Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not That Sensitive, Really

This post is intended mostly for non-Doctor Laura Schlessinger. The primary gist of the message is this: Black people aren't that sensitive. On average, they are probably no more or less sensitive than members of any other race.

It is true that some individuals who happen to be Black Americans are overly sensitive; this is also the case with many White Americans, Latino Americans, Asian Americans and other Americans. It's even true of non-Americans, like, say, Canadians, or Italians, or Greeks, or Laotians, or Kenyans, or Russians, or Chileans. Some people are too sensitive, which is, in any case, a subjective description, while others are not.

The reasons you toss around terms like "black think" and dismiss others as hypersensitive may be many and varied. We can't look inside your mind but based on what you say, it's pretty safe to infer that you are upset by the apparent double standard that permits black people in some circumstances to utter the dreaded "N" word while white people are universally castigated for using the same word. Let's keep this as simple as possible.

While many African-Americans employ the words "nigger" and "nigga", there is not universal agreement of the appropriateness of these terms within the Black community. Regardless of whether ninety percent of Blacks, fifty percent of Blacks, or ten percent of Blacks think it's okay for Chris Rock to say the word, they are almost universally agreed that you stepped way out of line by taunting your African-American caller with the same word.

You are almost certainly guilty of willful ignorance, as are many people who rail about double standards when, in fact, double standards surround us, consume us every day. Speaking very generally and depending on the situation, women can say things men can't say. Your friends can say things your casual acquaintances can't say. Your mother can say things your friends can't say. An objective observer with no agenda can say things your mother can't say. Doctors, real doctors, can say things almost nobody else can say, especially something like "you're fat." Why, then, is it such an outrage to you that there is less resistance to Jay Z saying "nigger" than you saying it? Jay Z doesn't try to do your job. He doesn't host a radio program dedicated to browbeating legions of sycophants, many of whom parrot your inane catchphrase the instant they get on the air. So why are you trying to do his job?

Maybe you're quitting your radio show to become a rapper. If so, perhaps you would allow for some suggestions on lyrical content. Please see below:

"My program and books kept gettin' bigga and bigga

Then I hit the airwaves saying 'nigga, nigga, nigga'

What's the matter, fool? This is my show!

Don't you ever turn the dial to HBO?

They're always spewing out racial epithets

Cursing and swearing just like they got Tourette's

Well, now it's my turn, I'm going off like a rocket

Anything to get more Benjys in my pocket!"

Pardon the digression; back to the original point. The reason it seems to you that Black people are so sensitive might be because it's always the most sensitive people, of any race, who get offended and complain. It may also be because it's hard for you to accept racism still exists so your knee-jerk reaction is to deny this and accuse others of hypersensitivity.

As to whether the individual caller who contacted you is overly sensitive, we'll never really know because you accused her of it too quickly and launched into a slur-ridded tirade. Based on what little we did learn from the transcripts, it's seems like her complaints were reasonable enough. She mentioned that her husband's white friends often asked her what "Black people" thought about a particular topic. That might not be such a terrible thing if it only happened once, but can you not see it getting tiresome, the idea that you appear to be the sole representative of a particular race and therefore becoming a kind of token? She also indicated her husband's white friends used the term "nigger" a lot. This is a pretty nasty thing to say in the presence of your friend's African-American wife and only the most unusual circumstances would make it acceptable.

Non-Doctor Schlessinger, you did the wrong thing this time, as you have admitted, but not for the right reasons. Now you say you're quitting radio to reclaim your First Amendment rights, as though they were somehow trampled because your words made people angry. You introduced the non-sequitur of President Obama and implied that Black people voted for him based solely on race. How do you know why people of any race do what they do? Why can't you grow up?

If Black people were overly sensitive en masse, why wouldn't they object to an NBA basketball coach with the name Vinny Del Negro? They don't object because that's his name and he can't help it. Remind us again who it was that objected to Barack Obama's middle name being Hussein. It wasn't Black people, was it?

Do Black people object to the racial jokes of programs like "Family Guy" and "South Park"? Some might, but only as individuals. A "South Park" episode on the controversy over the "N" word actually received praise from an organization called "Abolish the N Word". That's because Black people, and most people in general, got the joke. Remind us again who kicked up a massive fuss over various "South Park" episodes. It wasn't Black people, was it? Even Kanye West was amused, if somewhat wounded, by his depiction in an installment and that guy is pretty sensitive.

Non-Doctor Schelessinger, do you understand the historical circumstances that might lead Black people to be vigilant about racism? It's the same dynamic that makes Jewish people wary of oppression. It's the reason Protestants and Catholics don't always see eye to eye. There are examples of it all over the world: the past, sometimes even the very distant past, is persuasive. That doesn't mean every accusation of racism, or sexism, or hatred, or oppression is accurate but we understand what generates these feelings. It is easy enough for someone to suggest that we bury the past, let it rest, don't let it dominate us; it's not a terrible idea, but it's an unrealistic one.

No doubt you have been asked this before, but one is tempted to inquire how you got to be a non-Doctor when your mind seems to lack agility. How did you get through non-medical school without being able to think on your feet? Perhaps you don't lack intellect so much as your area of expertise is narrow. If that's the case, no wonder you host a radio show commenting about a wide variety of topics to millions of people.

This concludes the analysis of the recent furor over your boundless duncity. As a supplement, the list below displays other non-Doctors who are least as qualified--if not more so--as you to host a program about relationships, family, and social problems.

1. Dr. Pepper
2. Dr. Robert Hartley from "The Bob Newhart Show"
3. Anyone who has ever portrayed a Doctor on "Scrubs"
4. Dr. J (Julius Erving)
5. Dr. Funkenstein
6. Dr. Dunkenstein (Darrell Griffith)
7. Dr. Dunk (Darnell Hillman)
8. Dr. John (Mac Rebennack)
9. Dr. Dre
10. Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier
11. Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier
12. Dr. "Bones" McCoy
13. Dr. Richard Kimble

Sources: Wikipedia, The Root


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