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Opinion

12:48am March 8, 2012

Where Were You When Rush Was Blasting Black Folks?

hate-speech-is-not-free-speech1

It wasn’t until Rush Limbaugh opened his over-the-top arsenal on a White woman that he finally got blasted by an intense and visceral response from mainly liberal and progressive advocates. It took that to get everyone in a passionate fervor to shut Rush down.

Rewind for a minute. You recall that historic 1995 television footage of Howard University law students jumping up and rejoicing when the OJ Simpson murder conviction verdict was read, right? That was in contrast to a Time magazine shot of White females at a California shopping center crying in shock and disbelief.  The poignant take-away from the differing reactions was not that Blacks were callous and happy to see a man possibly get away with murder. And part of the jubilance was not retribution for slavery or historic ill-treatment of blacks in US history.

Rather, it was an amalgamation of a resounding and collective “I told you so” from many African Americans who for decades had been saying there is severe inequity and injustice in the U.S. Justice System.

But it took the freeing of a man who may have been responsible for killing his Caucasian wife and her Jewish friend for the rest of America to get it and realize that the system is broken.

Fast forward eight years, and the chickens have come to roost once again.  Members from the immigrant, minority, Jewish and Muslim communities are shouting at the top of their lungs.  They’ve organized boycotts in unsuccessful attempts to get advertisers and the general public to get outraged as much as them over the many extreme, arguably hateful and downright detestable controversial statements that conservative firebrand talk host Rush Limbaugh has said about them for years.

As you’ve already heard, Rush lit into Georgetown University Law Student, Sandra Fluke, for testifying at a Democratic-sponsored event on Capitol Hill recently after being denied a chance to speak at the all-male panel on President Obama’s contraception mandate.

The heated reaction was responsible for getting 21 of Limbaugh’s advertisers to pull their support from his show in a way that was never before possible.

See: it is all part of the Natalie Holloway/Kaylee Anthony/Chandra Levy/Yeardley Love –esque way that Americans select, with prejudice, whose crosses and battles to bear.  Indeed, we have a penchant for getting engrossed and engaged over ills, death and wrongs when done to certain victims … yet we tacitly and practically ignore others.

For example, the mainstream press didn’t really cover much the condescending remarks Rush had about First Lady Michelle Obama even though no other president’s wife had been on the receiving end of such verbal assaults. Black radio and press was all over it though.

But, let it be a Black woman and you hear only crickets chirping at the mainstream press studios.

Just last February, Rush criticized her for not looking like a stick thin Sports Illustrated swimsuit model during his February 21, 2011 show.  A few months later in August, he dug into her again on what he perceived was the “leftist media’s” insufficient criticism of her vacation as a form of reparation for “our slave past.” He said:

“As far as the media’s concerned, Mrs. Obama deserves this. Look at the sordid past. Look at our slave past, look at the discriminatory past. It’s only fair that people of color get their taste of the wealth of America too.”

So NOW, because of his latest comments, more than several sites are recounting all of the outlandish things he’s said in the past.

Like what he said January 19, 2007 about NFL players: “Look, let me put it to you this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”

On Jesse Jackson: “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?”

On Blacks: “They’re 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares? I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”

On actor Michael J. Fox testifying on Capitol Hill for stem cell research to help cure Parkinson’s disease which Fox suffers from: “He is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act. … This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.”

On Hispanics: “Let the unskilled jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do — let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.”

On Martin Luther King: “You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.”

On the validity of President Obama’s election: “[Obama] wouldn’t have been voted president if he weren’t Black. Somebody asked me over the weekend why does somebody earn a lot of money have a lot of money, because she’s Black. It was Oprah. No, it can’t be. Yes, it is. There’s a lot of guilt out there, show we’re not racists, we’ll make this person wealthy and big and famous and so forth…. If Obama weren’t Black he’d be a tour guide in Honolulu or he’d be teaching Saul Alinsky constitutional law or lecturing on it in Chicago.”

On his opposition to Americans donating towards Haiti relief efforts following its devastating 2010 earthquakes: “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.”

It goes on and on.

Alas, this recent wrangling will be temporary.

The man who commands $50 million a year has a base of fans that is wide as the rivers are long and who will inevitably stand by him.

Even if he were to abandon terrestrial radio for satellites, his loyal following of conservative listeners will sojourn to wherever he goes to get their daily or weekly dose of Rush.



About the Author

Jeneba Ghatt
Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt represents small, women, and minority owned business and technology companies at The Ghatt Law Group LLC, the nations’ first communications law firm owned by women and minorities. She's won landmark cases on behalf of her clients which include national civil rights and public interest organizations. In addition to actively authoring several blogs, being a radio show host and sitting on the boards of three non-profits, she is a tech junkie who has been developing online web content since the very early years of the Internet, 1991 to be precise! Follow her on Twitter at @Jenebaspeaks, on her blog, Jenebaspeaks, which covers the intersection of politics and technology or on her Politics of Raising Children blog at The Washington Times Communities section.




