Rush Limbaugh offered a history lesson on slavery and race on his radio show Monday, telling listeners, “If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians.” Commenting on the public’s response to the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, Limbaugh advised that “it’s time for all this white guilt to end” because it “is doing nothing for nobody” and “not solving anything.”
Protests were held throughout the country in the aftermath of the jury’s verdict, including the National Action Network’s effort to hold rallies in 100 cities. Supporters of Trayvon Martin and his family are pressuring the Justice Department to investigate the shooting, and have called for the repeal of “Stand Your Ground” laws. (Zimmerman did not use a “Stand Your Ground” defense; he said he shot Martin in self defense after the teen attacked him.)
In his remarks to the nation Friday, President Obama said he had watched the national debate unfold, and added that, 35 years ago, “Trayvon Martin could’ve been me.” President Obama discussed his own experiences as a black man in America, explaining how the shooting and its aftermath were shaped by the nation’s complex and difficult history with race.
Limbaugh said Caucasians should not have any “guilt about slavery” and explained why.
“A little history lesson for you. If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians,” he said. “The white race has probably had fewer slaves, and for a briefer period of time, than any other in the history of the world.”
Limbaugh said that the “rest of the world” gets a pass when the “civil rights coalition gets ginned up.”
“Compared to the kind of slavery that still exists in the rest of the world and has existed, by no means was it anywhere near the worst. The Chinese, the Arabs, black Africans, in fact, we forget about it. Even American Indians were constantly warring against tribes, other tribes for slaves. You know how many wars were fought for slaves, to claim them?
My gosh, folks, the ancient Israelites were all slaves. The Exodus, the war, everything. There have been so many wars fought over this. Ancient Rome went to war to win more slaves. We’re pikers compared to the rest of humanity throughout human history.”
The conservative host argued that since slavery was a main catalyst for the Civil War, Caucasian Americans actually transcended other races by fighting a war to end slavery.
“Despite all that, no other race has ever fought a war for the purpose of ending slavery, which we did. Nearly 600,000 people killed in the Civil War. It’s preposterous that Caucasians are blamed for slavery when they’ve done more to end it than any other race, and within the bounds of the Constitution to boot. And yet white guilt is still one of the dominating factors in American politics. It’s exploited, it’s played upon, it is promoted, used, and it’s unnecessary.”
Limbaugh says he first learned about the president’s speech on Friday evening at a country club party. “The woman [at the party] said, ‘Yeah, and, you know, he had a point. It could have been Obama 34 years ago.’ Folks, I came close to losing it. I realized I was a guest, and I dialed it back somewhat. I said, ‘Yeah, but it didn’t. What is all of this could’ve, would’ve, might’ve, it didn’t happen to him. What happened to Trayvon Martin did not happen to him, probably because he never did what Trayvon Martin did. It didn’t happen to Obama.’”
Before commenting on the president’s speech, Limbaugh reminded his viewers what he said back in 2008.
“He represents the same damn stuff as Jesse Jackson. There’s no difference. I’m convinced of it now: There’s no difference in Obama and Al Sharpton; there’s no difference in Obama and Jesse Jackson. It’s just Obama had a much better mask than those guys. Those guys were argumentative and challenging, and Obama was pleasing and contrite and so forth. So that’s 2008, just to set up what comes next, that Obama and Jackson and Sharpton have the same objective, same mind-set, same cultural references, same views of America. I believed it then, and I know it now.”