Hyphen magazine - Asian American arts, culture, and politics


Limbaugh's Racist Rendition of Chinese President Speech Leads to Death Threats against California Senator


Rush Limbaugh's crass schoolyard rendition of Chinese President Hu Jintao's speech during a recent visit proves once again that in the land of uber douchebags Limbaugh is king. Not to be outdone by Adam Corolla and Rosie O'Donnell, Limbaugh ching-chong'ed better than any of his douchebag predecessors, successfully enraging the Asian American community and adding yet another honor to his plaque in the Douchebag Hall of Fame.

A portion of the show transcript from his website (Nice that it describes Limbaugh's unintelligible ching-chonging as actually "speaking phonetic Chinese." For audio check the links below): 

"Hu Jintao is speaking, and speaking, and speaking with no translator... I listen to this and (laughing) I found myself trying to write down what Hu Jintao was saying in Chinese.  Phonetically so I could repeat it to you. (interruption) Well, it looks like chicken scrawls! (laughing) I said, "I wonder what... I wonder, to the people that can't speak English, what does it sounds like to them?" Because when I hear Chinese or Japanese, it sounds like all the same word, and I can't comprehend of anybody understanding it. Of course that's silly. But he's sitting there, (speaking phonetic Chinese)." 

California Senator Leland Yee in response and in indignation demanded that Limbaugh immediately issue an apology for his "classless act." But in Limbaugh's support, some lunatic sent Yee a death-threat via fax, mispelling Yee's last name and informing the senator that "Rush Limbaugh will kick your Chink ass and expose you for the fool you are," among other things.

It’s cool, though, because Yee is pressing full-steam ahead by calling for a boycott of Limbaugh's advertisers, including Domino's and OnStar. "We should never allow such racist vitriol to go unchallenged," said Yee, to douchebags everywhere. "These threats will not deter me and others from the work we are doing to embrace our diversity and help move our country forward." 

Limbaugh actually believes that he knows Chinese, and that his rendering of Hu’s speech constituted a "service." So, really, instead of being offended, and calling him out for the juvenile racist he is, we should, according to Limbaugh, congratulate him on a job well done, and a service well rendered, for apparently translating Hu’s speech. And he's right. If it weren't for Limbaugh's barking and yelping on the mic, I would have no idea what Hu had said. Makes sense, actually, given Limbaugh's bigoted history. In 2007 Limbaugh purported to speak "Negro" by imitating Al Sharpton in a similarly racist segment on his show in 2007. He knows sign language too: In 2006 Limbaugh did a shameful impression of Michael J. Fox mocking the latter's Parkinson's. Limbaugh knows so many languages he should just become an official translator for the state department.

Limbaugh's rant was not merely a joke. By blasting bigotry on the airwaves Limbaugh enables the expression of bigotry elsewhere. So other bigots feel emboldened to chime in too. Douchebags apparenty spawn more douchebags. 

Over 10,000 people so far have signed a petition created by Yee demanding that Limbaugh apologize. Sign it here.

3 comments

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TC wrote 3 years 9 weeks ago

Limbaugh's point was to deride

Look, everyone already knows that Chinese (or any other language) sounds like gibberish to people who don't speak that language. Limbaugh's intent was clearly not to educate us on this fact, which he knows we already know. Limbaugh's intent also was not to just make us laugh...you'd be naive to think that a career politician just wants to make us laugh. Limbaugh's intent was to make fun of Chinese to appeal to his audience's already preconceived notion that the Chinese language (and the people) can not be understood, are foreign, different, and not to be trusted. If you think I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, just listen to the rest of the show. Limbaugh goes on to say that the translator could be making up his translation and later suggests that Hu Jintao could be saying anything, insinuating that Hu (read: Chinese) can't be trusted. Limbaugh's real message, though, is that Obama cannot be trusted. Listen to the end of his rant, when he says that Obama nods his head as if he understands...because that's what people in the "ruling party" do. It's a classic guilt by association set-up: the Chinese can't be trusted, and, by agreeing with them, Obama also cannot be trusted.

Arlet wrote 3 years 9 weeks ago

People Who Talk Like Racist Idiots Are

It's hard for me to believe that we are still hearing these absurd racist jokes about the Chinese language in the 21st century. However, Limbaugh has said horrific things about so many people and issues. Limbaugh's the publicity hound and apparently there are a lot of morons who listen to this guy and make him rich.

Remember, however, that the otherwise progressive Rosie O'Donnel did the very same shtick on The View a few years ago. I read all the panel laughed. It's really disgusting and I'm not getting used to it ever.

Anonymous wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Yee is a publicity hound.

Nice try in making something out of nothing. Face facts, rapid-fire Cantonese sounds like jibberish to people who don't speak it. So does German, Italian and French. Where's your outrage if someone imitates those languages?

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About The Author

Saif Ansari

Saif Ansari graduated recently from UCLA with a BA in philosophy and is now an MA student at NYU, also in philosophy. He is interested mostly in political philosophy, ethics and law. Saif wrote for two years as a columnist for UCLA's student-run newspaper The Daily Bruin. He wrote for and edited several other publications at UCLA and maintains a personal blog at www.sansari.wordpress.com. Follow him on Twitter @vetoshield.

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