(This is an excerpt of John's weekly column in The Loop 21)
So you’ve probably heard that Dr. Laura Schlessinger will be back on the air in a new show debuting on Sirius satellite radio. I wasn’t shocked mind you - she was bound to resurface peddling a “self-help” book or some other nonsense - but it did leave a certain distaste in my mouth as it should yours.
My reaction stemmed from two things:
(1) The fake victim: After Dr. Laura was lambasted for saying the n-word to a caller repeatedly without reason, she played the victim role so well I’m surprised she didn’t do Larry King laid out on a stretcher with an IV attached. (Dr. Laura)
(2) Another nail in the coffin of the Post-racial debate: It’s raged for years but peaked in earnestness when Obama won the presidential election in 2008. The myth goes that since America has elected a black president the tide has officially turned and no longer will society define one’s skills and abilities by their race.
It’s kind of where "I Have a Dream" turns into "I Have a Fantasy."
Fact is, when mainstream radio personalities like Dr. Laura, Rush Limbaugh, and Don Imus hustle vile racist comments for profit it says something about the state of race in our society. It’s one thing when a shock jock says it, but it’s much different when hosts are respected, have influence, and factor into our political or societal discourse.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re in the entertainment business, not politics. But their audiences do feed on this nonsense and that’s something we should be paying attention to. And while African-Americans usually bear the brunt of this, they are not the only ones. Muslim-Americans, Latinos, and other minorities who lack economic and political power feel it as well.
Is it any wonder that in Oklahoma 70 percent of the electorate voted to ban the consideration of Shariah law in that state’s court cases? Never mind the fact that, as a federal judge noted in her injunction barring the law from being enacted, that [Shariah] “is not ‘law’ but is religious traditions that differ among Muslims.” Or the fact that an attorney for the state “acknowledged that he did not know of an instance in which Shariah law had been invoked by the courts,” according to the New York Times. So how did such a law become enacted with the electorate’s blessing in the first place? Imad Enchassi, the imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City who filed the lawsuit against the state, said it best: “The will of the people seems like it was manipulated by a well-funded campaign of hate, bigotry and xenophobia.”
Sound postracial to you?