 
 

 
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15 Comments


  1. Wm_Tucker

    Where were you when Disney gave Limbaugh the heave-ho for attributing the emergence of African-American quarterbacks in pro football to a conspiracy of unnamed liberals controlling the NFL and mass media?


  2. Well stated Jeneba. I would simply add that America is in the middle of a silent but sometime loud culture war. It has far less to do with political ideology and everything to do with overall culture. The reality is that all Americans do view American culture via the same lens and it's all coming to a head right now.


  3. Michael

    So true. I can't understand how this hateful bigot has stayed on the air so long. It is disturbing that his show is reaching our troops via our own tax dollars. And we wonder why there are so many instances of abuse against people Rush has referred to as towelheads and worse. I never heard about the MLK comment, unbelievable that he gets away with this stuff. It is sad that all the other racist comments did not raise the same outrage,but I am still thankful that something did, and at least it has people talking about the previous instances now. I agree with your analogy about the Chandra levy's, etc. Nancy grace has built a career reporting on little abducted blonde children as if no other race of child ever went missing. Or more to the point that they do not matter. On a bright note, I think people are waking up and these Limbaugh', Hannity, Orielly, Grace types are starting to lose ground.


  4. MGPTHOC

    where were you when Black Panthers were scaring voters? Where were you when Obama started his campaign in a admitted terrorist house? Where were you when…..Your bias is, well, just that.


    • Onyx

      #1 Black Panthers don't have a national radio show that reaches 4 million listeners with the same delusions as he (and you) have.

      #2 Rush is the Chief Fearmonger on the air, along with the Tea Partiers, and the grand OLD party.

      And there ya go…


    • two black men standing in front of a poll place in all black = scaring voters now?

      i'd have to say that the latest voter id laws do worst than two dudes standing in front of a building.

      (i personally love it when people bring up those black panthers. you can tell they're grasping at straws.)


    • L'roy

      WTH..Your comment has nothing to do with this article and is a very poor attempt at defending Rush Limbaugh's bigotry…pathetic.


  5. MGPTHOC

    And were where YOU when Jesse wanted to "Cut.." pres Obama????


  6. Just like police brutality with Occupy, the simple fact of the matter is: until it happens to us white folks, we simply won't care. Makes absolutely NO difference if we call ourselves "progressives" or not – it simply doesn't matter to us until happens to white folks.


  7. lobo214

    Many of us have been complaining about Rush for years and some of us have been boycotting him and his sponsors also but why did it take so long for enough people to get involved when Rush has been spreading lies, hate, racism and misogyny for decades, and has repeatedly had calls for boycotting both his show and his advertisers during that time. Why do so many wait until they think something personally affects them, their families or friends.
    As MLK Jr said, 'Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.'
    Or as British poet John Donne said,
    'No man is an island entire of itself; every man
    is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
    … any man's death diminishes me,
    because I am involved in mankind.
    And therefore never send to know for whom
    the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.'


  8. blkcowrie0624

    i respectfully agree with the author of this article.

    for me, identity never exists in a monolithic vacuum. it is always contextualized by multiple social and cultural forces that always include race, along with geography, time period, gender expression, sexual orientation, class, ability, age, etc., etc.

    i don't believe the conditions of those impacted by race, bias and racial discrimination are ever rendered more visible by erasure and/or silence. this is especially true for communities whose histories have not only been consistently subjected to erasure, denial and silence in u.s. and other dominant cultures, but also pathologized (i.e., women of color). acknowledgement and subsequent validation of the lived experiences of others also under the boot should be a starting place to building true solidarity of struggle. in fact, i believe the article points out the anger and mistrust that is the product when solidarity has been sought and found missing until chickens begin clucking at another's front door.

    finally, i believe the strategy of putting conversations regarding the different experiences of those of us multiply impacted on the back burner has been repeatedly tried and found tired. bernice johnson reagon discusses this at length in her work, "coalition politics: turning the century":

    "Within the Black movement there was also all of the evils of the society, so that anything that was happening to you in New York or the West Coast probably also happened to you in another way, within the movement. And as you became aware of that you tried to talk to these movement people about how you felt. And they say, 'Well let’s take that up next week. Because the most important thing now is that Black people are being oppressed and we must work with that.' Watch these mono-issue people. They ain’t gonna do you no good. I don’t care who they are. And there are people who prioritize the cutting line of the struggle. And they say the cutting line is this issue, and more than anything we must move on this issue and that’s automatically saying that whatever’s bothering you will be put down if you bring it up. You have to watch these folks. Watch these groups that can only deal with one thing at a time. On the other hand, learn about space within coalition. You can’t have everybody sitting up there talking about everything that concerns you at the same time or you won’t get no place."


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