Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a radio talk show host whose program specializes in telling women in abusive relationships how to hide bruises so they don’t look ugly for their husbands, is under fire for diverging from her usual talking points to attack a black caller for being hypersensitive to racism because her white husband’s friends kept asking her what black people think. She also managed to drop the N-bomb 11 times, accused black people of voting for Obama just because he was black, and said that black people have no right to complain about racism because Obama is the president. For Dr. Laura, and other aging, rich, white racists uncomfortable about these changing times, I have compiled a list of tactics, techniques, and concerns to keep in mind when discussing race so that you are not accidentally revealed as the moronic, undeserving bigot that you are.
- Act like you don’t know black people all secretly know each other and think the same way about everything.
This was the very issue that the caller called to complain about. Obviously, black people are in constant communication with one another via a Borg-like hive mind that communicates via secret handshakes and family reunions and Tyler Perry movies and unintelligible rap lyrics and community involvement, but black people still tend to bristle at the notion that they are not so much an individual as a non-specific member of a collective entity.
- Do not refer to that collective entity as “black-think.”
Take a second to “white-think” why this might be upsetting.
- Don’t presume that comedy will protect you from claims of racism.
This is an appealing idea because everyone loves to laugh, even black people, so how can they be upset with a perfectly timed, brilliantly placed n-word? The problem is that, if you are an old rich white woman, you are not funny. Everyone is terrified of you because your money makes you powerful, and when you say crazy things everyone gets upset because of that thing where there’s a little truth in every joke and, oh God, you really believe the crazy things you’re saying. Also, obliquely referring to an episode of Def Comedy Jam from 20 years ago does not make your using the n-word funny, and a person being offended by that presumption is not offended because they lack of a sense of humor. I, as a white person, was offended on behalf of comedy.
- Do not cite the black person whom you hired to protect you and your wealth from poor people who might resent how rich you are as an example of a dear black friend.
He hates you, and if you didn’t pay him he would happily feed you to a bear.
- Do not refer to someone taking your words out of context as them “NAACPing” you.
Shirley Sherrod, speaking at an NAACP meeting, was the victim of that extra-contextual editing. The proper verb would be “Breitbarting.” Also, you should probably have hoped that people took your n-word out of context, because seeing it in context just increases the amount of time that your ignorance gets seared into my brain.
- Do not make an apology afterwards wherein you imply that the only mistake you made was fully articulating “the n-word.”
The mistake you made was fully articulating your crazy-ass ideas.