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Limbaugh's “colorblind” history of racially charged comments

On October 12, Rush Limbaugh responded to accusations that he is “insensitive” and has a “blind spot” about race by claiming that he is “colorblind,” “treat[s] everybody equally” and that he “doesn't see [President Obama] as black,” but rather as “president of the United States.” In fact, Limbaugh has an extensive history of making racially charged remarks about minorities and routinely race-baits while criticizing Obama and his policies, such as saying that Obama is a “reverse racist” and that his economic policies amount to “reparations.”

  • Limbaugh claims he is “colorblind” and “treat[s] every equally”

    From the October 12 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

    LIMBAUGH: I've had people say to me, well, I think you've got a blind spot. You don't know what it's like to have a heritage that black people [unintelligible] -- oh, I most certainly do not have a blind spot, and I most certainly do understand it. I understand that all human beings have obstacles. We all have to overcome them. There's no better place to overcome those obstacles than the United States of America. The freest country, the freest people on Earth. And what really saddens me and disappoints me to this day is that there are people who are not inspired and taught about how great they can be because they are Americans.

    Frankly, the biggest problem I face in the current climate of political correctness is that I'm colorblind about it. I don't say politically correct things about it. For example, in the Today show interview, Jamie Gangel: “Weren't you moved by the election of the first black president?” Yeah, I was. Great historical fact, but I got over it pretty quickly, because I don't see him as black. I see him as president of the United States, and I'm more concerned about his policies.

    I love this country. I want everyone in this country to succeed. I want everyone in this country to pursue happiness. I want everyone to benefit as an American, as I have. I stand in no one's way. I am not the one putting obstacles in people's way. I'm the one trying to sweep them away, and in so doing, I don't speak politically correct language, and as such, I'm accused of being insensitive. I guess my problem is I treat people as adults. I treat them as informed, I treat them as educated, and I treat them as equals. I don't condescend to people, and I don't run around feeling sorry for people, because that doesn't help them. After you feel sorry for somebody, then what do you do?

    It's all up to us to make the most of the one life we are blessed to be given by God. And I cringe when I see so many lives not reaching anywhere near their potential, because others capitalize on their failure to do so. And that happens not just with racial issues; it happens with all minorities. We have assumed that we're an unjust and unfair country. That all of the minorities, for whatever reason they are minorities, are victims of an unfair, unjust, immoral America.

    And there are white people that buy into that stuff, too, because they don't want to run around feeling guilty, and they don't want to run around people thinking that they are racist. It's all political correctness that has led people to thinking this. And so, when I, for example, say, I think the media has little interest in a black quarterback doing well, I mean it. Most of the sports media is politically correct liberals.

    And that kind of surface stuff matters to them. I'm interested in people's hearts and their souls, because that's what animates us as human beings. Not our skin color. I'm colorblind. I have reached the point where everybody professes we need to go. I treat everybody equally. Nobody is -- in the political arena -- I don't care. Male, female, black, white, gay, straight, bisexual. If you are opposed to the things I think are great for the country, I'm going to say so. I'm going to criticize you. Not because of whatever it is distinguishes you from me on a surface basis, but because of ideas. I'm just a lone guy here, in the arena of ideas, sharing mine. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/12/09]

    Limbaugh has made numerous racially charged remarks about Obama

    • “We are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles ... because his father was black.” After Obama's inauguration, Limbaugh said during an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News that "[r]acism in this country is the exclusive province of the left. We're witnessing racism all this week that led up to the inauguration. We're being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles. Bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president. We've got to accept this. The racism that everybody thinks exists on our side of the aisle has been on full display throughout their primary campaign. So I think they've done a great job, the media has, of covering up his deficiencies."

    • “I do believe” Obama is an “angry black guy.” Responding to accusations that he had called Obama “an angry black man,” Limbaugh said on July 27 “they're finally hearing me -- he's an angry black guy. I do believe that about the president. I do believe he's angry; I think his wife is angry. All liberals are enraged all the time anyways. They're always mad.” Previously, Limbaugh had said that Obama is “one angry guy.”

    • "[I]n Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering." On September 15, Limbaugh said: “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 -- 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.' And of course everybody says, 'Oh, the white kid deserved it. He was born a racist, he's white.' Newsweek magazine told us this. We know that white students are destroying civility on buses. White students destroying civility in classrooms all over America. White congressmen destroying civility in the House of Representatives. We can redistribute students while we redistribute their parents' wealth. I mean, we can just redistribute everything. Just return the white students to their rightful place, their own bus, with bars on the windows and armed guards. They're racist. They get what they deserve. Newsweek magazine told us this -- post-racial America. I mean, I wonder if Obama's going to come to the defense of the assailants the way he did his friend Skip Gates up there at Harvard.”

