Rush Limbaugh took his racial conversation to whole other place by claiming that white people should feel not guilt and deserve credit for freeing the slaves.
Here is the audio from Media Matters:
Transcript from Rush Limbaugh:
LIMBAUGH: You know, folks, I have to tell you something. This white guilt, it’s time for all this white guilt to end. I know it won’t because I know that most people are scared to death and live lives totally immersed in fear because that’s what other people want them to live like, but I’m sick of it. White guilt is doing nothing for anybody, and white guilt is not solving anything. And besides that, a little history lesson for you. If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians. The white race has probably had fewer slaves and for a briefer period of time than any other in the history of the world.
Now, sadly, we’re not talking about the rest of the world when the civil rights coalition gets ginned up. They’re talking about America and slavery. And that can’t be denied; it happened. But, compared to the kind of slavery that still exists in the rest of the world and has existed, by no means was it anywhere near the worst. The Chinese, the Arabs, black Africans, in fact, we forget about it. Even American Indians were constantly warring against other tribes for slaves. You know how many wars were fought for slaves, to claim them?
My gosh, folks, the ancient Israelites were all slaves. The Exodus, the war, everything. There have been so many wars fought over this. Ancient Rome went to war to win more slaves. We’re pikers compared to the rest of humanity throughout human history. Yes, even American Indians — I know the image is that they were the embodiment of perfection. They were just cool and fine until we arrived, and then it was all over for ’em. But even they were constantly warring against other tribes for slaves. It was their primary reason for going to war.
But despite all that, no other race has ever fought a war for the purpose of ending slavery, which we did. Nearly 600,000 people killed in the Civil War. It’s preposterous that Caucasians are blamed for slavery when they’ve done more to end it than any other race, and within the bounds of the Constitution to boot. And yet white guilt is still one of the dominating factors in American politics. It’s exploited, it’s played upon, it is promoted, used, and it’s unnecessary.
According to Limbaugh, slavery is just something that civil rights leaders use to get people ginned up. White people actually deserve credit for ending slavery. This slavery thing was no big deal, and what he was really getting at is that African-American attitudes about racism in this country are baseless. Rush was pushing the belief that other countries in the world have done it too, so white people have nothing to feel bad about.
Rush Limbaugh left out one important part of history. In order for the slaves to be freed, they first had to be taken against their will and brought to this country. Limbaugh leaves out the little fact that white people brought the slaves to this country. Not only did white people end slavery, they started it.
The racist subtext of Limbaugh’s remarks fall right in line with his use of the N-word on his show last week. It is almost as if Rush is a competition with Sean Hannity to see who can be the most racist. The real reason why Limbaugh and Hannity are both doing this is ratings. This kind of racist rhetoric is what many white Republicans want to hear right now. Too many folks on the right don’t want to have an intelligent and sensible conversation about race. They believe, “I’m white and I’m right,” is all the discussion that they need.
The idea of white guilt over slavery is a conservative construct designed to downplay the scars and divides that were created by slavery. It isn’t that white people should feel guilty, but that all citizens of this country need to be aware of the lasting legacy of racism that slavery created.
It’s racism for ratings, and the sick thing is that many conservatives are happily embracing the message.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association