Limbaugh’s Call for Bus Segregation: Post-Post-Racial America?

One major source of the escalation of overt public racism over the last year lies in far-right talk show hosts. like Rush Limbaugh. Even he went beyond his usual reactionary commentary recently in comments about a local incident in which a white student was beaten by black students on a school bus.
Creative Commons License photo credit: carlosgomez
He called for racially segregated buses as the solution:

I mean, that’s the lesson we’re being taught here today. Kid shouldn’t have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses — it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama’s America.

Limbaugh seemed intent on making it a racial incident even though the local police backed away from their earlier report that it was racially motivated. According to AlterNet, other conservative bastions like the Drudge Report also played up what was a relatively minor local incident. Limbaugh also noted that

It’s Obama’s America, is it not? Obama’s America — white kids getting beat up on school buses now. I mean, you put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety, but in Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, ‘Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on. I wonder if Obama’s going to come to come to the defense of the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard.

He is intent on linking our first black president to local incidents on a school bus, with racial issues in mind. Did prominent commentators do that so easily with George W. Bush? Then Limbaugh continued with his confusing alternation between mocking and seriousness, much of it out of his own version of conventional white racial framing of society:

White Americans are racists who have created what they call free markets that really just enslave the rest of America and her trading partners. . . . No, look, let’s just follow Eric Holder’s advice and not be cowards about all this. Let’s have an open conversation, an honest conversation about all of our typical white grandmothers. You had one, I had one. Obama had one. . . . If homosexuality being inborn is what makes it acceptable, why does racism being inborn not make racism acceptable? . . . But apparently now we don’t choose racism, we just are racists. We are born that way. We don’t choose it. So shouldn’t it be acceptable excuse — this is according to the way the left thinks about things.

A bit confusing and confused, but he seems to be excusing racism in this odd way. Media Matters made these suggestions about Limbaugh’s racially framed commentaries:

Regardless of what he says he was trying to do, what he succeeded in doing was exaggerating the racial element of the story and linking purportedly race-based violence to the first African-American president. . . . And whatever point Limbaugh says he was trying to get across, all he ended up doing was using the sensitive subject of race as a political weapon. . . . This, of course, fits neatly into the dangerous, radical right-wing effort to demonize Barack Obama, which Limbaugh has been spearheading for months. A few weeks ago, he was smearing the president as a Nazi . . . and by Thursday’s show, he was proclaiming that Obama “is racism.” The following day on his show, Rush continued to rant about the media’s tendency to talk about whether criticism of Obama was racist, which led Rush to ask his audience this “legitimate” question: “[C]an this nation really have an African-American president?”

If Limbaugh is the most influential commentator on talk radio, as is often claimed, this type of racist discourse and commentary is surely having a very negative important on the thinking of ordinary (especially white) Americans, many of whom do not know U.S. history on racial matters such as Jim Crow segregation and contemporary patterns of widespread racial discrimination, much less the history of European Nazism. It is also strking how quickly we have gotten to a post-post-racial America. Post-raciality did not last long.


  1. Michael Parker

    Racism as a political tool…I suppose time will tell if it will be effective, or if it just explodes in his face. Equally disturbing to me is how he is using language that separates the President of the United States from the people of this country. Sorry Rush, this is not “Obama’s America.” He is an elected official, elected by a substantial majority of the population. It is still the people’s America….even if you didn’t personally vote for him. Rush is just another middle-aged, white, male, republican who can’t come to grips with the fact that there are “gasp” other perspectives out there, and sometimes those other perspectives get to have some power in society. It’s called sharing power. It’s getting tiring watching these white guys struggle with this.

  2. Darin Johnson

    Do you honestly not get what Limbaugh is doing, here? That’s sad, because this commentary was especially for you all. He’s making fun of you — all of you, who treat every criticism of Obama as a racial incident, who attribute racism to all of your ideological enemies. You’re the butt of Limbaugh’s joke, and you take yourselves to seriously you don’t even get it.

  3. I wonder if it’s Obama’s America or telling of how things have changed as it relates to the story of the recent beating of a Black Army Reservist officer by a white male at a Georgia Cracker Barrel recently.

  4. siss

    Although I do not agree with Limbaugh’s comments, I think many do – which is awful and probably why he said it.

    Also, why did police “back away” from claiming that the incident was racially motivated? It seems almost certain that it was racially motivated….just as many whites who beat up persons of color are racially motivated. However, I wasn’t there, so who knows?

