Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the U.S. has acted as a “nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing the sometimes “awkward and painful” issue of race relations. Today on his radio show, however, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh rejected Holder’s view claiming, “I, El Rushbo, am no coward. … I show bravery on race” by standing up to the media’s “slavish coverage of black quarterbacks”:
LIMBAUGH: I, El Rushbo, am no coward. … In fact, I show bravery on race. I am totally willing to discuss it openly and honestly. How does one show bravery on race as I have? You talk about media bias, you talk about slavish media coverage of Black quarter backs in the National Football League. Then see what happens. Then watch all hell descend upon you from every quarter of this nation’s media. From print to broadcast to internet. … I show bravery on matters of race.
Limbaugh is clearly still bitter about the fact that he was forced to resign from his position as an ESPN commentator in 2003 for claiming that the media were only interested in Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is black (despite the fact that McNabb has shown himself to be incredibly talented):
Sorry to say this, I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go. I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve.
By citing the McNabb episode as a “brave” moment in the history of race-relations, Limbaugh actually reaffirmed Holder’s point. As Holder explained yesterday, discussions surrounding race and public policy in American society ought to be “nuanced, principled and spirited.” But too often, we leave the conversation to “those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest.”