An Open Letter to Dr. Laura

 The Dr. Laura I Remember

Hi Dr. Laura

You may not remember me, but I remember well the night we met.  Let me refresh your memory.  It was at a book party for the prolific and erudite Rabbi Shmuley Boetec about six years ago.  It was a posh affair on Fifth Avenue where you and I were guest speakers.  I was not familiar with your work beyond the fact that you were considered a prominent and well respected relationship expert.  In fact, that was the raison d’ etre for the discussion, as Rabbi Shmuley was also a celebrated relationship expert, having written the wildly popular Book: “Kosher Sex.”  I admired your spunk and intellect that night, as you boldly pointed out that you disagreed with some of the learned Rabbi’s relationship advice because he was a male chauvinist!

You might remember that I was the last of an impressive array of speakers, all of whom had been given strict time limits; I was the last to speak precisely because Rabbi Shmuley wanted me to speak with no limits.  This was because Schmuley and I were co-hosting a radio show on WWRL AM in New York at the time, he had heard my take on class, ethnicity and race in the US and he wanted the audience to hear my analysis of Afro-American / Jewish relations in historical perspective.

We had known each other less than a week, but after our first encounter on air he began to read up on me.  He discovered a feature story I had written in Emerge magazine, “Blacks and Jews: Our Tattered Alliance,” which had attracted a lot of attention in news paper reviews around the country and resulted in my being invited to present a lecture on the topic at Harvard – a recording of which I shall soon place online.  Shmuley, who has a great admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King – whom he has repeatedly said “has done more to bring the teachings of the ancient Hebrew prophets to life than any Rabbi I know” – thought my views on the subject of blacks and Jews in America would bring some much needed clarity to the muddled thinking on this subject.

Considering the uniqueness of the event – the audience was packed with blacks and Jews of varying class and educational backgrounds, religious and secular – I’m sure you must remember it despite your whirlwind schedule.  Hence you may recall the tremendous ovation my presentation received. For no one greeted my message more enthusiastically than you,  as you embraced me warmly and showered me with accolades.   I had no doubt that your expression of fraternity was genuine, as you gave me your private phone number and invited me to call and chat sometimes.

 Rabbi Shmuley

 spreading a message of racial Harmony in the US

That’s why I was shocked and surprised when I heard of the racial imbroglio that you now find yourself in.  I confess that I have not followed your career closely, but when I found myself being stalked by a deranged female fan of my radio show, you were the first person I considered calling for advice as to how to handle the situation.  Especially as she was using the internet to launch anonymous attacks and I had read where you had been the victim of several such attacks.  But I had written your number in a phone book and never transferred it to my computer file and when I looked it up the ink had faded on a couple of the digits and  I couldn’t make out the entire number; I started to call your show but thought the better of it.  But judging from the way you “helped” the young black female caller that touched off the present firestorm,  perhaps I made the right decision.

However it was then that I learned how big you had become.  According to the information I am reading now you are the biggest female radio show host in the nation – and the only radio host of either gender who has your own You Tube channel.   Now it has all suddenly come crashing down…what happened?  How could it all end with a single phone call?   I guess you must be wondering the same thing.  After taking a close look at the incident that precipitated your demise I would attribute your dramatic fall from grace to two fundamental factors: A lifetime of white Privilege and the arrogance it produces in dealing with nonwhites, and the hubris that results from feelings of omnipotence when one is constantly sought out by others for their superior wisdom in dealing with the trials and tribulations that life presents to us all.

Unless I am to assume that you had dropped a tab of acid, or ingested some other mind altering drug, when you were browbeating the black female caller from Colorado who sought your advice in dealing with friends and family of her white husband that constantly accosted her with racially offensive remarks, then the explanation for your behavior must either be the reasons suggested above, or you are indeed a cold blooded racist!

Since I grew up in the apartheid South in the hey day of white supremacy I think I know an avowed racist cracker when I see one, and you just don’t strike me as that.  But when ignorance, arrogance, and a sense of white entitlement are combined with hubris the result may well be a distinction without a difference.  How dare you assume that you know best when Afro-Americans should be offended by the use of the word Nigger?  Who appointed you the arbiter of our sensibilities?

Failing to heed the adage, “When you are already in a hole stop digging,” you attempted to justify your racist drivel by accusing the young black woman – who went by the nomme de Plume “Jade’ – of being “too sensitive.”  Then you offered the silly half baked explanation that because black comedians say “Nigger” it should be cool for whites to say it: “”I don’t get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it’s a horrible thing,” you screeched.  And you accused her of “NAACPing me,” what the hell was that all about?  I cannot imagine a response that more perfectly combines ignorance, arrogance and white chauvinism.  Since you are a Jew let me put this in terms that you will surely be able to understand.  Unless you really are as silly and shallow as you appear to be in this instance.

Have you ever heard Jewish comics perform in the Borscht Belt resorts of the Catskills?  Well I have.  When I was in the boxing business I had occasion to spend time in the training camps of the great pugilists Michael Spinks and Timmy Witherspoon, who trained at The Concord and Kutchers.  The way the deal worked was that the fighters were to make themselves as visible as possible while training there, which included having dinner in the main dining room, which is also where the floor shows were staged.  The shows always included a comedian, that’s why these Borscht Belt resorts became the training ground for so many great Jewish comedians.

Minnie Tonka: Jewish Burlesque Commediene

Would Jews find this routine funny if performed by a black woman?

What struck me most emphatically about the performances of these comedians was that Jews were often the butt of their jokes.  Just like black comedians working the chittlin circuit – although the comics of the past had a better sense of the racial realities and far too much self respect to yell “Nigger!” in public.  Yet when the language of the Jewish comics is appropriated by outsiders it was considered anti-Semitic.  Just like when whites appropriate the language of those black comedians Afro-Americans consider it racist!   Furthermore the anti-Jewish epithet ‘Kike” is a term German Jews created to describe Jews from Eastern Europe.