    • “Obama's entire economic program is reparations.” On June 22, Limbaugh said, “What they don't know is that Obama's entire economic program is reparations. If I were [Al] Sharpton, if I'd been guest-hosting Sharpton's show, and I got a call like that, somebody complaining, I'd say, 'No, hey, hey, hey. Shh, shh. Let me tell you the truth here. Everything in the stimulus plan, every plan he's got is reparations. He gonna take from the rich, he's gonna take from the -- he's gonna give it to you. It just can't happen overnight. Be patient.' That's what's -- redistribution of wealth, reparations, returning the nation's wealth to its rightful owners, whatever you want to call it, it's reparations.”

    • Obama is “more African in his roots than he is American” and is “behaving like an African colonial despot.” After reading extensively from an American Thinker column smearing Obama, Limbaugh said on June 26 that Obama is “more African in his roots than he is American” and is “behaving like an African colonial despot.”

    • Obama is “Halfrican-American.” On January 24, 2007, Limbaugh referred to Obama and actress Halle Berry as “Halfrican-American[s],” stating that “Barack Obama has picked up another endorsement: Halfrican-American actress Halle Berry.” Limbaugh then said: " 'As a Halfrican-American, I am honored to have Ms. Berry's support, as well as the support of other Halfrican Americans,' Obama said." Limbaugh then conceded that Obama “didn't say it.”

    • “Obama has disowned his white half ... he's decided he's got to go all in on the black side.” On March 21, 2008, Limbaugh said of Obama's handling of the controversy surrounding remarks by Rev. Jeremiah Wright: “It is clear that Senator Obama has disowned his white half, that he's decided he's got to go all in on the black side.” Limbaugh had earlier said: "[Y]ou know, opening these race wounds like this, taking us back 30, 40 years, making it look like no progress has been made -- what Barack Obama has done -- I'm going to say something here that might offend -- or not offend -- but might make some uncomfortable. But it is clear to me that there has been a major transformation in Senator Obama."

    • Sotomayor “a reverse racist” appointed by Obama, “the greatest living example of a reverse racist.” On May 26, Limbaugh said then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a “reverse racist” and that liberals are wrong to assert that “minorities cannot be racists” because Obama is the “greatest living example of a reverse racist and now he's appointed one.” On his May 29 show, Limbaugh compared Sotomayor's nomination to nominating David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan member, and said the way to “get promoted in the Barack Obama administration” is “by hating white people.”

    • Obama “wants us to have the same health care and plan that he had in Kenya” and “wants to be the black FDR.” On August 24, Limbaugh said he “finally figured out why it is Obama's pushing so hard on this health care bill.” He asserted: “He just wants us to have the same health care and plan that he had in Kenya. And look, you know, economic anxiety is necessary if you want to become the next black FDR, which is -- well, the black FDR. That's what he wants. He wants to be the black FDR, the next FDR, and FDR fed off of economic anxiety.”
    • Latching onto LA Times op-ed, Limbaugh sings “Barack, The Magic Negro.” On March 19, 2007, Limbaugh highlighted a Los Angeles Times op-ed that described Obama as “running for an equally important unelected office, in the province of the popular imagination -- the 'Magic Negro' ” -- a term used by critics of pop culture to describe certain benevolent African-American characters. Limbaugh stated: “The term 'Magic Negro' has been thrown into the political presidential race in the mix for 2008. And the term 'Magic Negro,' as applied to Barack Obama has been done by an LA Times columnist, David Ehrenstein.” Limbaugh later asserted: “I'm going to keep referring to him as that, because I want to make a bet that by the end of this week I will own that term,” adding, “If I refer to Obama the rest of the day as the 'Magic Negro,' there will be a number of people in the drive-by media and on left-wing blogs who will credit me for coming up with it and ignore the LA Times did it, simply because they can't be critical of the LA Times, but they can, obviously, be critical of talk radio.” Limbaugh continued to refer to Obama as the “Magic Negro” throughout the broadcast -- 27 times, to be exact -- and at one point sang “Barack, the Magic Negro” to the tune of "Puff, the Magic Dragon." Limbaugh defended his use of the song, stating, “Well, that's what we always do here. We do parodies and satires on the idiocy and phoniness of the left.”

