If there’s any race that shouldn’t feel guilty about slavery, it’s Caucasians, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said on Monday, responding to the growing outrage over the George Zimmerman verdict. On Saturday, 100 cities held rallies organized by the National Action Network for Trayvon Martin, where large crowds demanded a federal civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of the unarmed teen. The protests came just one day after President Obama directly addressed why the verdict has opened up such deep wounds in the African American community.
But in a segment responding to a professor who wrote a blog post arguing the George Zimmerman verdict supported the notion that the “American god” is a “white racist god,” Limbaugh railed against what he described as “white guilt” about the nation’s mistreatment of African Americans, going so far as to suggest that white people shouldn’t be blamed for enslaving black people:
If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery it’s Caucasians. The White race has probably had fewer slaves and for a briefer period of time than any other in the history of the world. […]
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 have done more to end it than any other race and within the bounds of the Constitution to boot. Yet white guilt about slavery is still one of the dominating factors in American politics.
Limbaugh’s comments come at a time when the Zimmerman verdict has sparked discussions of racial issues in America. The Washington Post this morning released a poll showing a large disparity between African-Americans and whites in approval of the verdict, with 86 percent of African-Americans disapproving of the verdict but less than half of whites.
This post has been updated to reflect the specific context of Limbaugh’s remarks.