Thursday, June 26, 2008

Iowa, New Orleans, Race and Rush Limbaugh

You don't want to be around me when I read or hear something spewed out of Rush Limbaugh's douchebag brain. In his recent tirade about the flooding in the mid-west, he found a marked difference between the good people of Iowa and the evil, violent, lazy people of New Orleans after Katrina. Here is what he said:

"I see people working together. I see people trying to save their property...I don't see a bunch of people running around waving guns at helicopters. I don't see a bunch of people running shooting cops. I don't see a bunch of people raping people on the street...I see the heartland of America. When I look at Iowa and when I look at Illinois, I see the backbone of America."

Luckily this article by Tim Wise, an anti-racist writer and activist, addresses the errors and misrepresentations of Limbaugh's statements.

I have to quote this part of his article on the race issues raised by Limbaugh and others:

"And so here we are: a nation potentially on the precipice of electing a man of color as president, being told by media pundits and others that this fact demonstrates above all else how Americans have "transcended race," and put aside the old animosities and bigotries of the past. Yet, at the first opportunity, we see right-wing windbags striving to perpetuate the stereotypes, the false urban legends, and the deceptive rhetoric of racism to score points with their readers and listeners. And if the speed with which such venal propaganda is making its way around the web is any indication, the smear campaign seems to be working.

Just one more piece of evidence that this nation has transcended nothing when it comes to race and racism. Just one more clear indication that the success of Barack Obama says little in terms of what millions of white folks still believe about the majority of black folks with whom we share a nation. So long as entire communities can be pathologized in the minds of the masses, thanks to the efforts of unresearched gasbags like Rush, the ability of individuals of color to rise to positions of authority will say virtually nothing about the larger illness of racism and its continued salience.

Only when white folks stand up to the Limbaughs of the world--only when we see challenging white racism as our burden, our responsibility, and as a fundamental part of what we need to do in the realm of that vaunted "self-help" we're always preaching to others--will things likely change. We've been silent too long, and our silence implicates us, just as much as Rush's bombast indicts him, in the spread of this sickness known as racism. It is well past time to leave collaboration behind."

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