Gregory Kane: Dr. Laura should be the least of the Urban League's worries 

Drop Dr. Laura’s syndicated talk radio show? That’s what the National Urban League has called for.

America’s latest racial controversy erupted last week, when a black woman named Jade called Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s show. Jade said her husband is white, and that his white friends or relatives would sometimes make racist remarks in her presence.

That revelation led to a discussion of what has been called the “dreaded N-word”: who uses it, who should use it, and whether it’s ever appropriate to use it.

Jade said she thinks the use of the word is racist; Schlessinger answered that “black comics on HBO” use the word all the time.

Here’s some free advice for Dr. Laura: citing what HBO executives and producers will allow as an example of anything is not a good idea. The network is notorious for giving airtime to comedians who seem to pride themselves on being deliberately offensive. And HBO is the same network that ruthlessly stereotyped Italian-Americans in the mercifully departed show The Sopranos.

Schlessinger’s take on race relations didn’t go well with folks at the NUL. They issued a press release last Friday, which read in part:

“The National Urban League today called on Talk Radio Network to drop the Dr. Laura show from syndication, and urged Dr. Laura Schlessinger to educate herself about racism.”

Quoting NUL President and CEO Marc Morial directly, the statement added:

“The problem is not that Dr. Schlessinger used the ‘N-word’ repeatedly, though that is offensive enough. Her comments to the caller showed a breathtaking insensitivity and ignorance about racial dynamics in the United States.”

Morial will get no argument from me on those comments. Had they come from anyone at the NAACP, I’d be a bit more leery. But the NUL these days is every thing the NAACP is not, which is to say the NUL is still a bona fide civil rights organization.

The NAACP is nothing but a hatchet wing of the Democratic Party, still arrogantly trying to hoodwink the American public into believing the organization is truly non-partisan.

Instead of an argument from me, Morial will get a plea. As offensive as Schlessinger’s remarks were, and as clueless as she seems about those “racial dynamics” in America, the NUL has much bigger fish to fry. That fish should be number one on the agenda of a major civil rights organization.

The fish isn’t police brutality. It isn’t the unemployment rate among black Americans. It isn’t education or the number of black men in jails and prisons. And it isn’t “structural inequality” either.

That fish would be the one that’s been left to rot and stink in black America the past four or five years: the glorification of the “gangsta” and criminal lifestyle among young black men, especially in music and manifested in the “Stop Snitching” phenomenon.

A few years ago, when the NAACP was on its campaign to get the government of Mexico to yank its “Memin Pinguin” stamp out of circulation, I called an NAACP spokesman and asked if the organization was just as upset by the cover of XXL Magazine that featured rapper Tony Yayo in an orange prison jumpsuit. I had no luck convincing the spokesman that the magazine cover was just as stereotypical and harmful as the stamp.

I’ve had a first cousin murdered because of the “Stop Snitching” mania; a Baltimore family of seven died because of it. The use of the N-word may offend us, but the “Stop Snitching” craze is KILLING us.

The NUL needs to kill and fry that “Stop Snitching” fish before moving on to Dr. Laura.

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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