Racism still has a place in America, and a market

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Let’s talk a little bit about racism, and about the sometimes subtle, sometimes overt ways in which it is communicated and perpetuated. And the text for today’s exploration comes to us courtesy of Tuesday’s broadcast by talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh.

On its face, Limbaugh’s topic for the day had nothing to do with race. It involved Kenneth Starr, the conservative attorney who back in the ’90s had turned an investigation into the Clintons’ Whitewater investments into a meticulous, downright prurient examination of Bill Clinton’s sex life, which Starr documented in exquisite detail.

Today, Starr is back in the headlines. Twenty years after the fact, Donald Trump is resurrecting many of the charges against Clinton that Starr first raised, and 20 years later Starr himself is distinctly unhappy about it. In comments this week, Starr praised Bill Clinton highly, especially for his post-presidential charity work, and expressed regret about the consequences of his investigation on the course of American politics.

“His genuine empathy for human beings is absolutely clear,” Starr said, describing Clinton. “It is powerful, it is palpable and the folks of Arkansas really understood that about him — that he genuinely cared. The ‘I feel your pain’ is absolutely genuine. President Clinton was and perhaps still is the most gifted politician of the baby boomer generation. He just has remarkable gifts.'”

Starr is in the news for another reason as well. In 2010 he was named president of Baylor University, the conservative Baptist university in Texas, and for the moment at least he still holds that job. One of Starr’s proudest accomplishments in that role has been the reinvigoration of Baylor’s football program, which has won 32 games in the past three seasons. But in one of the ironies of history, the man who wrote his name into the history books for his obsessive investigation into a president’s sex life is now under attack for ignoring and downplaying allegations of rape and sexual assault by members of Baylor’s football team. Starr’s handling of that situation has become a major scandal, and he is unlikely to survive as university president.

That’s all pretty strange, but in the crackpot world of Rush Limbaugh, these things are twisted into almost unrecognizable form.  According to the convoluted story that Limbaugh spun for his listeners Tuesday, the scandal now engulfing Starr is actually the work of the devious Clintons, who are taking long-delayed vengeance against their one-time nemesis. (As to how the Clintons could pull off such a feat — don’t ask. They are the Clintons, after all.)

And the nice words that Starr uttered recently about President Clinton? They too become part of the tale, as Starr’s way of begging the Clintons for mercy.

Like I said, it’s bizarre in its own right. So where does race come into this? It doesn’t, and yet … Limbaugh ensures that it does.

In describing the scandal at Baylor, Limbaugh told his listeners Tuesday that Starr is “under heavy investigation for looking the other way when black football players raped co-eds.” Apparently, it’s important to Limbaugh that his listeners know that these weren’t just football players. It was important that his listeners know that these men raping helpless co-eds were BLACK football players.

That inclusion of what ought to be an irrelevant detail wasn’t accidental. We know it wasn’t accidental because later in the same broadcast, Limbaugh again used that exact phrasing: “He’s under heavy investigation for looking the other way when black football players raped co-eds.”

Because of course, the fact that they’re black makes it so much worse. It titillates his listeners and quietly validates their bias, and for that they love him.

This didn’t come out of nowhere. Limbaugh has a long history of racist remarks. He has called for the abolition of the NBA. “Call it the TBA, the Thug Basketball Association, and stop calling them teams. Call ’em gangs,” he said. And the NFL? It “too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.” He also likes to describe people such as Halle Berry and President Obama as “Halfrican Americans.” And on and on it goes.

In a society in which racism clearly had no place, the nation’s most popular talk-radio host wouldn’t be perpetrating and legitimizing it. His success tells us that racism not only still has a place, it clearly has a lucrative market. And as the success of Donald Trump is making clear, it also still has a powerful hold on our politics. As with Limbaugh, it is not by any means the sole reason for Trump’s popularity. But it’s there, clear as day.

