The New Black Woman wrote a post, asking, “Why are white feminists silent on Limbaugh’s attacks on FLOTUS?”
In case you haven’t heard, Rush Limbaugh called First Lady Michelle Obama fat.
I’m fairly new to blogging, and I didn’t write about it because while I think we do need to combat racist memes in the media, when I first heard about this I saw this more as juvenile name calling that blatant racism. After reading The New Black Woman’s post, I can acknowledge that this initial understanding was influenced heavily by White privilege – I assumed that any reasonable person would realize that Rush Limbaugh is a racist piece of garbage without the class that Michelle Obama has in her little finger. What I didn’t think about was how a Black person would see it differently. And I think that’s the heart of the reason that White feminists haven’t called him out for racism about this comment. It’s (wrongly) perceived more as spitballs than cannon fire.
I would agree that everything Rush Limbaugh says about the Obamas is tainted with racism, however subtle, and I have left it to organizations like Media Matters to shine the spotlight on his rancid pronouncements. They’ve called out these comments at least four times so far. Chris Matthews has also made an issue of this on Hardball.
I do not know what should be done about hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh. I dread the thought that ignoring him makes it look as if I agree with anything he has said. He has a huge amount of power and influence and I would be much harder to take down than say, Don Imus. I’m not sure how to go about any sort of activism in opposition to his vile rhetoric without rallying his supporters or wasting my efforts. Can his reputation be tarnished anymore that it is? He’s not exactly an uncontroversial figure.
These past few months, I’ve seen a lot of feminists using twitter as a way to spread awareness about issues. Sady Doyle started #mooreandme to bring attention to insensitive comments about rape victims by Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann, and #DearJohn to call out the Republicans for trying to take away access to reproductive healthcare. Amanda Marcotte started #ThanksPPFA to praise Planned Parenthood for giving women that care. Maybe there should be hash tag to call out Rush Limbaugh? Or to respond to racist attacks on Michelle Obama? On the Obamas in general? Racism in the media at large?