    • “God does not have a birth certificate. Neither does Obama”; Obama “has yet to prove he's a citizen.” Limbaugh has also advanced the theory that Obama was not born in the United States, saying that “God does not have a birth certificate. Neither does Obama” and that Obama “has yet to have to prove he's a citizen. All he'd have to do is show a birth certificate.”
    • Limbaugh on Gates controversy: “Here you have a black president trying to destroy a white policeman.” On July 24, Limbaugh said Obama “all of a sudden, this guy that [moderates] elected, who they thought was all of these wonderful, perfect things, is now behaving as a community organizer and is fanning the flames of race, and is calling the police stupid. And I guarantee you those people -- we've all been waiting to ask the question, when are the Obama voters going to wake up? Well, this incident might be -- I don't know yet, a little early to say -- this incident might be the wake-up call for some of these moderates. ... You know that there were a lot of people that voted for Obama out of pure guilt. Hoping that that -- the election, his election would just wipe the slate clean, at least make them feel better about it. And this just destroys that. Here you have a black president trying to destroy a white policeman when he doesn't know the facts of the case.” Limbaugh also said on July 23 that white policemen are “under assault” “from the East Room of the White House.”

    • Limbaugh suggests Obama would not have acted on Somali pirates if he'd known they were “actually young, black Muslim teenagers.” On April 14, Limbaugh suggested the “correct” way to look at a situation in which Obama sent the military to retrieve American hostages from Somali pirates was that “if only President Obama had known that the three Somali community organizers were actually young, black Muslim teenagers, I'm sure he wouldn't have given the order to shoot.”
    • Limbaugh suggests Democrats, media believe “you can't criticize the little black man-child.” Referring to GOP ads comparing Obama to Britney Spears during the presidential campaign, on August 20, 2008, Limbaugh said: “It's -- you know, it's just -- it's just we can't hit the girl. I don't care how far feminism's saying, you can't hit the girl, and you can't -- you can't criticize the little black man-child. You just can't do it, 'cause it's just not right, It's not fair. He's such a victim.” The previous day, Limbaugh had said that “it is striking how unqualified Obama is and, and how this whole thing came about with, within the Democrat Party. I think it really goes back to the fact that nobody had the guts to stand up and say no to a black guy.” Limbaugh went on to say, “I think this is a classic illustration here where affirmative action has reared its ugly head against them.”

    Limbaugh has an extensive history of making racially charged comments

    • “The government's been taking care of [young blacks] their whole lives.” On February 1, 2007, Limbaugh responded to a Reuters report about a University of Chicago study that found that “a majority of young blacks feel alienated from today's government” by asserting, “Why would that be? The government's been taking care of them their whole lives.”
    • “The days of [minorities] not having any power are over, and they are angry.” On June 4, Limbaugh said, “This has been the argument the Reverend Jackson has proffered throughout my life -- that it's impossible for minorities to be racist because they don't have any power. Well, president of the United States. We're talking now about a Supreme Court justice. The days of them not having any power are over, and they are angry. And they want to use their power as a means of retribution. That's what Obama's about, gang. He's angry; he's going to cut this country down to size. He's going to make it pay for all the multicultural mistakes that it has made -- its mistreatment of minorities. I know exactly what's going on here.”

    • "[M]inorities never do anything for which they have to apologize." On April 12, 2007, Limbaugh criticized Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson for refusing to apologize to three former members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team who were accused of rape in March 2006 -- all charges were dropped on April 11, 2007 -- and asserted that “minorities never do anything for which they have to apologize.” Presumably referring to the decision by CBS Radio and MSNBC to stop airing Imus in the Morning following controversial comments by host Don Imus, Limbaugh stated: “Everybody's demanding that everybody apologize in this country for simply breathing. It's getting to the point some people are not allowed to breathe or exhale, or make syllables.” Limbaugh went on to complain about the protests Sharpton and Jackson led condemning Imus' remarks, saying: “They're members of the minority. Don't ever forget that this is the case. Minorities, victims, members of groups, are allowed to do anything to address their grievances and to get noticed, because ... they're so oppressed.”
    • Limbaugh: “The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.” In 2003, Limbaugh resigned from his job as an ESPN commentator after saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb hasn't “been that good from the get-go” and “got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve,” because "[t]he media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well." After the Eagles reached Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, Limbaugh returned to making racial comments about McNabb, saying, “There's no question McNabb has improved and I'm happy to see it,” but that “when the defense ... was propping the Eagles up,” the media “were still giving McNabb credit -- because there's this social hope.”

    • Limbaugh says “NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips.” On January 19, 2007, Limbaugh stated: “Look it, 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.”

