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RUSH: You gotta hear these two sound bites. They’re from The Oprah. I want you to know what a professional and career risk I am taking by playing these bites. The Oprah is not to be criticized. When The Oprah is criticized, the Drive-Bys circle the wagons around The Oprah. So I just want you to know, this is a career risk. (Well, not a career risk. It’s a professional risk. My career won’t be threatened.) Nevertheless, I’m going to take this risk by playing for you these two sound bites, one from Saturday. The Oprah was in Washington, DC, at Howard University, a black university. She was the commencement speaker and here’s a portion of what she said.

THE OPRAH: Because my grandmother was a maid and she worked for white folks her whole life, and her idea of having a big dream was to — was to have white folks who at least treated her with some dignity, who showed her a little bit respect. And she used to say, ‘I want you to — I hope you get some good white folks, that are kind to you,’ and I regret that she didn’t live past 1963 to see that I did grow up and get some really good white folks…working for me!

GRADUATES: (Cheers and applause.)

RUSH: All right. Now, what if I am the commencement speaker at a university and say, ‘You know, my parents told me, ‘If you’re going to get some Mexicans that work for you, you make sure that you get good Mexicans,’ and my dad died before he had a chance to see that I found some great Mexicans to work for me.’ Or what if I turned it around? What if I said, ‘You know, my dad said, ‘Look, you can’t get through life without some black folk working for you,’ but my dad died way too soon. He never knew that I finally got to the point I have really good black folk working for me.’ Do you think I would still be here? Well, yes. I would have weathered it, but can you imagine the storm, ladies and gentlemen? Now, it’s a good illustration of the fact that when you’re a minority — even though Oprah’s the highest paid broadcast entity in the world, probably — she’s still a minority. As a minority, she’s ‘powerless’ and so she can say these things, because slavery, of course, in this country is our original sin, and it’s never going to be forgotten. The race business will not allow it to be forgotten. She was talking about cotton fields and all this stuff.

Now, a question would be, ‘How many of these graduates have any direct personal relationship with a cotton field?’ They don’t. I’m sure that they know about it, some of them do, because I’m sure that they were told and taught that aspect of black heritage in America. The misunderstanding has to start someplace, and it starts at home in a lot of cases. But these students she’s talking to have never been in a cotton field. They’re not out there singing songs, picking cotton. (interruption). Uh oh. I knew this was going to be a risk. Snerdley, who is black, says I’m being too hard on The Oprah. You think I’m being too hard on The Oprah? (interruption) Well, okay. Good point. Snerdley says, ‘It’s a testament to how far things have come and how much progress has been made.’ Fine and dandy. Let’s acknowledge it and move on, then. But that’s not what this was about — and, by the way, is anybody troubled by the fact that you are telling some recent graduates of Howard University or anywhere, that one of the measures of success in life is whether or not you get good white folk to work for you? Seriously. Is that sort of commenting on the progress? Isn’t it racially charged? Let’s listen to the next bite, and then you can weigh in. This is from September 25th of last year. This is on the Oprah’s XM Satellite Radio show, called the Oprah and Friends, and she’s talking with her good buddy out there Gayle King, and here’s a portion of their exchange.

KING: I hope you gets some good white folks like I did, because I worked for some good white folks.

THE OPRAH: They’re so nice to me, they give you clothes and food.

KING: Food to take home, they give you good clothes, too. Not all worn out.

THE OPRAH: I did grow up to get some good white folks working for me.

KING: Working for you!

THE OPRAH: Working for me! Look around here, good white folks.

KING: There’s white people everywhere!

THE OPRAH: Everywhere. One black man in here. There’s one everywhere you look, there’s George, more white folks thumbing up.

KING: Yeah, George is giving the thumbs up. ‘I’m a good white folk!’

RUSH: Okay. Snerdley takes it back. See, I knew it! (laughing) I set him up. I knew you’d take it back. That’s just last September. By the way, that is a radio show that XM is paying a lot of money to air. Does that sound like they’ve got nothing to talk about?

Oh, yeah. Big time.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: This is Rae in Venice, Mississippi. Hi, Ray, welcome to the program.

