In the immortal words of Tracy Morgan, "Welcome to post-racial America!"
Sadly, it looks and sounds a lot like it did before. Mel Gibson was recently caught warning his ex-girlfriend that she was going to be "raped by a pack of n***ers" in a secretly taped tirade. And now, relationship advice guru Dr. Laura Schlessinger has not-so-secretly been caught dropping a whopping 11 N-bombs on her popular radio show.
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On Tuesday, a black woman named "Jade" called Dr. Laura with a problem: she was upset that her white husband and his friends constantly used the N-word and other racial slurs around her. Although it seemed clear that Jade was looking for some guidance on how to confront her husband about the situation, Dr. Laura took the opportunity to try to debate what is racist by playing a little game of sticks-and-stones.
Dr. Laura offered that the N-word isn't really that offensive because: "Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO and listen to a black comic, and all you hear is n***er, n***er, n***er. I don't get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing. But when black people say it, it's affectionate. It's very confusing."
When Jade bristled at Dr. Laura's N-bomb brigade, the exchange became a bit more heated. Jade tried to drive the point home that her husband and friends were white men using a racial slur and Dr. Laura just kept harping on the fact that it's OK for black men to use the same racial slur. After Jade hung up, Dr. Laura finally offered some relationship advice and, boy was it a doozy: "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry outside of your race." (Read transcripts and listen to audio at HuffPo.) Are Interracial Couples The Final Taboo?
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So, here's the thing. Dr. Laura does have a point about the N-word being "OK" when used among blacks. If we're ever going to drive the point home that a word is offensive and shouldn't be used, then it should be off-limits for everyone. Remember what Tracy Morgan's pal Tina Fey said to all those Mean Girls? "You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores." Well, the same goes for gay men who call each other "f*gs" and for black men who call each other "n***ers." Sure, sometimes words are just words, and it's the meaning behind them that is offensive. But to avoid confusion, we're either going to all have to stop calling each other names or stop being so sensitive about being called names. It has to be one or the other. All of these gray areas aren't helping to bridge the gap between black and white.