    • Limbaugh declares basketball “the favorite sport of gangs.” Discussing the government's attempts to curb violence, Limbaugh told a caller on October 7: “It's not reasonable that you should understand the insanity that local and state and federal bureaucracies are doing. It's perfectly normal and understandable that none of what they do would make sense to you. My question -- OK, a 1 cent sales tax to fight gang violence. What do you spend the money on to fight gang violence? Afterschool program -- don't we already have afterschool programs? Don't we already have -- what do you call it, extracurricular events? Midnight basketball -- I mean, we've done it all. We've taken the favorite sport of gangs, and we put it at midnight to get them on the basketball court. We had 100,000 new cops with Clinton -- we've done it all. And the problem still is out of control. Liberalism doesn't work.”
    • Limbaugh invented “racial component” to Hackett's decision to withdraw from Ohio primary race. During the 2006 Democratic primaries, Limbaugh invented a racial element to explain Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett's departure from the Ohio Democratic Senate primary race against then-Rep. Sherrod Brown, asserting, “And don't forget, Sherrod Brown is black. There's a racial component here, too.” In fact, Brown is white -- a point on which Limbaugh was corrected later in the program.
    • Limbaugh on Survivor series: “African-American tribe” worst swimmers, Hispanics “will do things other people won't do.” On August 23, 2006, Limbaugh suggested that the competition in a season of CBS' Survivor, in which contestants were reportedly divided into competing “tribes” by ethnicity, “is not going to be fair if there's a lot of water events.” In support of this assertion, he cited a March 2, 2006, HealthDay article reporting that “young blacks -- especially males -- are much more likely to drown in pools than whites.” He later added that Hispanics have “probably shown the most survival tactics,” that they “have shown a remarkable ability to cross borders,” and that they can “do it without water for a long time, they don't get apprehended, and they will do things other people won't do.” On his September 29, 2006, show, Limbaugh claimed "[t]here can only be one reason" Survivor scrapped “segregated” competition after two episodes -- “the white tribe had to be winning.”
    • Limbaugh suggested Colin Powell only supported Obama because of race. After Limbaugh asserted that Colin Powell should leave the Republican Party because of his support for Obama, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) said on MSNBC's Morning Joe that "[i]t's not up to Rush Limbaugh to decide who ought to be in the Republican Party." Limbaugh responded on his May 18 show that all Democrats “had to do was nominate an African-American and [they've] got Colin Powell.”
    • Limbaugh: Gates is an “angry racist.” On July 27, Limbaugh said Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates is an “angry racist.”
    • Limbaugh called illegal immigrants an “invasive species.” Referring to an April 1, 2005, federal court ruling that prohibited shipping boats from dumping of ballast water containing “invasive species,” including some types of mollusks, into U.S. waters, Limbaugh described illegal immigrants as an “invasive species” that U.S. courts willingly permit to enter the country.
    • Limbaugh repeatedly calls Native Americans “Injuns.” Media Matters for America documented at least four separate instances of Limbaugh using this slur on his program.
    • Limbaugh says Democrats' interest in Darfur is securing black “voting bloc.” On August 21, 2007, Limbaugh claimed that Democrats “want to get us out of Iraq, but they can't wait to get us into Darfur.” He continued: “There are two reasons. What color is the skin of the people in Darfur? It's black. And who do the Democrats really need to keep voting for them? If they lose a significant percentage of this voting bloc, they're in trouble.” A caller responded, “The black population,” to which Limbaugh said, “Right.”
    • Limbaugh says that if “feminazis” had remembered to oppose “affirmative action for black guys ... they wouldn't face the situation they face today.” On May 21, 2008, Limbaugh said that “one of the objectives of the feminazis over the last 20, 25 years has been to dominate the public education system so as to remove the competitive nature of boys. You know, there's a crisis of young man-boy education in the schools. And they did this on purpose, to eliminate male competition in the work force. This is part of feminazi grand plan.” Limbaugh then said, “They forgot affirmative action for black guys. And because of that, every bit of their plan has gone up in smoke now, because they -- if -- they had to come out in favor of affirmative action for black guys, and that's -- see, this is one of the things that really irritates the women. And there are women all over this country fit to be tied -- trust me on this. ... [L]iberals eventually are going to be devoured by their own policies. And it has happened here. Because Barack Obama is an affirmative action candidate.” He concluded, “So, it's just -- they just forgot that one thing: affirmative action for black guys. And if they had remembered to oppose that, then they wouldn't face the situation they face today.”