Rush Limbaugh's Death Doesn't Excuse His Bigoted Past

Photo: The Rush Limbaugh Show / YouTube
Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh was known throughout his life as an American radio host and a prominent conservative political commentator. 

He passed away on February 17th from complications of lung cancer. 

Of course, with any death of a prominent figure, people immediately took to social media to express their thoughts, though unlike other famous people that have passed away, many social media users aren’t exactly posting their sympathies and well-wishes for Limbaugh or his family.

Instead, in light of his death, many people have brought up his bigoted and offensive past remarks.

I join many of those people: Just because Rush Limbaugh passed away doesn’t excuse his bigoted past and the pain he caused to many individuals in marginalized communities.

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Just after the news broke that Limbaugh had passed, former President Donald Trump held a phone interview with Fox News, where he praised Limbaugh as “irreplaceable” and as “a fantastic man, a fantastic talent.”

Of course, the one-term President held Limbaugh in such high regard because both of them had a shared love and embrace of racism, sexism, and bigotry: traits that Limbaugh used that also helped Trump find his seat within The White House as President.

Limbaugh used his vast platform to alter America’s far-right political movement that allowed many conservative Republican politicians to win elections — including Trump.

Even Barack Obama’s former chief of staff and former mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel called Limbaugh, "the voice and intellectual force of the Republican Party.” Limbaugh allowed people like Trump to unabashedly show their true colors and have as much freedom as they wanted while spewing words of hate.

Long before Trump was quoted in the media in 2015 for his hateful comments against Mexicans, calling them “rapists,” Limbaugh in 2013 was praising Cubans, a community that has tended to vote Republican while making comments that Mexicans were lazy. 

In 1993, Limbaugh made comments on his show that the U.S. should let Mexicans into America to do the “unskilled and stupid” work.

Limbaugh also made problematic comments against the Black community. On his radio show, Limbaugh told a Black caller to, “take that bone out of your nose and call me back.” He also once said, “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"

Of course, it gets worse.

In 2012, Limbaugh made vile and offensive comments against women right after law student Sandra Fluke testified before Congress in support of birth control being covered by health insurance.

In response, he declared, “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception.”

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You would think with all of these harmful and outright offensive comments, Limbaugh would’ve never been able to keep up a fan base for as long as he did. But disturbingly, his media presence only grew in size. 

He not only spent decades creating figures like Trump, but he also spent those same decades emboldening hatred into regular people in society. 

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Limbaugh managed to put targets on practically every marginalized community, which, I’m sorry to say, doesn’t make his death very meaningful to the communities he spent years trashing.

It was Limbaugh who peeled back the curtain that allowed many people to revel in their inner bigotry and gave many white people platforms and opportunities to go out into the world and declare their hatred for Black people, the LGBTQ community, women, and any other person they deemed insignificant.

I didn’t include every bigoted comment Limbaugh has made because I’d be writing for days, but the ones that I did include are a representation of his personality, of who he truly was. 

NYT best-selling author of The Black Friend: On Being A Better White Friend Frederick Joseph posted that, “The world having less Rush Limbaughs is a reason to celebrate because it means that there is more of a chance that the rest of us survive.” And I agree.

People like Limbaugh made it extremely difficult to be Black in America, to be a part of the LGTBQ community, to be a woman, to be a Muslim, to be Mexican. 

So, if you think I’m shedding a tear for Limbaugh, think again. Anyone who openly tries to spew hatred towards my community isn’t worth my sympathy. 

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.