 

Reader Comments 0

723 comments
John Fair
John Fair

Jay, the most racist folks in the country are democrats... Your use of projection is astounding

13Directors
13Directors

Uh, no. Racist whites up and left the Democratic party in droves for the Republican party when Johnson signed the Civil Rights act of 1964. You might say that some of our policies have brought more harm than good to minorities but that doesn't equate to racism. 

Robert Betancourt
Robert Betancourt

This paper is so wrong. We are a wonderful melting pot as long as you don't step into my space, job, neighborhood, etc. etc. Oh, let me double click the remote to make sure my car is locked and let me make sure my wallet/purse is with me.

Danny Garner
Danny Garner

The overuse and misuse of the words racist and racism merely lead to an amused shoulder shrug from most people now when they see the words thrown around. They no longer have an impact.

TheBystander
TheBystander

Newsflash jay: 75% of the NBA is African American players.


Woodrow Winters
Woodrow Winters

Theres a room for this paper too. The trash be because thats about all its good for.

Scott Shockley
Scott Shockley

This entire article is about Bill Clinton, Kenneth Starr, and Rush Limbaugh. Why is Trump in the photo? Ya'll just figured throw Trump and Rush on the picture and make sure racism is in the headline. I mean after all, you cant spell racism without Republican.

13Directors
13Directors

"Today, Starr is back in the headlines. Twenty years after the fact, Donald Trump is resurrecting many of the charges against Clinton that Starr first raised, and 20 years later Starr himself is distinctly unhappy about it. In comments this week, Starr praised Bill Clinton highly, especially for his post-presidential charity work, and expressed regret about the consequences of his investigation on the course of American politics."

Sam Zbib
Sam Zbib

It's a stretch to call Trump or his supporters racist but Rush Limbaugh, yes he's a paranoid racist etc...

Robert Karma
Robert Karma

America's Original Sin was the near annilation of the Native Americans our white Christian forefathers "discovered" when they came to these shores. Our second Original Sin was to enslave human beings from Africa. We fought a Civil War that allegedly "freed" the African-Americans from this insidious bondage but we instituted Jim Crow laws to keep Negros in their proper subservient place. LBJ knew the Democrats would lose the South for a generation by championing Civil Rights bills through Congress and signing them into law. Despite this slow pace of change there has been progress. Still, racism is alive and well in America and this bigotry is a source of power and wealth for people with no ethical or moral foundation like Limbaugh. He gleefully exploits this racism to promote his own well being not caring about the damage wrought upon his faithful ditto heads. The GOP also showed no moral scruples by embracing the Southern Strategy and turning the party of Lincoln into the party of the straight white Christian bigots build on exploiting the hatred and distrust of the "other" in our society, women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, the GLBT community, the well-educated, etc. This "us vs them" mentality divides us and cripples our ability to function as a Constitutional Republic as envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Throw in a level of greed and avarice not seen since the Gilded Age and it's clear that the path that Trump takes us down is to our own destruction.

Brandon Hightower
Brandon Hightower

It's called Ajc. The most biased and racist "news" in America

mgunter
mgunter

Bookman , you are th racist........ You are always posting garbage that people don't care about anymore. We are all Americians! Enough with th labels !

Northernindependent
Northernindependent

GOP goobers making a wedge issue and rallying cry out of  Dept of Education  Directive on transgenders and bathrooms. They claim overreach by Obama like they did on immigration , gay marriage and Obamacare, Funny thing is Dept. of Education was following exactly a ruling one month ago by US Court of Appeals as subtly mentioned in the directive.


""G.G. ex rel. Grimm v. Gloucester Cty. Sch. Bd., __ F.3d __, 2016 WL 1567467 (4th Cir. Apr. 19, 2016). The district court dismissed a Title IX sex discrimination claim brought by a transgender boy high school student who was denied access to the boys' restroom. Reversing and remanding the case for further proceedings, the Court of Appeals held: "At the heart of this appeal is whether Title IX requires schools to provide transgender students access to restrooms congruent with their gender identity," and the district court failed to give appropriate deference to the U.S. Department of Education's interpretation of how its own sex discrimination regulation should apply to transgender students. That interpretation was set forth in a January 15, 2015 letter from the Department's Office for Civil Rights, which advised: "When a school elects to separate or treat students differently on the basis of sex . . . a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.""""


