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Published On 08-20-2010 , 9:22 PM

DOES Laura Schlessinger speak for white America? The well-known and controversial syndicated radio host and author may be, in her latest diatribe, giving us all a walk down Race Avenue, Anytown, U.S.A.

Nita Hanson, radio code name Jade, an African-American woman from Colorado Springs, who is a regular listener to the program and happens to be married to a white man, called Schlessinger with a question on a racial issue.

Hanson didn't get any useful advice, but listeners that day - and now everyone across the country - were given the opportunity to examine the question of race in America.

Much has been made of Dr. Laura's spouting out the "N" word 11 times while referring to rappers' and black comedians' constant use of the derogatory term. She was upset about the word being holy ground for anyone of non-color to walk on.

Hmm, political correctness doesn't allow this topic to cross the color line. White folks in personal conversations aren't going to risk the trouble it might cause them in a friendship to talk about this double standard.

But what about it?

What if I always wrote what I really thought in the moment? Should I be willing to risk the baring of my true soul when it comes to being black in white America?

Talk-show hosts don't have the benefits of a delete key. They get on a verbal roll and can't edit as they go. They don't know where a conversation with a caller is going when they get into it and what they say is exactly who they are. The old expression "the truth will out" has real meaning here for Dr. Laura.

I edit as I go. Eliminate entire paragraphs. Reword and rewrite. Think and then maybe choose another phrase.

Do I put into print everything I think? Please! But I most certainly have personal conversations where the edit button isn't available. Do I have conversations about race that I would never put into print? Most certainly.

While I usually don't comment on letters to the editor in the newspaper regarding my column, a recent one questioning my statement "the need to interpret white America for our offspring" can't be ignored because it fits too well with this discussion.

The writer advises: "Smith should stop talking about race and start talking about anyone who is unemployed, who've lost their job, who is low income, or generally needs help. People need to look at a person's character, not their color, religion or ethnicity."

The black parents who don't  continually talk to their  children about race in America are not fulfilling the responsibility of preparing them for the real world.

Black parents, as well as others, shouldn't take the Dr. Laura controversy as one woman's ranting - we all need to examine it for the deeper meaning.

To believe race doesn't matter in America is, simply put,  wishful thinking.

To believe Dr. Laura's words aren't actually what a lot of white Americans think is, simply put,  some more wishful thinking.

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1. My problem is Dr. Laura does not represent all white Americans.

I know there is racism in America and I agree as a black, Mexican, Asian, white or any parent, they should talk to their children about race and the prejudices they will encounter.

Parents should prepare their children to be proud of who they are, but respect all races, and not use stereotypes against any race.

This is not wishful thinking.

Smith should eliminate the idea that she is a black parent but rather a parent who believes in helping the race issue, not increasing it by emphasizing white America to her children. She should implore them to work to change society.

It takes one person at a time, and she has the forum to do so.

We should all check out the Southern Poverty Law Center and their work in the United States regarding hate groups.

- by Kim Cleveland, 09-03-2010, 8:53 PM

2. What you said about "The black parent who doesn't continually talk to her children about race is not fulfilling her responsibility" rings true. Not just for black mothers but for mother of bi-racial children as well. I recently said the same thing to a white associate of mine who is married to a Black man. I informed her that just because she has a "bi-racial" child, does not mean he will not be looked upon as a black child/man, and that she'd better keep him informed that he is a black man, and keep him around the black side of his family and not just her white side.

Ever since the 1800's and before, the white man has created laws regarding race to specifically exclude black people from the privileges of the whites. The octoroons %28Creoles%29 presented such a problem for the whites that a law was created that even if a person was 1/8 black, the person was to be considered black and treated as such. This is now 2010. Maybe the law is outdated, but the EYES of the white man are still in place. When white people SEE someone who is not lily-white with straight hair and keen Caucasian features, that person is considered black. Cracks me up, because they really stare and try to figure out what's going on...the mother is white, but the child...hmmm.

This woman's been introducing her child to only white children, attending white private schools, showing him only her white friends. In the meantime...

She needs to know that no matter how many white people he's around...her son will not be considered white, but black. In fact, at 4 years old, some of his peer group have already said to him that he "looks darker" than they do %28this is the mother's quoted info%29.

And those masked-face so-called friends of hers are secretly looking at the child as black also...even as they smile and coo on the outside...

I told her she is doing the child a terrible injustice to try to raise him as a white boy.

The woman quit speaking to me. Oh Malcolm X once said, there will be a time when "The chickens have %28will%29 come home to roost."

- by RJC, 08-23-2010, 1:26 PM

3. Virgil,
Personally, I do not use the word. BUT using the word and calling someone the "N" word, for me, are two different things. I do not join the carrying-on over the Dr. Laura controversy. I guess to answer your question, I'd have to say it is in the "spirit/intent" of the usage. For me, comedians are funny. Rappers are offensive. Rappers I'm sure would defend their use and explain both the spirit and the intent. Can white people explain? Well, there was Dog the Bounty hunter with a tirade some years ago. Go to columns section, here on the site, type in Dog the Bounty Hunter in the search and see what I said back then. Everybody has got their own take on the word and the controversy over it is not going away any time soon.

I never talk back on this forum - I just usually read what y'all have to say BUT Virgil, since you asked the question, you deserve an answer.
- by Shirlee Smith, 08-21-2010, 6:17 PM

4. So Ms. Smith, what do you have to say about the basic concept that seem to make it OK for black people to use the n word?

J. Jackson said the word was dead -

- by Virgil, 08-21-2010, 6:06 PM

5. Dr. Laura has been brash with many callers, usually giving callers unique advice, such as, "Tell it like it is", "Hang up and call Child Protective Services right now.", and the like. Dr. Laura does seem to be a child's advocate. I've never detected any race differentiation in her conversations with callers. Dr. Laura, however, in my opinion, does come off as having a bias against women in general, and usually her advice holds women accountable for most of the problems that women call her about. Surely, women can't be the reason for all problems! However, many women that she does give advice to call back and thank her. I think her books speak more about her than her radio show. Dr. Laura has written 2 books that I am especially fond of reading, "The Ten Commandments" %28I think that's the title%29, and "Bad Childhood, Good Life". People have different ways of making a point, and as she admits, this one wasn't a very good way. Dr. Laura's son is in the armed forces right now, and it's quite possible that she's very worried, and sometimes worry manifests itself in different ways. Lately, it seems that she is a little more strident than she usually is, and that worry may be causing her undue stress. I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt. I, personally, wouldn't call her for advice because I know I'd get pounced on!....and I'm a white woman. But because she's such a stellar child's advocate, I have a great deal of respect for her in that area. For what it's worth, that's my opinion.
- by Carol Hambarian, 08-21-2010, 5:54 AM

6. Shirlee,

Tell it like it is. We all are "guilty" frlom time to time. We just learn to "work on it". Eventually we become better because it causes us to think. At least some of us.

- by Hank Wilfong, 08-21-2010, 5:14 AM