News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.
Monday, October 13, 2003
Limbaugh's not so subtle racism
Rush Limbaugh's 'other' trouble interests me for a reason that relates back to my series on 'subtle' racism. People defending him make this argument:
Allen Barra goes on to offer an unconvincing argument that McNabb is a poor quarterback. It relies on ignoring what McNabb does well and overstating anything he is not particularly good at.
However, what is not said is what intrigues me. The argument Limbaugh is making, without being explicit, is the typical blacks are intellectually inferior and physically superior claim often relied on by 'scientific' racists. The claim is that African-Americans perform well in physically demanding positions and poorly in analytical positions because black people can't think. So, according to Limbaugh, Barra and others like them, McNabb and other black quarterbacks are failures, but black linesmen excel.
Will you find an equivalent claim that white athletes who do not perform all that well are stupid? Never. And, there lies the proof the claim is about more than any individual's performance.
Columnist Darrell Smith believes another athlete is running a similar game with another minority.
Note that, with Stephenson, the argument is cast differently, but has the same effect: There is something wrong with Asian athletes and they should be treated with skepticism.
Smith explains why this overemphasis on the color of a person's skin - if it isn't white - matters.
What Limbaugh did in regard to McNabb is insidious because, not only is the assertion false, it is meant to send a message to the public that claims black people are genetically inferior are accurate. No, he did not utter those words. But, he didn't need to. The state of American race relations is such that the people Limbaugh addresses already know the argument. They can fill in the blanks.
The impact of behavior such as Limbaugh's and Barra's on the people it is meant to harm can be devastating.
Limbaugh's ability to spread the racism pox may be limited by his recent admission of having abused drugs for years. The questions about his credibility people should have been asking all along are finally being raised. However, unfortunately, there are many other people just as willing as he is to spread the disease. We must not let them get away with it just because their poisonous claims are couched in 'subtle' language.posted by J. | 8:40 AM