Dr. Laura has a point

Tara Wall CNN Political Contributor
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Dr. Laura Schlessinger boldly went where no one but the hypocritical black elite can boldly go.  For that, she deserves respect, not ridicule.

While the good doctor used a word so forbidden that it has been relegated to rappers and street slingers, she brought attention to an issue worth addressing once and for all. It’s talked about in beauty salons, barbershops, urban radio shows and at black family reunions. But not out loud.

She may not be the “right” messenger for some. But it’s about time someone other than self-righteous finger-pointing liberals brought this issue out into the open.

Most blacks I know loathe the n-word, no matter whose mouth it comes from — Dr. Laura’s or Lil’ Wayne’s. It makes most of us cringe whether we know people who use it regularly or not — we all wish it would go down as fast as beltless baggy pants in a cop chase. But no one would dare say, much less do, anything about it. It is far easier to demonize a little old white woman with a sharp tongue who makes no apologies for her candor (though she did in this case.)

Why is it permissible for blacks to call ourselves ni**as and then get indignant at the very thought that someone of a lighter hue even mouth the word negro? When will we get indignant about the fact that so many of us still use de-humanizing lazy slang as common-speak instead of calling a “brutha” or a “sista” by a more appropriate moniker? Sometimes, we’ll even give permission for a white person who has an urban sway to sing it or say it. But it’s generally off-limits.

So, why is it that anyone should be allowed to use the n-word? If, as the argument goes, it’s not acceptable for some, it shouldn’t be acceptable for anyone. And that is the point that Dr. Laura was trying to make. If her use of the word (over and over) got the public’s attention, well that was the point now, wasn’t it?

It’s ironic that the collective “we” spend so much time feigning outrage over a non-approved politically-incorrect person’s use of the n-word, without considering the context in which that person uttered it. Dr. Laura was bold enough to bring a very pertinent issue to the surface. Yet, as usual, all pundits (including some conservatives) and snake oil civil rights puppets can do is divert attention away from her point in order to make theirs. Even if you believe that Schlessinger is a racist, which no really believes, isn’t the point she made — that no one should be able to say the word ni**a — a valid one?

It is particularly hard for me, as a black person, to hear other blacks refer to themselves this way. I’m quite certain President Obama doesn’t drop the n-bomb with his Chi-town homeboys. Why is it that the black community allows blacks to refer to one another by such a degrading term? We don’t hear Hispanics calling one another “wetbacks” or white people referring to one another as “honkeys?” It is truly sad that this is the best we have to say about one another — and that we accept its use.  That it is often used to show affection is no excuse.  

What’s more, blacks seem to be able to use derogatory terms to refer to people of other races without facing the repercussions that white people like Schlessinger face for using derogatory terms to refer to black people. That, too, I find intolerable.

Therein lies the problem with these racial paradoxes, which until now have either gone unaddressed or have been glossed over. Black, white, or brown — the example begins with each of us, individually. It’s time for the black and white liberal elite to stop making excuses and stop demonizing conservatives who dare to call the pot and kettle to the carpet.

It is ridiculous that airtime is wasted calling this woman a racist while actions of real racists (black and white) are ignored.  We shouldn’t be having useless discussions over the punishment of an otherwise highly-respected expert who has the audacity to call it like it is.

Racism is not the mere mention of a word deemed taboo. It is a behavior of the heart. Instead of banishing Dr. Laura, we should be banishing the n-word. Stop giving it more power than it deserves.

Tara Wall is a conservative columnist, a former deputy editorial page editor at the Washington Times, and a CNN political contributor. A media expert and former broadcast journalist, Wall has spent 18 years in the communications industry and political arena. Her regular columns and blog, “Tara’s Two Cents,” focus on timely topics involving race, politics and national policy.

Wall was an appointee in the George W. Bush administration, holding positions as spokesperson and public affairs director at the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding and The Department of Health of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families. Prior to that, she was a senior advisor at the Republican National Committee.

Wall has been a political strategist and analyst for several national news outlets, including CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, PBS, C-SPAN, ABC News, American Urban Radio Networks, BET and TV One. She has written columns for The Washington Times, Townhall.com and CNN.com.