Goobers don't understand Obama does not control the Courts. That is why they are the Stupid Party.

TDMan
TDMan

Jay, If you can take off the rsoe colored galsses and take a big drink of reality you might also mention the racist race baiters in the black community....Wright, Farrakan, Jackson etc?

Nah...would not matter as you have a one track mind obliviously after all these years and all your biased articles.

JayTokash
JayTokash

Geez, public education sure isn't working very well if the comments to this opinion piece are any indication. And, if some of these comments are coming from privately educated people America is in real trouble. What the heck happened to conservatives in America to cause reality based thinking to disappear? I hope you folks spouting venom do not vote.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

A $400 POS handgun (Sorry, Kel-Tec fans) sold at auction for over $200,000 for the SIMPLE reason that it was used to kill a black kid.


But you're right, it's BET that's the REAL culprit in perpetuating racism.

salvagelady11
salvagelady11

Rush Limbaugh is NO racist.  Liberals just latch on to anything and call it racist or bigoted to try and shut conservatives up.  We have had it.     I like all races and gays but I am no longer tolerant of all the left's political correctness and dreaming up things to separate and divide the masses.  We are all AMERICANS.  Quit focusing on race and sex and social issues and fix some real problems like beheadings, debt and illegals aliens taking over our country and social services.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@salvagelady11 ISIS is killing young black men at a much lower rate than American police officers. So "real problems" is certainly a matter of perspective, don't ya think?

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@ScubaSteve young black men are killing young black men at a much higher rate than American police officers so " real problems " are a matter of perspective don't ya think

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

@Infraredguy @ScubaSteve Of course I do. Both are real problems. ISIS is a real problem.


My point was aimed at her "quit focusing on race" as if to say that it isn't a real problem. I've never understood the inability for us to have multiple real problems at once. 

Allen53
Allen53

I listened to Rush's show and Bookman naturally came away with a different take. I am a long time reader of the AJC but I quit reading Bookman years ago. The Clinton are despicable and became multimillionairea off their foundation but they didn'the earn it. Bookman and Luckovich should write a cartoon strip together then I might start reading him.

larrycarver
larrycarver

I read the comments below and want to weep.  It is amazing that so many ignorant, bigoted, stupid people live in this country.  Do these people ever read anything but comic books and "Guns & Ammo"?

Summerglen
Summerglen

Bookman, you are the racist.  Idiot journalist (oops, wrong choice of words) like you are the problem with this country.  Go write a comic book strip, you are so funny. 

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

The problem is if Bill Clinton didn't have 'his' pants around 'his' ankles in The Oval Office during those eight long nightmarish years, the twin towers would still be standing today. Not only did Bill Clinton compromise our national security, 'he' lied under oath which was deserving of a proper Impeachment, but NEEDED TO include a permanent removal. 


"What does this all have to do with Hillary, Bill?" you naive secular progressive fools would say. 


Bill replies, "Because Hitlery Clintax was not only involved with Bill's failed 'presidency,' but enabled his peccadilloes by giving his poor old Bill a green-light with 'his' affairs and then threatening the victims thus ruining their lives!" 


THAT'S A WOMAN WHO IS FIGHTING FOR OTHER WOMEN? WHAT? DID YOU LIBERALS CHECK WHATEVER IS LEFT OF YOUR BRAINS AT THE DOOR?


My pals, Hillary WAS TOTALLY INVOLVED and EVERYTHING IS FAIR GAME!!!!! GENNIFER, VINCE FOSTER, WHITEWATER, PAULA, MONICA, HIGH TAXE$, FAILED ECONOMY, PAUL BEGALA, HUSSEIN OBAMA, ELLEN DEGENERATE, BILL  AYERS, FATHER PFLEGER, FAST AND FURIOUS, BENGHAZI - ALL OF IT!!!!!! 


