When is a Word more than just a Word? Dr. Laura and the “N” word. Editorial by Jamie Gilcig – Cornwall Ontario – August 19, 2010

Cornwall ON – When is a word a word?  When is it a weapon?  Is it the word itself or how it’s used, or simply who is using it?

Dr. Laura, or as she’s known in real life Laura Schlessinger.   Known for years as a “Doctor”, Ms Schlessinger has been doling out advice and opinions, but after 20 years in the biz she’s going to be hanging up her shingle over the use of the word   “Nigger”.    Which she used 11 times in one show as can be seen in the Wiki Link below.



She told the caller that she had the right to say the word because black comedians and actors on HBO say it, and cited a previous race-related comment made by her that was “funny” (and was made to her bodyguard, a black man). She also claimed that black people voted for Barack Obama for President on the basis of skin color, as an example of blacks as well as whites making judgments based solely on skin color.[15] She apologized for doing the “wrong thing” a day later.[16]

On August 17, 2010 Schlessinger announced the end of her radio show during an appearance on Larry King Live, saying that her motivation was to “regain her first amendment rights

That’s the only time I’ll use that word in this editorial.   By now you’ve emotionally reacted one way or another.    I actually gave a lot of thought whether to actually print the word or not.

I decided to risk it as we still live in a Democracy although one far too littered with politically correct thinking.      Conformity I think would make Dr. Charles Darwin roll a few times in his grave.   Dr. Laura has been tarred and feathered as have other media people over the years over that word.

It’s a horrible word too.   The connotation of it isn’t good in any way shape or form.    If you’re a Caucasian it’s a total taboo to use the term, but if you’re  a rapper or comic it’s still sorta ok.

The late  Lenny Bruce championed free speech.  He went to jail for his use of words….ok, and the use of Heroin, but mostly it was his use of words which attracted that unwanted police attention.

It was another day or was it?  We live in weird and wacky times where it’s more dangerous to say some things than actually do certain things.   Where speaking out can cost you your job or life in some parts of the world while taking a life seems to get very little issue, and crimes against humanity and nature mostly go unpunished.

The also late George Carlin was a lover of words, and also got into a lot of trouble, and fame for his use of certain ones.    His Seven Words you Can’t say on Television come to mind.

Now these two are simply examples of people who fought for the right for many of us to speak.   I don’t condone the use of the “N” word.  I think it’s wrong.   I think it should be looked down on, but I’m not so sure that there are any words that people should lose their jobs or their lives over.

It’s an interesting war….these words….tiny things, bits of letters strung together that can change so much in our world.

Recently I was the victim of slander in another newspaper.   Again, words, strung together in an illegal manner meant to cause damage.    Words are cheaper than bullets yet used in certain ways can cause much more damage than a lead slug.

What do you think Canada?   You can post your words below.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of the Cornwall Free News, their staff, or sponsors.)

JL ComputersBugaboos


  1. I do not buy the freedom of speech argument…the fact is that there are words that elicit a response whether you like it or not and you would have to be really ignorant to not know which words those are. Political correctness is not a bad thing. Sometimes it does get out of hand and I have no problem with saying Merry Christmas as a Christian who celebrates my holiday with pride and I would expect no one to get offended just as I would not be offended if someone offered me a Happy Hanukkah. But I digress.
    Like it or not we all know that we use words to create a reaction. If that reaction is meant to be as negative as possible then we should not use it…plain and simple. If a certain word offends someone quite deeply and we are aware of it then we should not use it…plain and simple. This is just common sense. I can still use my freedom of speech to say that I disagree with Barak Obama without having to call him a racial name so I don’t feel that my rights are being infringed. I can say I think someone’s thinking is flawed or wrong without having to use the word, “retarded” as one of your admins did in the following article.


    Sorry, but words like that are unnecessary and really only display ignorance whether or not you meant them to. I am more inclined to listen to your arguments if you don’t come across as having an immature rant.
    If you want to go to a comedy club or a rap concert then yeah..you are going to hear those words and you should expect to hear those things because they warn you that you will be with parental advisories. Just like I wouldn’t show my kids an R rated film without expecting to hear that kinda stuff I also wouldn’t take them to a show like that.
    Am I naive enough to think they don’t hear it anyway a thousand times a day? Of course not. But that does not mean that they hear it from me and they shouldn’t be hearing it on public radio or seeing it in public newspapers.

  2. Words eh. Tell you what. If it’s in the dictionary and in context use it or lose it. Writers weren’t raised to be cowards. Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory yeah – those are pretty tall shoulders. Words evolve. You don’t like the N word – well most people up this way don’t use the word much. How about the C word – now that word used to be used and written in polite company about a hundred and twenty years ago and now not. Word is – women are going to take it back. Watch out! Words in context are beautiful. A few years ago I was critiqued for using the phrase ‘white trash’. What then, I said, shall we call white trash and what if they are a bunch of ‘tards? Sometimes I want to say and write things that hurt. Course just because a fountain pen is loaded doesn’t mean it has to be pointed and fired. That would be gratuitous. Responsible writers like responsible gun owners try to be careful. I can think of a recent book by John McFetridge called Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (ECW Press) – I think he used the N word about a hundred times but he used it to reflect the average vocabulary of a Toronto cop. No one objected. In context and real. Use words that fit. Say what you mean. Allow people to know what you think. If they disagree you are half way to a conversation.

  3. I think the word is not wrong but the application is where lies the problem.

    The term “nigger” was associated with the location the slaves were from.
    It is no different then pollock, kraut or canuck.

    We just need to gain a little more personal respect and it will reflect onto those we work with. This building here is like the united nations and there is so little of what this article is about. Yes some people dispise others but it is kept under wraps. We can’t force people to like each other.

    Persoanlly I find the term antisemitism unique. Why do we not have a word which can be used in this N word situation and specific only to this situation?

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