Racist-Right Radio Commentary Perpetuates Old White-Racist Frame

A recent article by Casey Gane-McCalla at Nation’s NewsOne blog provides a list of the racist comments and commentaries of Rush Limbaugh. Because he is a major propagandistic shaper of the opinions of many Americans, most especially white (and disproportionately white male) Americans, these racist opinions are powerful in perpetuating the four centuries old white-racist framing of this society (with is racist stereotypes, ideologies, images, narratives, emotions, inclinations to oppress materially), as well as the systemic racism of which that framing is only part:

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

“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.”

“The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies.”

This idea of black criminality is very old, and here Limbaugh is parroting the modern version of the white racial framing of African Americans as criminal, which I have shown thorough actually dates back to at least the 1600s. Elite whites say this type of thing century after century so that what is a racist and highly stereotyped and BS imagery comes to be accepted by many people “truth.”

[To an African American female caller to his program]: “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”

This imagery of African Americans as savage and uncivilized also dates back to the 1500s and 1600s, and was originally (and ironically) created by slaveholding, and highly savage, Europeans.

A bit later these were added to the NewsOne list:

Limbaugh Says Steinbrenner Was A “Cracker Who Made African-Americans Millionaires”

Limbaugh: Obama & Oprah Are Only Successful Because They’re Black

Limbaugh Calls Gov. Paterson A “Massa”

There are also many negative comments full of highly stereotyped white-racial framing of African Americans aimed at President Obama:

‘Limbaugh has called Obama a ‘halfrican American’ has said that Obama was not Black but Arab because Kenya is an Arab region, even though Arabs are less than one percent of Kenya. . . . . Despite the fact Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law school, Limbaugh has called him an ‘affirmative action candidate.’ Limbaugh even has repeatedly played a song on his radio show ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ using an antiquated Jim Crow era term…’

These and many other racist comments from Limbaugh regularly suggest and reinforce old racist images of African Americans, or variations on four centuries old racist stuff. White-racist commentaries are amazingly un-original and parrot-like. Conformity to past racist imaging is essential to contemporary racist thinking.

Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky argue that much U.S. opinion is shaped by the organized propaganda that comes out of the capitalistic mass media of the United States. This mainstream media propaganda model shows

how propaganda, including systemic biases, function in mass media. The model seeks to explain how populations are propagandized and how consent for various economic, social and political policies are “manufactured” in the public mind.

Radical-right talk show host like Limbaugh, with their millions of listeners, play a central role in this propagandizing and keeping the United States are foundationally and fundamentally racist society.

Large-scale and organized action to create alternative media networks of equal power are essential if this huge propaganda process is ever to be effectively countered.


  1. Joe

    394Ever, that is a very good point. It is not just that millions buy into his extreme, hard version of the white racist framing, but that the mainstream white media, mainstream politicians and other white “leaders,” do not call him out. They at most report on it if someone in communities of color take him on. Jessie Helms and Strom Thurmond took more flak for this type of racist ranting than contemporary talk show hosts do. We are moving back into overt Jim Crow ranting/framing.

  2. Will

    At this point it’s a safe conclusion that Limbaugh and all the other whites who think like him are going to continue to think like him and hardly anyone will check them on their thinking. This society is so busy being concerned with what blacks do especially if it concerns whites.

    They will ask “What’s wrong with blacks?” but they won’t ask “What’s wrong with us?”

      • Hillbilly

        Will’s comments reflect something that was said back in 1927 by E. Franklin Frazier. He wrote an article for the Forum titled “The Pathology of Race Prejudice,” which basically asserts that white academics who study “what is wrong” with blacks in America should really turn their microscopes on their own lives and that of other whites to show how obsessed they are with race…

  3. No1KState

    I’m not sure things are going backwards. It’s not as though tea pot types have become more racist, just maybe more overtly so. Know what I mean? It’s not like these feelings weren’t there. They’ve just been aroused by having a black president.

    Plus, it’s much easier dealing with racism that’s out in the open than the sort of undercover racism of post-Civil Rights Movement.

  4. cordoba blue

    I just noticed a post on yahoo regarding Serena Williams.

    In it the commentator claims that Serena was refused free tickets to some tennis event which she in fact helped to promote.
    “This understandably displeased Serena, who took to her Twitter account with a rant so juvenile one half-expected to read a “nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah boo-boo” somewhere in the proceedings.”
    First of all, I’ve seen this before. Black celebrities are inspected through a microscope, maybe with the exception of Oprah, and if they take one misstep, they are in for a media bonk on the head. The comments under this post consisted of people saying Serena has no class or could have handled things better. Is this really such a big deal?
    Lindsay Lohan, our national spokesperson for spoiled, wealthy 20-somethings on drugs, has no class. What has she ever contributed to our culture? But here we have a world-class athlete who is black and because she got a little miffed, she has no class? I read her twitter comments, by the way, and they were nothing to get worked up about.
    This is an attempt by whites to claim, once again, that African Americans have no right to be treated like upper middle class citizens. It’s so transparent it’s not even funny.

  5. cordoba blue

    Sorry for the alarm. I think it’s ok. I just signed out of Yahoo. Again, sorry about the panic. I’m SO DUMB! I think it’s OK now. Thanks Jessie or Joe. Apparently now people can go to the Serena comments and not see my yahoo account wide open!


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