I just spied a news item saying that "Dr." Laura Schlessinger said the n-word on the air this week repeatedly, while chastising a caller for being too racially sensitive. (This after I blogged about having to edit myself as I was reading Tom Sawyer to Kieran, and being glad that we chose the abridged version of Huckleberry Finn.)
How clueless could one person possibly be?
I do think that ignorant people are very confused by the tendency of oppressed groups to take back slur words into their own vocabulary to own their own power of the language--blacks, women, gays and lesbians, for example--not realizing that it's only okay for that particular group to use that terminology.
If another woman talks about a "night out with the girls," it sounds like fun. If a man at work refers to a woman as a "girl," I find that diminishing and insulting.
If a lesbian wishes to call herself a "dyke," that's her perogative. But if a homophobic idiot hurls that slur, it's hateful.
Same with the n-word. Clearly, "Dr." Laura doesn't understand the idea of white privilege. She probably thinks that racism doesn't exist any more, as well.