This once-free nation WILL BE in terrible peril if it 'elects' The Billary Machine. IT'S DANGEROUS MY PALS!!!!!!


Amen,

Bill 

gotalife
gotalife

Ryan decries 'bitterness' in politics Jesse Byrnes - 05/25/16 09:41 AM EDT

The Speaker says in a new video that Republicans are also responsible for the "bitterness."

OMG, he actually blamed the gop party for something.

It is a miracle.

breckenridge
breckenridge

May 24 -  You may have seen reports about a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook that will be submitted to the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) for approval and use in the state’s public schools.

That textbook is already generating controversy. Cursory reviews of the book show that it includes troubling passages like this one:

 “Chicanos adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.”

Just as troubling is who is behind this text. Cynthia Dunbar, a former SBOE member who believes public education is a "subtle tool of perversion" and the separation of church and state is a myth, owns the company that submitted this book. Dunbar doesn’t have any qualifications to create a Mexican-American studies textbook. And neither do her buddies at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University who helped her write this book.

Like fellow Texan David Barton, Cynthia Dunbar is a serial liar.  No school system should use anything she authors.


KUTGF
KUTGF

@breckenridge Did them Chicanos join up with the Dinosaurs in their destructive desires?

rimsky
rimsky

CEOs at the biggest companies got a 4.5 percent pay raise last year. That's almost double the typical American worker's, and a lot more than investors earned from owning their stocks — a big fat zero.///////

Can these CEOs be replaced with robots.  AI can fix that problem.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@rimsky

If you will learn to focus on what YOU do with your life and not so much others you just may get motivated to put down that laptop, get out of bed, shave and shower, and go make a difference in the world.

I can smell you from here!

RangeRover
RangeRover

@KUTGF

Aisle 2 where the coffee is located.

Feels good to be earning my keep. You should try it!

KUTGF
KUTGF

@RangeRover @KUTGF Thanks.  I am too busy spending my billions in EBT money.  Now you made a mess in the bathroom....get in there and do what you do best....here's a spork. 

CanklesMcJowls
CanklesMcJowls

Yet another mindless and pointless drivel bog from Jay Bookman. Tell us Jay, are you a regular closet listener of Rush?  You hit everyone but Fox News and Bill O'Reilly in your post that you regularly spew hatred and despise for.  


For all of your divisiveness and racism claims towards republicans, GOP, and conservatives, you fail to see the irony of your own bias. You fail to grasp that liberal journalists, news organizations, and yes lowly bloggers are part of the winds which drive support for someone like DJT.  Calling people racists, bigots, deniers, and etc all while asserting your liberal view as the most educated and enlightened is different from Rush how other than being the antithesis?  Don't get me wrong, your not actually relevant enough to be compared to Rush, but the fact you spend an entire blog going over your Rush notes is quite telling.


Deletion of critical Jay comment in 3....2...



rimsky
rimsky

@CanklesMcJowls and racism claims towards republicans, GOP, and conservatives,///////

Are Republicans a race of people?  who would have thunk that.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@CanklesMcJowls

As you may have noticed, Jay plays to the 10-15 bloggers on here that make up 99% of all the comments.  That's his support system that lifts him up while typing lies and deception for a dying newspaper.

You may also notice that these cast of characters post throughout the day, every day, no doubt incentivized to not work as welfare pays more these days than jobs.


CanklesMcJowls
CanklesMcJowls

@RangeRover @CanklesMcJowls You mean bloggers like "gotsnolife" who post 24/7?


You have to admit the blogger himself and these cast of know it all clowns are good for some entertainment value occasionally...

RangeRover
RangeRover

@CanklesMcJowls

That's my only motivation to visit here...entertainment.

Conservatives are out working to support their families, tithe, and give back to their communities.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve

Cleveland, Mississippi was ORDERED to desegregate it's schools by a Federal court on May 17, 2016.


But please, continue on about how groups like the NAACP are the problem.