Invitations To Racism
Conservative talk radio personality and alleged comedian Rush Limbaugh’s imitation of the recent speech made by Chinese President Hu Jintao has stirred anger among in California and across the nation. During his radio program on January 19th, Mr. Limbaugh claimed that there was no translation of the Chinese President’s speech that was made during a visit to the White House. Mr. Limbaugh then took an opportunity to imitate the Chinese dialect with a series of nonsensical iterations of ching-chong-cha. The following day, Mr. Limbaugh claimed to have done a remarkable job of imitating the Chinese dialect for someone who doesn’t know Chinese.
California State Senator Leland Yee launched a campaign demanding an apology from Mr. Limbaugh for what was viewed as racist, derogatory remarks against the Chinese people. Some lawmakers have rallied civil rights groups to boycott major companies that continue to advertise on Limbaugh’s national talk radio show. According to Mr. Limbaugh, such resentment is nothing more than mean spirited vindictiveness from the liberals on the left. In fact, Mr. Limbaugh says that he is doing nothing more than imitating the comic genius of people like Sid Caesar back in the day and offering a “service”, but people on the left now claim that it is racism, bigotry, and insulting.
Mr. Yee has been joined by other Asian-American state and federal lawmakers who are making the contention that Mr. Limbaugh’s comments are inciting intolerance at a time when our social and political climate is most contentious. Civil rights groups such as the Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Japanese American Citizens League have joined Mr. Yee in calling on sponsors to pull advertisements from Mr. Limbaugh’s program. New York Assemblywoman Grace Meng, said that at the very least, Mr. Limbaugh should make an apology. Ms. Meng said that making fun of any country’s leader is in such an obviously racially tainted way is just very disrespectful for someone who says he is a proud American. California Representative Judy Chu said that people need to stand up for civility and be respectful of one another, otherwise the consequences are dreadful.
That’s all fine and good. But where were all of these people and these civil rights organizations before Mr. Limbaugh made his racist comment about the Chinese people? Where were these people when Mr. Limbaugh was saying all his racially derogatory remarks about people in the black community? What is the difference between the racially insensitive comments made by Mr. Limbaugh then as opposed to the racially insensitive comments made by Mr. Limbaugh now? Were derogatory comments about black people in the past more acceptable to these Asian Americans? They must’ve been because Asians weren’t very vociferous about any offensive language then. And if that’s the obvious case, why should anyone outside the Asian community care about racist comments about Asians now?
Anyone with a social conscience that’s capable of crossing racial boundaries would be offended by Mr. Limbaugh’s statements. Mr. Limbaugh will roll his eyes and try to say that people are being selective about what they are offended by and are trying to force him to be politically correct. And he has a valid point. Mr. Yee, Ms. Meng, Ms. Chu, and the others who were moot before would have a lot more credibility if they weren’t so selective about what they find offensive. These people don’t give a rat’s ass about racism. These people have demonstrated that they are offended only by racism against Asians.
In the grand scheme of things, if everyone only talks about racism when it is their race that’s the subject, we’ll never stop racism. It is a divided and therefore conquered mentality. Mr. Limbaugh knows he can get away with his racism because he knows that people in the minority communities do not look out for each other’s interest and are intently focused on their own. If people were truly offended by racism, whether it was directed at people of African descent, people of Asian descent, people of European descent, or people of other descents, we wouldn’t have to suffer the Rush Limbaugh’s in our midst.
The truth of the matter is that racism is alive and well because people simply don’t care until they can relate to the offense being made. People who think and act like Rush Limbaugh aren’t the only problem here. People who talk about racism only when it is they who are offended by racist remarks are part of the problem as well. Being silent when racism occurs only encourages more racism. If Mr. Yee and his associates really cared about racism, if they really wanted to shut Mr. Limbaugh down for his racist tone, they would have initiated their complaints a long time ago. Their silence then was a welcome for Mr. Limbaugh’s racism now. A prime example of how we reap what we sow. We will reap tolerance for racism when we sow tolerance for racism.