I like playing Devil’s Advocate. Hell, I even like the Keanu Reeves/Al Pacino movie The Devil’s Advocate. So I defended Don Imus. And I defended Michael Richards.
But I’m having trouble defending Dr. Laura….
Dom Imus got excited and made a second-long racist comment. Michael Richards was upset, trying to say the most hurtful thing possible, and trying (unsuccessfully) to be funny.
I can forgive those offenses.
But I can’t forgive Dr. Laura.
When her caller complained of racism, Dr. Laura suspected hypersensitivity, before even hearing the potentially racist offence. When the caller said the offence was her white husband’s family’s use of the N-word, Dr. Laura used the N-word herself, about dozen times. And when the caller said, “I can't believe someone like you is on the radio spewing out the N-word,” Dr Laura replied, “If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race.”
I have no idea whether Dr. Laura is a racist, but I have a pretty good idea that she’s a mean person. Unlike Imus’s comment, this one went on for minutes. And unlike Richards’s rant, this one was totally unprovoked.
Dr. Laura had been waiting to give this speech.
Now, if I had to play Devil’s Advocate and defend Dr. Laura, I’d argue that she had good intentions. I’d argue that her use of the N-word was a misguided attempt at immersion therapy. I’d argue that she really did believe her caller was hypersensitive, and that she really did believe that using the N-word multiple times would show her caller that the N-word isn’t so bad, after all. (Similar to the way your therapist might walk in the room wearing a clown mask if you had Coulrophobia.)
Of course, the caller wasn’t hypersensitive; the N-word is destructive, and Dr. Laura isn’t a psychologist. She’s a physiologist.
So why the hell was the media so much harder on Imus and Richards?