Skip to main content

Ignore racism? Fat chance, Rush

By Roland Martin, CNN Contributor
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Sat May 5, 2012
Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, who upbraided Roland Martin on his radio show for comments on racism
Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, who upbraided Roland Martin on his radio show for comments on racism
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roland Martin responded to racist reaction to Joel Ward's game-winning NHL goal
  • On his radio show, Limbaugh veered off one Martin tweet to a soliloquy about liberals and race
  • Martin: Limbaugh didn't even bother to note what the issue was before ranting
  • Racism is in America's DNA, Martin says, and Condoleeza Rice, for one, agrees

Editor's note: Roland S. Martin is a syndicated columnist and author of "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for the TV One cable network and host/managing editor of its Sunday morning news show, "Washington Watch with Roland Martin."

(CNN) -- It's always funny to get tweets and e-mails from followers of radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh. None of them ever actually think of checking the facts out before they begin their ignorant, vile and rambling rants. I suppose that's to be expected because all they are doing is following their feckless leader, Limbaugh.

Last week I took to Twitter to express my disgust with the racist tweets sent to Joel Ward, the Washington Capitals forward who scored the game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins in the pivotal Game 7 of their first round matchup.

Roland Martin
Roland Martin

Ward, who is black, should have been praised for great play. Instead, he was insulted, ridiculed and called the N-word.

As a result, I sent out the following tweets:

-- "It's no shock that a black hockey player is being called nasty vicious things for a game winning goal. Only folks in denial about racism are.

-- "The reality is that weak-minded punks hide behind anonymous comments on message boards AND social media.

-- "I had my arms crossed one day in an editorial meeting and was called "intimidating" & "threatening." Thinking While Black, huh? LOL

-- "I simply accept the reality that racism is in the DNA of America. And when that button is pushed, the true feelings come tumbling out!

-- "Trust me, I know the inherent bigotry in 'we want our country back' and 'he's not like us' or 'you have a different worldview.'"

-- "Why do I love a changing America? Because the walls are tumbling down! One of the last bastions? Media. Some folks are still holding on!"

-- "Sports is great because talent ain't subjective. It's clear. You win or lose. I know from media history/experience that talent is irrelevant"

-- "So to all of the soft/hard bigots, we ain't going anywhere. Keep hatin, we'll keep on fighting & winning. But do know we know who you are!"

Limbaugh was apprised of what I tweeted, so when a young listener called in, he brought up what I wrote and said:

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter and Facebook.com/cnnopinion

"Roland Martin is a friend of Obama's and here is his Tweet: 'I simply accept the reality that racism is in the DNA of America and when that button is pushed the true feelings come tumbling out.'

"You asked me about racism and the media; well, here is a black journalist at CNN. I don't know what this is relating to but again Paul, 'I simply accept the reality racism is in the DNA of America.' So here is a mainstream journalist who just lives with the assumption that this is a racist country. Always there. And in his case is first because he's black, but he's liberal first.

"All liberals are liberals before they're anything else, if they're Jewish, if they're gay, female, male, they're liberals first, Paul. That is their religion. And that religion requires loyalty. You must have faith in them. They are the equivalent of your higher power. You must trust them; you must let them manage your affairs. This guy tweeting today that racism is in the DNA of America, so we are as a country founded in a flawed, sinful way. We are unjust as a country, it's immoral as a country, and that belief allows Mr. Martin excuse to be able to have power over people, to be able to punish people he thinks are racist."

Here is the key phrase out of all of the nonsense Rush spewed: "I don't know what this is relating to."

Had Rush and his crack research team bothered to get the context -- is that a bad disease going around lately? -- he would have realized that I was speaking about the racial slurs against the black hockey player.

That's when all of the knuckleheads began to write me, and many said that I was inciting the issue by even bringing it up. Several suggested that by ignoring racism, all will be well and it will just go away.

Really? Is that how it works?

Look, there is no need for Americans to stop living in denial. Race has been in the DNA of America since its founding. Slavery. Formation of our precious U.S. Constitution. The Civil War. Reconstruction. Jim Crow. The turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement. Integration. Busing.

Pick the subject and we've had to contend with the issue of race. I was only speaking truthfully to what so many Americans love to ignore.

But hey, don't believe me. Here is what Republican star and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had to say about race in America on CBS's "Face the Nation" in 2011:

"It is a birth defect with which this country was born out of slavery; we're never really going to be race blind. I think it goes back to whether or not race and class -- that is, race and poverty -- is not becoming even more of a constraint.

"Because with the failing public schools, I worry that the way that my grandparents got out of poverty, the way that my parents became educated, is just not going to be there for a whole bunch of kids. And I do think that race and poverty is still a terrible witch's brew."

Earlier she discussed the advancements of African-Americans in the U.S. -- whether it's a CEO or president of the United States -- yet even she concluded that "we're never going to erase race as a factor in American life."

So I say DNA. Rice says birth defect. Hmmm, is it really that different?

Ignoring racism will do nothing to solve the problem. Calling it out, speaking against it and educating others is what's important.

I find it hilarious that as an African-American, I'm told to ignore racism. I couldn't imagine telling someone Jewish, "anti-Semitism isn't a big deal! Stop harping on it. It'll disappear."

The problem for too many of us is that we live in a world of denial. We choose not to confront the problem because that means looking inward and confronting how we were raised; what our parents taught us; or even having to check out friends for their bigotry.

Racism isn't just black or white. It can be a two-way street between any groups. I prefer to not be silent about it and call it out.

Have I experienced racism in my life, as well as in the media? Of course! Sure, I grow tired of having to fight battles that should have been long gone, but it is what it is.

So Rush, I'm not going anywhere. I won't back down. I won't surrender. And when racism rears its ugly head, I'll be right there standing up for righteousness and to rid our world of this wretched evil.

Got it?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:50 PM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
updated 8:51 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
updated 12:35 PM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
updated 2:22 PM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
updated 11:33 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
updated 8:45 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
updated 2:50 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
updated 2:03 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
updated 9:49 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
updated 6:05 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
updated 7:42 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 2:53 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
updated 12:37 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
updated 10:08 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT