Thoughts on Dr. Laura Schlessinger and other racial stuff

Dr. Laura Schlessinger

I wanted to drop a few words about Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and I figured that I could also drop a few words about Rick Sanchez, Juan Williams, and the Chinese Professor Ad at the same time since they’re all somewhat related to race and media.

1, I’ve already covered Rick Sanchez.  He said nothing anti-Semitic, and it’s sad that the media slammed a man over nothing.  It’s sad that the media fired the only major Hispanic newsman.  I’ve fielded e-mails from people calling him a talentless hack (I’ve never seen his show myself), but that’s different from being anti-Semitic.  Rick made a living from sharing opinions, and the firing was unjustified.

2. Juan Williams was a news analyst/political commentator from NPR and a political commentator for Fox.  He got in trouble for saying that he got nervous when being on a plane around people in “Muslim garb.” I don’t think this statement is racist, but I see how it could fan the flames of xenophobia. Nonsensical maybe, since the 9/11 perpetrators didn’t wear Muslim garb, but not racist or bigoted.  He basically said the same thing that Jesse Jackson once said about black youth.  Still, he probably deserved to be fired from NPR. His job at NPR was to be relatively unbiased–NPR isn’t Fox news or the Tom Hartmann show–so he should have reined in any comments that affect NPR’s reputation as an unbiased news source.  He’s got a $2 million contract with Fox News now, so don’t feel too bad for him.  It might be a better fit anyway, if he’s looking to mostly share his opinions.

3. The Chinese Professor Ad has been shooting around the blogosphere recently, and I blogged about it.  Since then, two of the Asian American student extras have stepped out on AngryAsianMan (see here and here) to say that they had incomplete information when they agreed to do it.  They both admit that they knew it was going to be a political ad.  I don’t think this ad is racist, but I see how it could possibly fan the flames of xenophobia.

I don’t know how I feel about the extras stepping forward to disown it either. I found it interesting to hear their views, but from their descriptions, it sounded like the producers were being totally honest with them, even if they didn’t reveal everything.  I think this is typical in acting gigs.  I never thought I’d say this, but if they didn’t take it, someone else would have.

4. Dr. Laura got in trouble for saying the N-word on the air when a black woman called in to talk about her white husband’s racist friends.  You can hear the whole thing here.  It’s pretty funny when you hear it straight out like this.  “N-r, N-r, N-r,” and Jon Stewart had an even funnier (if not someone mean) take here.

Still, I don’t think Dr. Laura was being racist.  Within the context of her use of the word, she was just making a point that was entirely logical, even if you don’t agree–“if black people can use it, why can’t I?”  I thought it was rather insensitive, and I disagree with her over the humor thing, but I don’t think it was something worth getting fired or pushed out over.

Think about it this way: if a member of the Asian Female Celebrity Club complained about her White husband’s friends’ racist behavior, would most Asian Americans be open and willing to listen? They probably should be…but would they?  People in the AA blogosphere have often talked about how Asian American activist groups are run by the AFCC.  I know it’s not a clear and even comparison given the overwhelming numbers of AF/WM and relatively few numbers of BF/WM, but I think it demonstrates that there probably is some sort of rationale behind what Dr. Laura may have been thinking–don’t people discuss these things before they get married? I disagree with her and am more inclined to agree with Jon Stewart’s implication that people don’t know the future when they marry, but I also don’t think that she should have been forced to quit over it either.

I think we as a country are getting oversensitive about race.  I know, I know…it’s a strange statement coming from a person who blogs mostly about race.  But I think we’ve come to the point where it’s become so easy to slam and shame someone for even addressing the issue.  I will make a disclosure: I usually drive out for lunch, and I often hear Dr. Laura on the radio around lunch time.  I think she helps a lot of people, even though I often disagree with her conservative, Bible-based advice.  I think it’s sad that she will be going off the air because of something that appeared racist but wasn’t.

Thoughts?

8 thoughts on “Thoughts on Dr. Laura Schlessinger and other racial stuff

  1. Jaewhan begins to see the light. :)

    I’m glad to see you admit that you mainly blog about race. You are now on my blogroll (whether you reciprocate is totally up to you), seeing as the majority of people on my blogroll also spend most of their time blogging about race.

  2. We probably agree on more things than we disagree on. I would love to discuss the issue of Asian evangelicals with you sometime in the future, as I know we hold similar views on the topic.

  3. Yes and No.
    There is still a big difference between Asian guys joking around using “Yo Chink!” than some white dude trying to explain that the world is being too PC by saying, “You know, there’s no way Asian guys are discriminated, we think they are all smart. And Chink isn’t really a slur, it hasn’t got any negative meanings to it. Yeah, you know, Ching Chong chinky chink chink.”

    The black woman might be whinging a bit, but there’s plenty of ways to tell her that instead of pulling out the N-word.

    As for AFCC, I learn a while ago not to care about those that doesn’t care about us.

  4. I agree with you, N. It’s definitely insensitive.

    My points were (I’m sure I have more, but these are just the ones coming to mind right now):

    1. She brings up a legitimate logical point, even if she was crude. I was really happy when the NAACP “buried” the word a few years back:
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-04-30-n-word-funeral_N.htm
    I think it’s divisive for one group to promote the word through the media and then get upset when someone repeats it.

    2. She shouldn’t have been pressured to cancel her show for that crudeness. It could’ve been an opportunity for dialogue.

    AZN:

    Thanks for adding me to your blogroll. Thanks for adding “Ask a Korean” too. This way I don’t feel lonely being the only non-racist, non-HBD, non-PUA site on your blogroll. Hopefully there will be more of us in the future. Hopefully there will someday be a turnaround where we’ll have universal love for all people. I’m hopeful, man!

  5. Byron. Congrats (?) on being accepted on well-to-do whiteboy’s blogroll.

    If East Asians scream ‘racism’, then it’s justified in the name of equality and respect. Not sure which direction you are going to take this blog or what direction western East Asian Culture is going to take but the reality of social equality and respect wont happen until there is equal representation in the media and none of this fear-based stuff.

    Because media, as it always had been, and even more so since social media estranged human contact, is only where it counts.

    Re : the professor ad.

    Yes, it’s the norm for the production team not to give all the details to the background artists, and yes if these students hadn’t taken the job some others would, but the point is that IF THESE STUDENTS WERE TOLD THAT THE AD WAS AN ANTI-CHINA AD do you think anyone would have signed up? At the very least it would have separated those who care, from those who don’t…right?

    Fact is, the students involved as extras were deceived into taking part in an ad that as you say:

    ‘I don’t think this ad is racist, but I see how it could possibly fan the flames of xenophobia.’

    Re: The ‘Dr’ Laura incident.

    Check out this youtube comment on the video:

    ‘It’s been over 400 years and white’s still don’t know the difference between the word “nigger” & “nigga”. Lol… You will never hear a Black person say the word “Nigger”. But we will say “nigga” all day long. Lol. Get use to it white folks, you can’t say neither without losing your job or getting your ass beat. WELCOME TO AMERICA! LOL!’

    Didnt 90’s US comedians like Chris Rock decide to ( was it started by Richard Pryor?) by add ‘a’ instead of ‘er’ used it to subvert the original word? Problem is ,when black culture becomes popular and took off in the mainstream, this word also became ‘accepted’. I wonder if an east asian comedian used the ‘Chink’ word would that mean it’s okay for everyone to say it? No, because if you’ve been called it at school, and the whole slanty eyes thing, that’s the last thing you’ll use in a standup act. Unless you’re just going for shock value.

    Which succeeds in creating the emotionally numbed culture we all enjoy today.

    Also if you listen to the end of the recording , you can tell she knows she’s lost her job by then. For how long I wonder. Rick Sanchez-like time? Anyway maybe she enjoyed sharing her epitaph with her bodyguard and team of basketball players.

    I’ve been reading the stuff you guys did on fighting44’s and it was one solid place to discuss , intellectualize and help create a way forward, even though some of it was tongue in cheek, it had a serious intent in it’s search for truth.

    I’ve also listened recently to all your podcasts, all of them had some real great insightful content. The one that was supposedly technically,’ the worse podcast ever’ i thought the content was great. http://www.bigwowo.com/2008/12/gender-divide-podcast/ and more people who care, need to hear it. So it’s not ‘all in the mind’…

    And, Frank Chin. Listening to that charlie chan podcast again…

    Hearing Frank’s passionate respect and admiration for the Chinese warlord: Guan Gung, Suddenly it all made sense. While modern western man is heading down a ‘this is the modern world and men look after babies’ route, East Asian man needs to do the opposite – and Guan Gung is our role model( in my mind). Guan Gung was not only typically alpha, which i know a lot of guy’s don’t agree with , but he had principle, integrity, righteousness. Thats why both HK police AND triads pay respects to him. These should be the new founding principles of East Asian culture.

    I totally empathize with your personal ( financial?) responsibilities being a family man but don’t let those get in the way of finding , hoping, and encouraging, a sense of cultural identity for western East Asian Identity or in your case, Asian Americans.

    At the same time, the fact you are a comfortably settled family man doesn’t position you as an ideal ‘voice’ of east asian frustration but i don’t see anyone else stepping up?

    Western East Asians still need to shout louder. Sometimes I think our countries were so fucked and colonized by the west over and over historically, that we ended up fighting amongst ourselves and end up worshipping HE /IT who fucked us up in the first place. Yes we bought into assimilation, but correct me if I’m wrong historically, assimilation was AFTER colonization…wasn’t it?

    Recession, no recession, people still need a cultural identity. And in a positive sense, it can mean showing how great we are as individuals.

    And I wish you would fucking purify your site from that little white condescending troll, azn of reason. Intellectual trolls are still trolls. Viewpoints of an intellectually narcissistic rich white kid don’t really belong on here, or do they?

    Nice to have other opinions but Cultural identity is something western east asians need to sort out for ourselves as individuals and as a culture, because WE have to live it, right?

    And i just found your i-phone ad post, with comments discovering that it wasn’t just ‘a mistake’ pairing a white guy with asian girl when the original chinese ad has the same girl in it and has this:

    http://www.apple.com.cn/iphone/features/facetime.html

    Western Media subterfuge. Sneaky. Pretending to Be Your Friend. Then you’re hooked. Like Opium. Makes me sound like a whining baby but you know what? Fuck assimilation. Just because it’s not ‘in’ to say ‘ the man’ doesn’t exist… does it mean he no longer exists? Does it mean his scientific genetically superior statistically recorded information is the way forward?

    No, it just means he’s now called ‘azn of reason’ :D

    To me Intellectualism’s value is in searching for truths not drowning in intellectual vanity. Fuck ‘we are the world. ‘ The world is a confused shithole that needs a vicious cleansing. Recession may make us all suffer in the same boat, but we still need cultural respect. I don’t think it’s an accident that China is labelled as ‘next economic superpower’ but at the same time is also still desperately searching for its own cultural identity in its massive and increasing divide between rich and poor.

    The problem is east asians don’t trust each other enough because like I said we have been so historically fucked and divided and all we left now is to be ‘grateful’ for our jobs and business and scared to lose face. The only problem with that is that ‘the man’ has taken advantage of that and is spoon-feeding it back to us for our sins. Money does not buy you respect. It only appears that way. Look at Rich China’s building new apartments that normal no-one can afford to live in . Look at poor school infrastructures that collapsed in earthquakes. Next economic superpower? Why is fear always the ruling emotion, and never compassion?

    Separate your middle-class aspirations from your East-Asian activism/idealism/awareness. In the definition of Truthful Cultural Identity , It’s a typical trap most East Asians fall into.

  6. Thanks, VOFC! It’s really great to know that an intelligent and compassionate person is listening and reading our stuff here. I’m taking a quick break from the blog, but there will be more cool stuff coming in the future.

  7. I’m a Muslim (of non-Arab decent) and it took me awhile after reading your article to realize that racism often does have a double standard. I often used to support blacks in their arguments regarding the N-word, but I now realize that you are right, and that as a whole, our country is becoming over-sensitive about issues of race. I realized that over the years, especially after the events of September 11, I have been the butt of a variety of racial slurs, including “sand-nigger” and “towel-head”. I’ve never really let it bother me – I know that some people are just ignorant. However, I also realize that because of racial stigma towards the N-word, those same people that made jokes about me would NEVER call a black man a “nigger”. Likewise, I also know that most black people would be EXTREMELY offended if you even used the N-word around them, while moderately few people from other races would be bothered by words such as “cracker”, “chink” etc. Thus, I do understand Dr. Laura’s argument. We don’t realize how unfairly stigmatized the N-word has actually become. Can you even imagine a situation in reverse, where a black radio host was fired for using the word “cracker” to make a point? Racism is racism, not blackism.

  8. You know the thing about Dr. Laura? People who listened to her show regularly know that she is conservative, and that she has a “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality with all her advice. I don’t think she’s racist against black people, she was simply remaining consistent to her overall philosophy of not letting people bother you with their comments AND avoiding people who piss you off. It wasn’t the most sensitive thing to say on air, but…this is the hard thing…I can’t imagine Dr. Laura giving any other advice that could be consistent with the rest of her advice.

    I used to listen to her on my lunch break. I think her flight from public radio is the public’s loss. She helped a lot of people.

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