Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the outspoken radio talk show host who was derided into resignation over an August on-air controversy, is set to return “uncensored, expanded, and exclusive to” SiriusXM Satellite Radio in January. True to form, Schlessinger plans to come out swinging on the very topic which drove her from terrestrial airwaves.
In confirming the exclusive arrangement to bring her talk show to satellite radio beginning Jan, 3, Schlessinger said Monday she intends to introduce roundtable discussions. Within the first three weeks one topic will be race relations and free speech.
“Racism, bigotry and hate,” Schlessinger told the Hollywood Reporter, “what they really are, instead of the politically-inspired efforts to eliminate dissenting opinions or state facts.”
This is a worthwhile and timely topic. However, Schlessinger must approach it from an angle which keeps the message intact upon delivery.
The content of Schlessinger’s argument, during the now infamous call which nearly ended her career, was completely subverted by her use of the n-word. There are certain cultural triggers which abruptly end rational discourse, and a 63-year-old white conservative’s use of the n-word (no matter the context) is one of them.
The introduction of roundtable discussions is a wise move. It will enable Schlessinger’s views to be refracted by others and better understood.
If she focuses upon the definition of words and their legitimate function, she will be able to provoke precisely the kind of debate we need on race relations. Here’s the argument I would make.
Though they are often used interchangeably, there are important differences between prejudice, discrimination, racism, and bigotry. Prejudice is simply a snap judgment informed by instinct and previous experience. Another word for discrimination is discernment. We discriminate rightfully and necessarily every day. Neither prejudice nor discrimination are inherently wrong.
Where we arrive at a problem is when prejudice is held – irrationally – in light of evidence to the contrary, and then informs discrimination. It is enlightening to consider how Random House defines racism.
a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
Note racism is not merely the belief that there are “inherent differences among the various human races.” How else would race be defined? Instead, racism is the belief that such differences “determine cultural or individual achievement.” The final component of racism is the belief that such differences in potential achievement justify unequal treatment under the law.
This is a very specific definition that, when considered honestly, is rarely applicable in modern American society. Yet, the term is bandied about with reckless abandon, often in reference to matters of simple discernment.
Bigotry is a word likewise misused. Random House is once again clear.
stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.
The willingness to discuss such creeds is therefore antithetical to bigotry. In fact, as Schlessinger points out in her latest blog post on the subject, it is the intransigence of her critics which best exemplifies bigotry.
Attacking cultural Marxism in this manner, appealing to definition and its application, Schlessinger will be able to provoke much needed debate on a crucial cultural topic. The N-word needn’t be included.
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota’s North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.