Sharpton: Dr. Laura’s n-word rant was ‘despicable’

By David Edwards
Friday, August 13, 2010 10:48 EDT
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A conservative radio host that repeatedly used a racial epithet on the air has apologized but it may be too little too late.

Thursday night, Rev. Al Sharpton called Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s use of the n-word “despicable” and said her advertisers should be worried.

During a conversation with an African-American caller Tuesday who was concerned about racist comments by her white husband’s friends, Schlessinger used the n-word 11 times over a five minute period.

CALLER: How about the n-word though? The n-word has been thrown around –

SCHLESSINGER: Black guys use it all of the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic and all you here is n*****, n*****, n*****.

When the show returned from a commercial break, the caller confronted Schlessinger but she continued to use the word.

CALLER: I hope everybody heard it.

SCHLESSINGER: They did, and I’ll say it again.

CALLER: So what makes it OK for you to say the word?

SCHLESSINGER: n*****, n*****, n***** is what you hear on HB — why don’t you let me finish a sentence?


SCHLESSINGER: Don’t take things out of context. Don’t double NAACP me.

The doctor went on to say that the caller was being too sensitive. “If you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race,” she said.

Schlessinger posted an apology on her blog Wednesday.

I talk every day about doing the right thing. And yesterday, I did the wrong thing.

I didn’t intend to hurt people, but I did. And that makes it the wrong thing to have done.

I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the “n” word all the way out – more than one time. And that was wrong. I’ll say it again – that was wrong.

HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell told CNN’s Rick Sanchez Thursday that a simple apology wasn’t going to make the controversy go away.

“She apparently thinks she can say anything she wants and there’s going to be an uproar and she’s going to say I’m sorry and it’s going to go away,” said Velez-Mitchell. “I don’t think it’s going to happen this time around. I don’t think she can put the genie back in the bottle.”

Appearing on CNN Thursday, Sharpton suggested that advertisers might want to think twice about associating with Schlessinger.

“The advertising and the people that carry her show should be very concerned about someone who freely using this word over and over again,” he said.

But the reverend was most incensed by Schlessinger’s suggestion that sensitive people shouldn’t marry out of their race.

“I mean, that is absolutely despicable,” said Sharpton. “That means if you’re that sensitive, don’t marry out of your race. So, now, we’ve gone from her just repeating the N-word to her saying interracial marriage maybe should not be for those that have sensitivity that she would call hyper, and then she went back into using the N-word.”

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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