No stranger to controversy, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, left, reacquainted herself on August 10, 2010, when she spit out the n-word 11 times while speaking to a black caller. The next day, she apologized on her Web site and read the apology on air. "I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the n-word all the way out — more than one time," she wrote. "And that was wrong."
After comments about the Rutgers women's hoops team in April 2007 that included calling them "nappy-headed hos," shock jock Don Imus got his own jolt: He was fired. He returned to radio in December 2007 with two black comedians as new cast members. "I will never say anything … that will make any of these young women at Rutgers regret or feel foolish that they accepted my apology and forgave me," he said.
Rush Limbaugh proved to be an equal opportunity offender in July 2010 during a tribute to the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Limbaugh called Steinbrenner a "cracker who made a lot of African Americans millionaires," and someone who "fired a bunch of white guys as managers." Calls for an apology went unheeded.
In March 2007, weeks before Don Imus cracked unwise about the Rutgers women's basketball team, Rush Limbaugh began airing a Barack Obama parody based on the Peter, Paul and Mary hit "Puff, the Magic Dragon." Limbaugh defended the song, saying it expresses the sentiment that Obama is nonthreatening to whites and helps them assuage their guilt. Maybe Rush was puffing.
It takes a special breed of ignorance to mock Asians and Africans simultaneously while making light of natural disasters and child slavery. But that's what New York's Hot 97 radio station did in January 2005 after a tsunami devastated Southeast Asia. Shortly after airing a parody based on "We Are the World," two members of the Miss Jones in the Morning show were fired and the host Tarsha Jones, pictured, was briefly suspended.
Only 20 minutes elapsed between St. Louis, Mo., host Dave Lenihan calling Condi Rice a "coon" and KTRS president-general manager Tim Dorsey coming on air to apologize and announce Lenihan's firing in March 2006. Both men said it was a slip of the tongue, since Lenihan was in the midst of heaping praise on Rice. But Dorsey said the utterance was nonetheless "unacceptable, reprehensible and unforgivable."
Weekend disc jockey Raqiyah Mays, pictured, played along with a contest from New York's Power 105 by making a "confession" to win Usher tickets in March 2004: She said she disliked interracial dating because "there is one less black man available to us" African-American women. The station fired her after it received "many e-mails, phone calls and messages from listeners who were displeased and felt alienated as a result of her actions."
DJ battles are nothing new — on radio or rap records — but it's rare to find instances in which a radio announcer uses the airwaves to threaten a rival's child. That's what happened in May 2006, leading police to arrest Troi Torain of New York's Hot 105. Known as D.J. Star, Torain, left, had threatened to abuse the 4-year-old daughter of D.J. Envy. He also made racist comments about Envy's wife, who is part Asian.
Sometimes it's hard to tell if Glenn Beck's opposition to President Obama is racial or political. But Beck clearly couldn't see past melanin in July 2009. Defending an earlier televised assertion that the president has "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture," Beck claimed on his radio show that the biracial president actually fits the definition of a racist whose "default position is to see white people as typically unfair."
Considering black people as three-fifths of a human was actually a good thing, according to Glenn Beck. He argued in 2009 that if slaves had increased in percentage value as human beings, but with no right to vote, then the South's congressional power would have increased, and incentive to end slavery diminished. Beck's logic ignores the economic addiction to slavery, the abolitionist movement and the looming Civil War that destroyed the "peculiar institution."
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