TODD: Rush made a decision after the George Floyd incident and the tragedy of that man losing his life. We’ll talk later in the show in some detail about this. Rush decided that he wanted to have the hard conversations about race that other people wouldn’t. All sorts of, you know, celebrities will have-risk-free conversations about race, which is the attendant woke racism, and, “I’m an anti-racist.
“It’s not good enough to not be a racist,” and all these things, but they won’t have the risky conversations. Being honest and vulnerable and talking with people who are really gonna disagree with you and really, really scary times like after the George Floyd death as we watch our cities burn — and later, we understand the groups that did that. It was a very hard time.
Rush made a decision that he wanted to try to have these hard conversations on race. So last June, Rush interviewed the three hosts of The Breakfast Club about George Floyd story, and Rush’s desire was for it was to be the beginning of many conversations he hoped to have on the issue of race relations in America. Sadly, of course, we lost Rush, before he could have more of those conversations. But we decided to revisit a portion of that one, and we’ll continue to share others in the weeks and months ahead.
RUSH: I’ve been doing this program for 31 years and during this period of time we’ve gone through civil unrest, we’ve had race riots, we’ve had kind of what is happening now, although this may be unprecedented in a couple of ways. The one thing I’ve never done throughout this entire period is reach out to people on the other side of this. I mean, I’ve wanted to, I just have never done it, and I decided that I need to do this.
I decided that I need to not just assume the people in my audience are gonna hear me. I need to reach out to people who aren’t there. So I started asking around, “If I wanted to reach the largest number and the most influential number of African-Americans and other minorities in America, who should I talk to?”
And everybody kept coming back at me with The Breakfast Club. “You have to have the people on The Breakfast Club. You have to talk to them.” And so they have graciously agreed to do this. We’re taping this on Sunday afternoon. They have been very kind and giving up a portion of their day to make this possible — and I want to introduce them to you now.
They are three people who have earned the trust of their audience in the mornings. They are syndicated morning drive. You don’t know how hard that is. It’s amazing. They have built a substantial audience. They are Charlamagne Tha God —
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Right.
RUSH: Angela Yee and DJ Envy. They are cohosts of what’s called The Breakfast Club. Can I tell you why I wanted to have you here? You know, the George Floyd story is being lost.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Right.
RUSH: There are two things happening in America, and it sickens me what happened to him, legitimate national outrage about a policeman’s criminal brutality has been hijacked. And I don’t want to forget about George Floyd. What happened to George Floyd sickened me. And I wanted to reach out and tell you all this. I want to make sure you have no doubt. And I’m not the only American who feels this way, the senselessness of it.
And I think most Americans are just as angry and sad about this as I am, and I’m also the angry the cops that stood around there and didn’t do anything to stop it. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is, and I just wanted to share the emotion I have with you guys about this and to try to convey to you that I actually think most Americans are just as sickened and outraged by it as I am.
ANGELA YEE: I feel like we’re so accustomed to being in these situations where we get frustrated, where nothing happens, and these police officers are back out doing the same thing over and over again, and that’s part of the frustration, is this is not an isolated incident. This is something that’s been happening in our community. It hasn’t stopped, we don’t see when it will stop, and I think people are frustrated, and it’s a combination of so many different things right now.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Let me ask you a question, Rush. This is Charlamagne talking. We’ve seen numerous police killings of unarmed black people in this country. Why is the George Floyd situation the one that’s making you say, “Enough is enough and this needs to stop”? Why this situation in particular?
RUSH: ‘Cause I’m fed up with it. I mean, I’m not tolerant of any of them, but I’m fed up with it, Charlamagne. None of this… To me, this is not America. It’s a sad —
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Oh, no, it’s definitely America.
RUSH: Well, see, but it’s not what we can be. It’s not what we have been. We’re the greatest nation in the history of the world, and we haven’t achieved that on the basis —
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: For who, though, Rush? I think it’s easy for you to say because you’re — you’re a white male and that comes with a different level of privilege, and I do think America does work, but it works for the people that it was designed to work for. It doesn’t work for everybody else the way it works for you.
RUSH: Well, it can. That’s the point of America: It can for anybody who wants to adapt to it, for anybody who wants to try to take advantage of the unique opportunities that exist in the United States.
ANGELA YEE: George Floyd wasn’t doing anything wrong. Breonna Taylor got killed in her house. She wasn’t doing anything wrong.
RUSH: No, no! I didn’t mean to conflate that George Floyd could have stopped what was gonna happen to him. Don’t misunderstand.
ANGELA YEE: Okay.
