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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Limbaugh's "Ching Chong" Racism

Limbaugh's bizarre anti-Chinese racism on his show yesterday has already drawn criticism from Salon, Media Matters, and State Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco, who asked for Limbaugh to apologize for his "pointless and ugly offense" and called his comments “sadly indicative of the bigotry that has often plagued his commentary and lined his pockets."

The 20 seconds of babbling “ching chong, ching chong cha” that Limbaugh imagines to be Chinese can't really be transcribed, you need to hear it:

There's a powerful irony here. As I note in my forthcoming book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason (Thomas Dunne Books, March 1), in 1984, Limbaugh was lucky enough to have a friend recommend him to replace Morton Downey, Jr. who was forced out of his job at KFBK in Sacramento, California. Downey had told a joke about a “chinaman” and refusing to apologize. So Limbaugh got his big break in talk radio because of another host's racism. And to be honest, what Downey said wasn't any more racist than Limbaugh's “ching chong” babbling yesterday.

But Limbaugh's rant went beyond just mocking a foreign language for being, well, foreign to him. He also used the occasion to denounce President Obama for the terrible crime of listening to it:
I wonder, to the people that can't speak English, what does it sounds like to them? Because when I hear Chinese or Japanese, it sounds like all the same word, and I can't comprehend of anybody understanding it. Of course that's silly. But he's sitting there, (speaking phonetic Chinese)...and they cut to Obama looking intently as though he understands every word of it (which, what would you expect from the Ruling Class?)

Yes, what else would one expect from the Ruling Class dictator like Obama but for him to listen politely to a foreign leader speaking a foreign language? What, exactly, did Limbaugh expect Obama to do? After all, one of Limbaugh's heroes is Richard Nixon, the man who opened up relations with China.

Beyond racism, it's not clear exactly what Limbaugh has against China. Limbaugh claimed that the Chinese in Africa “are becoming the most vicious colonialists in history,” which once again goes to prove that Limbaugh doesn't understand anything about colonialism or history. According to Limbaugh, “They're buying up -- just as you say, they're buying up -- regional resources. They're letting the locals starve, essentially.” So the Chinese are bad because they're engaging in....capitalism?

It's difficult to make any sense of Rush's incoherent rants. Does he hate Chinese people because of communism, capitalism, colonialism, or just because they speak Chinese? Or is this racism simply a way for Limbaugh to connect with his xenophobic audience?

On his show today, Limbaugh defended himself, claiming that “I did a remarkable job...for someone who doesn't know the language.” Limbaugh complained, “Sid Caesar was called a genius for interpreting foreign languages he didn't speak.”

Of course, Limbaugh's bigotry against the Chinese is minor compared to the anti-black tirades and slurs that he regularly makes. But it's a reminder that Limbaugh's hatred knows no bounds.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

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