    @Darin: I do agree that he was poking fun (as usual), but this time his delivery was exceptionally repugnant with regards to “Obama’s America”. This is just nonsense. He is dissatisfied with our president, we get it, but he seems to tie every incident, race related or not, to Obama. It’s getting really old, realllllllly quickly.

  5. Whatever his motivation (whether to poke fun or not), Limbaugh INTENT is clear: to play the race card for all it’s worth.

    Never mind there’s a huge logic fail — that’s par for the course for the likes of Rush. Considering about 70-75% of racially motivated crimes are committed by whites, the irony here is almost overwhelming.

  6. siss

    @Darin: I did, quite some time ago. However, he is hard to miss when he serves as the Rebup spokeswhore. And for clairification, I didn’t say he is “making everything about race”. What I said is that he (and the majority of Rebpulicans) tie most issues, race included but not exclusive, to the fault of President Obama. But I digress…What we can agree on is that every criticism of BO does not have a racial undertone.

  7. adia

    Siss–I’m curious, why do you say the fight on the school bus was “almost certain[ly]” racially motivated? I only saw video footage and did not hear any dialogue (if any was audible).

  8. Mom

    I’ve just read Rush’s post. The fact that he is calling our nation “Obama Nation is certainly racist because he used the words segregation within the same sentence. And, if the white children were beat up because of their race it would not be the first. The problem, and I’ve said this so many times is that “children” don’t think with their full frontal lobes period. I avoid young people especially concerning racist issues. Unfortunately, children have too much access to negative information. There will be a lot more fights about race especially, because of people like Rush, and his arrogant raging about race. “Way to go Rush let other people do your dirty work” Also, Rush does not like homosexuality because of his statement if your born one then you must be born a racist. Humm! The AMA had taken homosexuality out of the International Coding Index for mental diseases about 35 years ago. I always wondered why they did that. Did they find a cure and did not tell anyone? I know many people who would like to know the answer to that question. Anyway, there are “some” people that are born with real hormonal imbalances, now I could understand why one would feel more prone to feel different. However, I don’t understand how people can get married, have children, and then decide they are in fact homosexual. So, although I don’t really care about “ones” preference, I do mind it when my children and grandchildren are exposed to it on prime time TV. There’s entirely too much negative information being generated, and I have a feeling, that it’s a smoke screen, to hide what’s really happening in this country…

  9. ellen says

    MOM Said: “So, although I don’t really care about “ones” preference, I do mind it when my children and grandchildren are exposed to it on prime time TV.”
    I admire your honesty here Mom. Apparently, it’s no longer ‘politically correct’ to say you ‘mind’ if your children and grandchildren are exposed to homosexuality on television. My honest feelings? I’m really, really glad my children are not gay. {Thank you God.} I don’t know any straight parents who Would Not Be Glad their kids are heterosexual.
    That being said, I am tolerant and considerate of gay people {what they do in the privacy of their homes is none of my business} as long as they don’t make jokes about it in front of my grandchildren etc. Of course, if children see it on tv, it’s the same thing as experiencing humor {oh! how funny! } regarding this very serious life decision which should not be determined without tremendous consideration.
    I have no idea if homosexuality is genetic as some researchers think. I guess my only logical stance in this day and age is that gays be discreet and use good taste in their actions and words. But then again, shouldn’t everybody do that? ANYBODY who flaunts their sexuality in public is not being considerate of the feelings and sensitivities of other people.

  10. siss

    @MOM: “The AMA had taken homosexuality out of the International Coding Index for mental diseases about 35 years ago. I always wondered why they did that. Did they find a cure and did not tell anyone?”

    Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. From that statement…do you think homosexuality is a “disease” and you dont want your children exposed to it? That’s what I gathered your meaning to be. If thats the case, you are hampering diversity. Just like saying, “I dont agree with interracial marriage so Ill choose not to let my children watch shows that feature interracial couples”. That is a mild form of bigotry.

    It’s not GBLT’s you need to be concerned with in re to TV programs. I do think that sexuality (of any nature) it advertised TOO heavily but if you pay attn, its hetero sexuality that dominates mainstream media, not gay.

    @aida: like I mentioned, I have no way of knowing if it was or wasn’t. However, what I do know is that [per the article] the police first thought it was racially motivated and then backed away. What I was questioning was why they initially thought that and why did they back away. The only facts I have are 1w against 2b’s. From my experiences, racism seems like a logical explination. Although racism might not have been a direct cause of the fight, it still could have be racially “motiviated”.

