Paul R. Lehman, Limbaugh’s comments on Powell show ignorance and bigotry

September 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Posted in American Bigotry, Ethnicity in America, Media and Race, Race in America, whites | 2 Comments
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Rush Limbaugh shows America his bias towards African
Americans time and time again. He never comes out and says so directly, that
would be too obvious. So, he finds other avenues of approach to do it. Each
time he tries to hide his bigotry it works in reverse. Just recently he made a
comment about Gen. Colin Powell that showed Limbaugh’s ignorance, arrogance,
and bigotry simultaneously. What Limbaugh said was in reaction to comments made
by Gen. Powell during an interview on CBS. Powell told Bob Schieffer that he was reserving his
decision on who to vote for as president until the final field of candidates had
been decided. Limbaugh dismissed Powell’s comment and said that he was going to
vote for Obama because “melanin is thicker than water.”

Limbaugh’s
ignorance show right off the bat when he presumes to know what Powell thinks.
In essence, Powell is so transparent that Limbaugh can see right through him
and tell exactly what he is thinking. The fact that Powell tells Schieffer that
he will take his time and consider what each candidate has to offer, goes right
pass Limbaugh. Apparently, Limbaugh believes that just because Obama is African
American, Powell will vote for him. Using that logic, then one must assume that
Powell would have voted for Allen Keys during the last election because he and
Keys are both members of the Republican Party. On the contrary, Powell indicated
that he voted for Obama for president. Why would Powell do something like that?
Maybe it was because he took the time to consider what each candidate had to
offer before making his decision. Evidently, Gen. Powell has enjoyed a
successful military career that focused on his decision making abilities, which
Limbaugh believes is inadequate in selecting a candidate for president.

Since
Rush believes he is intellectually superior to all African Americans, he can
speak about their so-called short-comings with impunity. He believes that they
are all so shallow that their decision- making abilities are so simply that one
can literally read their minds. Rush speaks with confidence when he said that
Powell will vote for Obama because “melanin is thicker than water.” Melanin is a brown pigment in the skin that brings out the color in the complexion in human
beings. Limbaugh’s comments are supposed to suggest that all African Americans
will naturally gravitate towards each other. In other words, all intellectual
considerations are casted aside because of color. The mere thought of such hogwash
speaks to foolishness and a lack of common sense on Limbaugh’s part. Limbaugh’s
arrogance shows in his willingness to categorize not only Gen. Powell, but all
African Americans he symbolizes with the reference to “melanin” as not having
the capacity to think for themselves.

If Rush were speaking just for
himself, his bigotry would be understandable, although not acceptable under any
circumstances, but he speaks for many of his listeners. The fact that he can
use his coded words as a cloth to hide his bigotry is a way for him to exercise
is rights. However, his listeners should realize at some point that Rush is an
entertainer, not a psychic or even a journalist. He can say outlandish things
and not have to suffer any negative consequences for saying them. His choice of
words and the method in which he employs them add up to the undeniable fact
that he regards certain ethnic groups as inferior to him and his so-called
racial group.

People should be cautioned not to
refer to Rush as a racist. By doing so, they underscore the idea that multiple
races exists, and that helps to support the belief his so-called white race is
superior to all the others. Rush should be referred to as a bigot. By doing so,
he is deprived of assuming a superior position over anyone. Bigotry and
prejudice fall to the individual, not to the group. So, when Rush is referred
to as a bigot, he stands along, not in the company and protection of a group.
To be sure, others can have the same feelings as Rush, but they do so as
individuals expressing their concern. At some point in society, being referred
to as a racist was considered reprehensible and avoided unless the situation
warranted it. Now, some people welcome the word because it identifies their
social group which protects and comforts them in the beliefs.

Rush can continue to use his many
rash, insulting, and biased comments about African Americans and others because
he is protected by his rights to free speech. He is encouraged to continue to
do so by the many people who share his beliefs. So, he is comforted and
protected from any form of ostracism because of the support he is given. Many
of Rush’s listeners want to try and hold on to their beliefs in spite of the
fact that they are actually losing them. So, to try and slow down the rate of
loss, they revert to unreasonable and irrational comments, hoping to gain some
more like-minded people. His comments reflect a mind that would produce
statements like “they all look alike,” or “they all smell funny,” or “they
don’t think like us.” These statements are usually offered by bigots to suggest
a possible biological difference between European Americans and African
Americans.

Thankfully, today many Americans
know and understand the language and the antics of bigots in society. They also
know that the amount of melanin in a person’s physical appearance does not
indicate his or her level of intelligence. When people like Rush stop trying to
convince Americans that a person’s ethnicity is the sole measure of that
person, then society can begin to work on problems that affect the well-being
of society in general, and not the appeasement of some people with biases
rooted in ignorance. When society’s attention is drawn to bigoted and
insignificant concerns, time that could be used to focus on genuine problems is
lost. One has to wonder what is the benefit, or pay-off for trying to belittle
or denigrate someone like Gen. Colin Powell who obviously is above reproach.

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2 Comments »

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  1. There is, of course, a distinct partisan political dimension to Rush’s comment. If Gen. Powell had said he plans to vote Republican, Rush would not have come down so hard on him.
    Incidentally, some political commentators have cited a lack of clear leadership in the Republican Party and suggest that Rush may be filling the void. Do you suppose so?

  2. I’m not looking forward to this election……


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