Dr. Laura and the N-Word: The Thing Is, She's Right
At least about who 'glories in it,' says Earl Ofari Hutchinson
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2010 1:31 PM CDT
Dr. Laura Schlessinger speaks during the American Women in Radio and Television 2010 Genii Awards at the Skirball Cultural Center on April 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Dr. Laura Schlessinger got skewered for using the N-word six times during her show last Tuesday, getting much the same treatment that other N-word-spewing white celebrities and politicians have gotten. But she doesn't belong in the group, writes Earl Ofari Hutchinson for the Huffington Post, because she's actually right, at least about "who uses it, condones it, and even glories in it." Explains Hutchinson, "N-word users and apologists serve up the lame rationale that the more a black person uses the word, the less offensive it becomes, which is precisely the point Dr. Laura picked apart."

"They claim that they are cleansing the word of its negative connotations so that racists can no longer use it to hurt blacks," but that's just not possible. Words aren't "value neutral," writes Hutchinson, and this one in particular "will always reinforce and perpetuate stereotypes. It can't be sanitized, cleansed, inverted, or redeemed as a culturally liberating word," no matter who utters it. So when blacks give other blacks the OK to use it, it "sends the subtle signal that the word is hardly earth-shattering." It led Dr. Laura to think she could use the word without any blowback. She was wrong—but she's right.

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Showing 3 of 106 comments
Aug 18, 2010 7:09 PM CDT
If black folks use it, everyone can use it.
Aug 17, 2010 10:14 PM CDT
Us white people should just stick to using that word in our subconscience....I'm looking at you, whitey!
Aug 17, 2010 5:04 PM CDT
I am a person of colour and was taught not to say that word ever...Hearing Dr laura say it a long with all the other stuff she had to say was quite offensive for me. I am not going to lie she sounded like a stupid white lady but when she said don't you NAACP me to the calm African American woman was a clue who she was aligning herself with ....I called at least one of her sponsors to drop her because clearly she said the N-word not once but 11 times -she has been on radio for years so she made a personal choice to cross the line -- she needs to be fired -that's my opinion