  11. Michael Parker

    It’s disappointing to see homophobia on this site. Take those comments about “being happy that my child is not gay” and insert “Black” or “Latino” or any other oppressed group in place of gay. It’s all the same, and all connected. If our society is going to tackle oppression, it’s going to have to be all oppression, and we each need to address our own oppressive ideas. There are many more oppressed people in society than there are oppressors. And the only way to beat oppression is to ally together.

  12. Mom @ Sis

    Yes that’s what I said the AMA decided to take homosexuality out of the ICD-9-CM about thirty five years ago. International Coding of Diseases. And, yes, homosexuality was thought of as a mental disorder. Now, not sure why, but I would speculate that someone in the AMA just thought that being homosexual was just normal. I don’t understand why people have agree to something because other people have 3 letters by their last name. It’s a matter of preference. What next? Will the AMA classifies all CHILD MOLESTERS as normal, and we are supposed to sit back and say yes that’s right they must know what their talking about because they went to school… BS….I say if someone wants to be or is born that way, so what. However, I do have a problem when they exploit it on prime time TV, which interferes with our youths developmental years. I have good friends that are gay, and they are some of the most sincere, successful, wonderful people that you would want to know, but they don’t exploit themselves to the world like “look at me I’m gay heheheh” In fact, they rather just fit into society like everybody else dose. That’s NORMAL!
    And, another thing, I did not mention interracial marriages, which I feel should of happened, sooner then it did, and are usually between heterosexuals.
    @Ellen- Thanks Ellen, but I have a problem with “political correctness” Every time we as a society give into “political correctness” we as a society give up our freedom of speech, unless of course, it’s fueled with hate. Remember it’s OK to say Merry Christmas to me! Give me a break! We even have our seniors profiting off of political correctness.. LOL Anyway, pretty soon, and as I see this Country change, some for the good, and other changes not so good, we will be just one big “free for all” with no freedoms and no code of ethics.

  13. ellen says

    I wrote a post on here and it was deleted. Obviously I offended somebody. Please know I didn’t mean to do that. I think the ‘moderaters’ are the ‘bestest’ people in the world. If it wasn’t for you guys, we wouldn’t have a forum to complain in. My Sincere Apologies.
    My only point: some behavior that we as a society prohibit is to protect the rights of All of Us. We do need some guide lines or we would live in utter chaos. It’s difficult to draw these parameters. If we lived on a desert island, we could all do whatever we wanted, but we don’t.

  14. ellen says

    If it’s any consolation, I’m sitting here feeling like a Total Jerk..and I’m getting very emotional about this. The last thing I ever wanted to do was to hurt anyone’s feelings. Please forgive me. I’m so proud of all the moderators. I’m proud to be a part of this blog.

  15. ellen says

    To Everyone:
    Even though we try to have ‘objective’ discussions and supposedly are just voicing our opinions on people’s political views etc…we are all human beings with feelings. I inadvertantly hurt someone’s feelings tonight because I forgot this principle. We are humans First and Political People second.
    We are all very fragile. I know my feelings have been hurt sometimes on this site, so I know what it feels like. It’s not really an insurmountable task to express an opinion without being sarcastic. Sometimes I am sarcastic and I will be careful to monitor myself for this.
    This blog is a great place to be and I have learned so much! Let’s all remind ourselves {especially me Ellen} that people have feelings no matter how professional and impartial they are supposed to be. We are all human and need to be treated with kindness and understanding. Thanks.

  16. MOM#ELEN

    Ellen-LOL Sometimes my posts don’t go through because I’m sure that when my Indian/Italian blood starts to boil, they delete. So, don’t worry and be happy..Some people get away with it, and some don’t get away with expressing their disagreements. Not saying that there was anything disagreeable about your post, but mine were pretty straight forward.. Have a great peaceful and happy day!!!!;)

  17. siss

    @MOM: Yes, I know what they said, but I asked YOU if YOU thought homosexuality was a disease? You are fighting for equal rights for poc but not for gays? That doesnt add up in my mind. However, you are entitled to your own opinion.

  18. Mom @ Sis

    @Sis – 1950’s Evelyn Hooker studied the difference between homosexuals and heterosexual men..

    1973 – American Psychiatric Assoc removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual as being a “mental disorder”.

    1975 -American Psycologic Assoc. followed suit.

    1994 – AMA – Made a statement: “It’s simply the way a minority of our population expresses human love and sexuality, nor is homosexuality a matter of individual choice. Research suggests that homosexuality orientation is in place very early in life cycle’s possibly even before birth, which affects 10% of the population from all cultures.”

