What Racist Rush said yesterday sickens me. And it’s tough for him to really sicken me given my low expectations. Here it is from No More Mister Nice Blog:
Conservatism is an oppressed minority today. The Republican Party is an oppressed minority…. When you’re an oppressed minority, what do you do? You willingly go to the back of the bus and you willingly shut up and you willingly don’t make waves. If ever a civil rights movement was needed in America, it is for the Republican Party. If ever we needed to start marching for freedom and constitutional rights, it’s for the Republican Party. The Republican Party is today’s oppressed minority, and it knows how to behave as one. It shuts up. It doesn’t cross bridges; it doesn’t run into the Bull Connors of the Democrat Party; it is afraid of the fire hoses and the dogs, it’s compliant.
The Republican Party today has become totally complacent. They are an oppressed minority; they know their position; they know their place. They go to the back of the bus. They don’t use the right restroom and the right drinking fountain, and they shut up….
Barack Obama thinks of himself as a member of an oppressed minority, but he’s not taking it, he’s fighting back. He’s going to go so far as to desecrate the Constitution to address his grievances. The Republican Party, they’ve mastered it, they’ve got it down pat. Washington, DC, may as well be — (interruption) what, Snerdley? Washington, DC, is the Old South for Republicans, if you want to draw the analogy….
There are some many things wrong here – where to begin? Well, sure, as Andrew Golis points out on Nice Blog, lots of activists (especially on the left) use the struggle of African-Americans as a metaphor to describe their own struggle just as African-Americans often used the Jewish story of Moses & slavery in Egypt as a metaphor to describe their plight. Metaphors can be a way of expressing sympathy, and seeking connection with others who have sought relief from injustice. Black folks mostly shrug at a lot of that stuff.
What’s different hearing it from Rush, then? Well, no one is actually oppressing Republicans. In fact, the President has bent over backward to reach out and dialogue with conservative elected officials. It’s insulting to hear someone like Rush talk in a flip manner about restrooms, and buses and dogs because these are things that actually happened to black people in America. Black people who are still alive, mind you! And things that didn’t happen to the kind of people who today represent the Republican party, some of whom fought against Brown v. Board of Education like hell.
“Old South for Republicans” — I mean, what in the sam-hill is this man flappin’ about? The New South is still operates a lot like the Old South for many an African-American.
A lot of y’all reading this grew up in post-segregation America. Yet most black folks in Gen X and Gen Y have all heard the stories from our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles about what life was like for them before change came. The humiliation and the inconvenience — the daily injustices, large and small, that prevented a person from living a full, free life. The stories sometimes choked me with shame and anger — hearing about my aunt protesting a whites-only shopping mall near their HBCU and being spat upon by patrons or my parents wondering where they could use a bathroom or eat on long trips. This was real for us. No metaphors for us.
To appropriate our struggle for non-metaphorical freedom to go to any school we want or eat anywhere or shop anywhere or use any restroom is shameful and incorrect. And also — sinister. This is the exact same talk you can read on white supremacist forums and blogs. Republicans have lost power because of their policies through free and fair elections (mostly fair anyway except where minorities are still regularly blocked from voting). That’s it. No one is actually creating Republicans-only restrooms or shopping malls.
Racist Rush is instead trafficking in the same fear talk and code language as the white supremacists. Head on down to Stormfront.org and read what they are saying. It’s not about what is happening that scares them. It’s what they fear might happen – that something might be taken away from them somehow. And maybe given to someone else who doesn’t look like them. It’s why they want a “Racial Holy War” to prevent the niggers and spics and so on from “taking over”.
Is that what Rush Limbaugh wants? White people taking to the streets, “demanding their rights” — rights to what exactly? To the ways things used to be? Back during Jim Crow? That’s what all this “socialist/marxist/fascist” talk is about — some rightwing whites irrationally and without evidence fear their own oppressive policies being turned against them. Listen to Glenn Beck (who thinks FDR was a Marxist) stating that Sotomayor is yet more evidence of a “hostile Marxist takeover” of the United States! Chris Bowers on OpenLeft did a great piece on the identity politics of the right and this is classic. These are increasingly less subtle dogwhistle appeals to the most frightened, most angry, most vulnerable and most ignorant members of the GOP. An appeal that should shame any thinking Republican who must know that white supremacist code messaging is no way to grow a bigger conservative tent.
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