CALLER: Hi, Rush. I have waited years to talk to you. My 18-year-old son turned me on to listening to you, and he’s now 33, so that’s how long it’s been.

RUSH: Well, I’m glad to have you on the program today, Rae.

CALLER: Well, thank you.

RUSH: Rae, are you trying to sound seductive on purpose or are you tired?

CALLER: Well, I really am tired. We hosted an open house this past Saturday for our 45th wedding anniversary.

RUSH: Wow. My condolences.

CALLER: I’m married to a wonderful Christian man and we have five sons who are wonderful sons and never had any trouble out of any of them, no smoking, drinking, or any of that stuff. Anyway, what I was calling about.

RUSH: (Laughing) Oprah. You’re on Oprah.

CALLER: When you were talking to Oprah, she was talking about picking cotton or something.

RUSH: Well, I didn’t play the bite. Earlier in the speech, she was doing a commencement speech and was talking about picking cotton and so forth. My point was that the kids that are in this graduating class were likely born around ’87, ’86, and have never been to the cotton field. Her basic point was that she said — well, let me get the bite. You don’t paraphrase The Oprah. You play The Oprah. That’s audio sound bites two and three out there, Ed. Stand by here, Rae, and listen to these again and those of you that missed it this is what Rae is talking about. Here’s the first of the two bites.

THE OPRAH: Because my grandmother was a maid and she worked for white folks her whole life, and her idea was having a big dream was to — was to have white folks who at least treated her with some dignity, who showed her a little bit respect. And she used to say, ‘I want you to — I hope you get some good white folks, that are kind to you,’ and I regret that she didn’t live past 1963 to see that I did grow up and get some really good white folks working for me.

GRADUATES: (Cheers and applause.)

RUSH: The Oprah, ladies and gentlemen. The Oprah at Howard University’s graduation. The first time we played this, Snerdley said, ‘Don’t be too hard on her. She’s commenting on the progress that’s been made and it’s a good thing, Rush.’


I said, ‘Okay, well, let’s listen to this next one.’ This is from last September on Oprah’s XM radio show.

KING: I hope you gets some good white folks like I did, because I worked for some good white folks.

THE OPRAH: They’re so nice to me, they give you clothes and food.

KING: Food to take home, they give you good clothes, too. Not all worn out.

THE OPRAH: I did grow up to get some good white folks working for me.

KING: Working for you!

THE OPRAH: Working for me! Look around here, good white folks.

KING: There’s white people everywhere!

THE OPRAH: Everywhere. One black man in here. There’s one everywhere you look, there’s George, more white folks thumbing up.

KING: Yeah, George is giving the thumbs up. ‘I’m a good white folk!’

RUSH: If anybody needs to be apologizing to their audience for a lousy show, it would be The Oprah. Gayle King was the guest there, her best bud. I would say to The Oprah, ‘Nobody likes being talked about this way, ‘black folk, white folk, Mexican folk.’ Nobody likes being talked about this way,’ but the Oprah is royalty and she is immune and above criticism. Now, what was the point you wanted to make about this, Rae, having heard it?

CALLER: Well, for one thing, I’ve grown up in Mississippi and everything was — we had good relations with the blacks that we knew, and we never had any working for us. In fact, we picked our own cotton, and most of my friends picked cotton —

RUSH: Wait, wait, wait! You picked cotton?

CALLER: Yes, sir. I sure did.

RUSH: My grandfather picked cotton. My grandfather on my mother’s side ran the compress down in Missouri. He was big in the cotton business. I have roots to the cotton fields.

CALLER: Our big thrill every year was getting to go to the gin with the first bale of cotton, and we picked cotton. We also planted cotton in the spring.

RUSH: That’s right. It’s a natural fiber. It’s a natural fiber. My first job in Sacramento, first job, I wore a sweater. The first day, I wore a sweater and I had on some Sansabelt pants. I just wore a sweater with no shirt underneath it. The program director called me, ‘That’s unacceptable attire, sir! We wear natural fibers at KFBK.’

I’ll never forget that. I said, ‘Natural fibers don’t stretch. Have you looked at me?’

Anyway, Rae’s point is that there are poor white people out there, and that Oprah is somehow missing this.

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