RUSH: George Floyd is the essence of innocence. But what I’m saying is is that America is a place with robust opportunity if you want to go out and look for it and find it. Now, the people ripping up the streets today and last night, the Antifa types, they don’t care to find the opportunity. They disagree with the whole construct of America.
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Well, no. I gotta push back on you with that too. It’s not just the Antifa types, you know what I’m saying? Like you see all these white folks out there protesting, looting, raising hell. People of all races are broke. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
RUSH: Well, yeah. The Antifa people are the violent ones. The Antifa people are the ones that are trying to capitalize on it. Of course there’s some legitimate heartfelt people out there peacefully protesting. But look, you guys, let me tell you: You are a testament to the opportunity available in America. Look at you. How did you do it? What did you have to overcome to become The Breakfast Club…? T
The opportunity is there, is the only thing I’m saying. You know, we all have preconceptions that we live under and biases that we live under, and I wanted to reach out to you guys specifically. You were the ones that I was told to speak to, that this is intolerable. Now — but — (crosstalk)
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I’m happy to have the conversation. I’m glad you’re having it because I think your audience needs to hear it. And, you know, you said something a little a while ago and I wanted to talk about that. This is a country, America, that denies, you know, black people justice and just plain decency, and then they act like we’re just supposed to be happy to be here because it allows a few of to make a few dollars —
RUSH: When did I say that? (crosstalk)
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: — oh, you said — you said — you said, you know, you guys made it —
DJ ENVY: You guys made it. (crosstalk)
RUSH: You’re adding things to my mouth that I didn’t say. I was trying to be complimentary of you and I’m trying to illustrate – (crosstalk)
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Yes.
RUSH: — that you are an example to others that want to try, you can succeed. What can do to stop the racism?
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: As long as there’s a system of white supremacy, you know, there will always be these type of situations.
RUSH: You had four years of Barack Obama. You had Americans, white Americans voting for Obama ’cause they wanted to say, “We’re not racist. We’re not a racist country.” You had people electing the first African-American president in our history. He served for eight years. Why isn’t there anything to show for it that makes you less angry than you were then?
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House if that person is not willing to dismantle the mechanism of white supremacy — (crosstalk)
RUSH: Let me ask you guys a question. Why do you still vote Democrat?
ANGELA YEE: I vote for whoever I think is the best candidate.
RUSH: Because Democrats —
DJ ENVY: I’m voting my (crosstalk).
RUSH: — have been promising to fix your grievances for 50 years and you have the same grievances. You have the same complaints. They haven’t done a damn thing for you. They haven’t even punished the people that you think are responsible for the racism and bigotry being done to you. Why do you keep supporting them?
CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Yes, and, you know, I don’t disagree with you, and that’s why I’m not letting nobody politicize black pain. This is America’s fault — and ’til somebody’s willing to dismantle the mechanism of white supremacy, nothin’ is gonna change.
ANGELA YEE: I know we’re trying to focus on George Floyd and what’s happening with him and how can we take some actionable steps to move forward and what can be done, right? So, on your end, what are some things that you feel like can be done?
RUSH: I think that cop should be charged with first-degree murder —
DJ ENVY: Absolutely.
RUSH: — and I think that the guys standing around ought to be charged, the other cops that were standing around. I think it’s time to end this. Look, we are all aware of police brutality. We’re all aware of the actions that some rogue cops take — and it’s way too many of ’em — against African-American men, and it’s time to stop.
TODD: Did you hear what I heard? So those conversations are really hard for people. I have done conversations with people who are friends of mine, who are also black people on the air. I’ve done conversations with people who are black who my I don’t know and I hope now we’re friends, and we just disagree on these things. When I heard from Rush was Rush.
I didn’t hear backpedaling. He had enough respect for the folks at The Breakfast Club to go straight at, “America’s the best country on earth and had created a place where everybody can pursue life, liberty, happiness.” He pointed to the success. Now, that didn’t land with them. This is one of the problems, I think, with what is being communicated to black young people in society — and particularly around, like, woke racism.
Tim Scott has a phrase, “Woke supremacy,” he says, “is as bad as white supremacy,” and I want to talk about that in this next segment. But I hope that we can all picture us sitting down with three people with whom we’re gonna disagree, and if it’s a topic of race it may be three people of a different race, and engaging in that, publicly.
Try it privately. If you ever had a conversation with race with a black person or an Hispanic person or an Asian person privately that you, you know, have engaged in purposeful? Rush didn’t need to do that. He chose to. And it was his intent to continue conversations like that.