    Now, this is what research suggests. I’ve also will include and stated in my previous posts that I know for a fact that some people are born with hormonal imbalances, which I can understand why they are homosexual. However, I don’t understand how people can get married, have children, and then decide they are in fact homosexual. Either you are or your not! I have known people to get married, and have a family, get a divorce because they thought they were homosexual, and then get remarried as heterosexual. I do believe there is a problem there, don’t you? So, the answer to you question NO. I don’t feel the people that have been born that way have a mental disorder, but maybe a hormonal disorder. However, I have to question the stability of those who abuse their sexuality preference for their own gratification, then simply change their minds, as if. I truly believe it really makes it hard for the minority of people who are in fact born that way, so society, in general, or any logical person would question what research is suggesting. And ,unfortunately, by the behavior of those who claim that they are homosexuals and then keep changing their minds.

  19. siss

    @Mom: you are either born that way, or you are not. Some people are curious and experiment (similar to people trying pot) but that doesnt invalidate the actions/feelings of true homosexuals. Also, can’t you see that since our society is so repulsed with what they find “normal” its easy to see why they are indecisive. If it means losing your friends and family over being who you truely are, then some waffling occurs. As for the married person who later decides he/she is gay: its not that they just one day decided to be gay for the heck of it. Its a hard life MOM, but that doesnt mean it can me a remidied “hormonal” thing. They choose it because they can no longer live a lie, because basically, that is what they are doing.

    Sorry to get sidetracked with this discussion, but its something I feel passionate about. : )

  20. MOM@SIS

    OK! You can choose to believe what you want and I’ll do the same being that I do have a Degree in Health Information aka Medical Librarian. Nothing excites me more then researching health or studying the human body inside and out, including, all major systems, genetics, hormones, and anything else that is associated with the human body and mind. I truly love autopsy’s they are fascinating too me. However, I don’t think autopsy’s should be on prime time TV, and which they are. Now, let’s find the real reason behind why some people experiment. Could it be curiosity or plain old brainwashing from society? Maybe just a little rebellion or running off the primitive brain, or maybe they were told to try it by their Professor’s at school. See, what you don’t obviously get, is that I don’t care what sexual preference a person’s has, but maybe, they need to be a little more discrete when it comes to the developmental stages of our youth.. However, you are really talking to someone that remembers when Doctor’s made house calls, so it could be the generation that I’ve grown up in, and we were not exposed to half of the things that people, in general, are exposed to today. And, Sis, remember, “you are born that way” was a statement the AMA made, and guess what; they did the research, so go yell at them! And, just out of curiosity, why would it be wrong to put a label on homosexuals? The AMA does not have a problem labeling everybody else that may be a little different. Hummm!!! I must ponder this thought a little more.

  21. siss

    Mom, I dont just believe it, I live it. Every. Single. Day. I’ll leave it at that.

    [they need to be a little more discrete when it comes to the developmental stages of our youth]

    Totally agreed. The filth that is readily available to kids and teens is beyond disgusting and should be censored. Adult content is ADULT content and should be only viewed by adults….. BUT lets attack hetrosexual imagery as well!!! We cant say that gays need to tone it down, when straight couples are having sex all over primetime/daytime tv and movies, that’s just a double standard.

  22. ellen says

    siss Says:
    September 25th, 2009 at 1:57 pm
    “Mom, I dont just believe it, I live it. Every. Single. Day. I’ll leave it at that.”
    Most of us think you’re pretty cool around here Siss, and I think I can speak for Mom also. Just wanted to say this cuz in that last post you obviously projected a little sadness. I love both you and long as you back up my posts! {Just Kidding!} 🙂

  23. MOM@Ellen

    Ellen, “Right on Spot” Sis is a wonderful, sincere, and special person. I can sense this about her by the way she writes. I’m just a little concerned about the way so much information is getting into the minds of our youth.. There will be no innocence left, no imagination, no creativity, no nothing. When I was younger we were taught to think for ourselves. We did not have internet, video games etc. We spent most of our time outside playing, which connected us with nature, which is very important, I think. Maybe this is why they take inner city kids to mountain camps? We are a part of Nature, and the problem, we as a society detached ourselves from Nature.. Spring for fresh air. Summer, to feel the warmth of the sun. Fall, to watch the harvest moon of wonder, and Winter for the cold cozy nights spent with people that you love. Nature is the key to soothe the weary soul, so don’t detach yourself too much. At least this is what I try to remind myself to do when I’m feeling down 🙂

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