is actually quite forgiving in the face of humility. Next, she has the option of standing to what she said, and not backing down from an instance where she stated an opinion. It is obvious from her apology on Larry King that she did not mean the "n" word as maliciously as has been implied.

In my personal opinion there is room for sensational and opinionated personalities in media. I think they appeal to a certain subset of people and everyone has the option of listening or not. I do not particularly agree with Dr. Laura, but I know that my opinions are not those shared by the mases all the time as well. I can appreciate someone who is "brave" enough to give their opinion, especially when it may not be met with complete agreement.

Now in no way do I think that opinions give someone the right to be abrasive or derogatory with continual malice, but just a stated opinion. There is a reason that slander and libel exist, but also there is a fine line.

Overall, I have never been a fan of Dr. Laura, but I do not think that she meant her comments to be overtly racist, and yes I do feel the caller to have been somewhat overly sensitive. In reading Dr. Laura's apology I feel that it was neither sincere nor insincere, but rather just her stating her intentions and sincerely apologizing for any misinterpretation.

scacapit said...

In this society people must realize that racism is not dead. People of all colors experience racism on a daily basis, whether intentional or non-intentional. I don't believe that Dr. Laura is racist. Sometimes the way people are raised and brought up tends to come out in later years involuntarily. She seems to be an older lady so I'm sure she was around when blacks were actually being beaten and discriminated against. Not to say that she feels that is right, but watching that as a child or young adult can put an impression on you in a positive or negative light. By no means was it acceptable that she chose to use the language that she did. Like Larry King said its okay when people within a certain circle make fun or use slang toward their peers, but when an outsider such as Dr. Laura does so it doesn't sit well. She didn't seem very apologetic either. Her real attitude was I said what I said cant take it back so I guess Im sorry if I hurt anybody. At one point in the interview with Larry King she stated she wants to be able to say what she wants to say and how she wants to say it. To me that just says Im sorry you heard how I actually feel, not Im sorry for affending you.
Dr. Laura uses the word hypersensitivity toward people when it comes to the race issue. I believe it is justly so that people are sensitive to things that deal with race or prejudice of any kind because like I said it is still promenant today. We all have "equal" opportunity, but when it comes down to it people make a lot of judgements based on stereotypes and things we see and hear in the media. Not just color its social class, background and all types of things people are judged on before you really get to know who that person is and what he/she is all about.
As for the young lady calling in, first of all being a black woman myself, I would not have called Dr. Laura for advice in the first place. If your husband can't do his job and defend you as his wife then you are with the wrong one. No matter what color he or she is, if he's your husband he should have defended you and told his family if they can't respect his wife then there need not be any reason for contact any longer.

scacapit said...
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LHipp said...
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