But does that give others the right to use this term with impunity?  When put in these terms it is clear that your logic does not hold and your argument falls apart!  Furthermore, no group on earth is more sensitive to ethnic insults that American Jews!  You all even have an organization with a vast research capability that monitors not only what is said about Jews in the media – broadcast and print – but also scours academic and literary texts for arguments considered injurious not only to American Jewish interests, but that of the far away state of Israel as well.

It’s called the Anti-Defamation League, and the black community has no watch dog guarding our interests that even begins to approach the power of Abe Foxman, who has destroyed quite a few careers of people for transgressions far less odious than yours!  If you don’t know about this, then you should Google the late great investigative journalist Robert I. Freedman and read his work on the ADL.  So why didn’t you tell Jade “Don’t do an Abe Foxman on me?”  You accuse black people of applying a “double standard” because we tolerate remarks from black comedians that we find offensive when others use them against us – although there is a clear difference in intent if your are laughing with me or laughing at me – yet Jews are just as guilty of this.  Double standards indeed!

 

Abe The Grand Inquisitor!

Why you did not recognize this is anybody’s guess; only you know for sure whether the motive was ignorance or arrogance.  I strongly suspect it was a bit of both – as opposed to the plain old racism of which you stand accused.  In other words, like most white media talking heads, you just didn’t have a clue what the fuck you were talking about!   According to the information I have been able to acquire about your academic training you hold a Doctorate in physiology from Columbia University.  Although that is an impressive achievement, it in no way qualifies you to pontificate authoritatively on matters that require knowledge of sociology, psychology and history.  Which means that you were in over your head to begin with in attempting to answer the question the caller put to you; hence a little humility would have been in order rather than the haughty arrogance you displayed.

Perhaps people who call radio show hosts to seek advice on matters about which the host has no demonstrated competence – either in terms of academic credentials, demonstrated excellence in performance, or a written paper trail – deserve whatever they get.  But then, arrogant radio show hosts who offend entire sections of the population with racial or ethnic insults that encourage injurious behavior against the offended group deserve what they get too.  And the spectacle of a millionaire bloviator – who has amassed a fortune broadcasting opinions she is unqualified to offer  over 250 radio stations nation wide crying about her First Amendment Rights being violated when listeners complain – is ludicrous!

It is a rare occasion when true wisdom flows from the mouth of Howard Stern, but he is certainly right regarding your ridiculous whining about having your first Amendment Rights violated.  It remains to be seen if he is also right in his prediction that you are faking the funk when you say that you are going to retire from radio, and you may be sure that I shall watch your career moves with interests.  And I shall henceforth offer critical comments on your bloviations when the situation demands it.

But let us dwell a bit on the First amendment issue, because it is a dramatic illustration of the point I wish to make about your ignorance regarding history.  It also demonstrates my long standing contention that white commentators don’t necessarily have to know what they are talking about to be provided a platform to pontificate to the multitudes on critical issues.  The First Amendment was designed to prevent the government from suppressing unpopular speech, mainly speech critical of government itself.

It was conceived by men who knew all to well the tyranny that results from unchecked power because they had witnessed it under the monarchies of Europe.  This is the same impulse that led the architects of the Constitution to prohibit the government from establishing a state religion; for they had also witnessed the power of the Church of England.  What the first Amendment does not do, nor was it ever intended to do, is protect people like you from being muzzled either by your boss – in this case the station owners who broadcast your shows – or the machinations of the marketplace.

Therefore if parties who are offended by your caustic pontifications decide to boycott your sponsors unless they dump you, that’s not a violation of your First Amendment Rights!  And you discredit yourself as a serious commentator on important societal issues every time you say so.  Furthermore, it marks you as a hypocrite since the organized Jewish community is the best in the country at playing this game and I have never heard you utter a peep about it.

Of course –  like Rush and Sean and Glenn – you appeal mostly to mindless sycophants, the kind of people  the late great Dean of American letters and insightful judge of human foible and folly H. L. Mencken called “Boobus Americanus.”  Thus it is no surprise that you have received thousands of e-mails supporting you in your mindless folly.  But there is one e-mail that you must publicly disavow – and the sooner the better for the sake of your reputation – and that’s the one from Silly Sarah Palin, the verbose Alaskan barbarian.  The reasons why you must reject her offer of sisterly support is first because you are on record calling her a ignoramous and an unfit mother after John McCain choose her as his presidential running mate – thus you will look like a shameless charlatan if you don’t – and second because she is a transparent racist who is apparently willing to incite a race war in America if it serves her interests: political and personal.

Palin’s Role Model

 

 A Real Vicious Bitch!

Sarah is, by her own admission. “a pit bull in lipstick;” which is synonymous with an evil dangerous bitch!  And you cannot lie down with dogs without getting up with fleas.  How you handle your newly minted relationship with Sarah Palin – who is not only a transparent racist but is as shallow as a dry creek bed – will tell us even more about who you really are than anything you have said or done thus far.  As the Zen Master said to his devotee: “We’ll see.”

 

Ps: You say that you want to debate these questions: Really?

Well I’m available 24/7, call me ASAP and let’s get it on!

 

******************

 

 As always, Playthell George Benjamin

Harlem, New York

August 21, 2010

One Response to “An Open Letter to Dr. Laura”

  1. […] she sent along an excellent blog post from Commentaries of the Times titled “An Open Letter to Dr. Laura.”  I confess that I’ve not been following this tale too closely, as it has the ring of […]

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