Walter E. Williams

Rush Limbaugh's comment on ESPN regarding Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Donovan McNabb was: "I don't think he's been that good from the get go. I think what we've had here is a little of social concern from the NFL. The media has been desirous that a black quarterback do well."

Kweisi Mfume, NAACP's president, criticized Limbaugh's remarks as bigoted, ignorant and racist. Democrat presidential hopefuls chimed in with their criticism, and Eagles' owner Jeffrey Lurie called Limbaugh's comments "despicable."

Being 67 years old, I've personally experienced racist language as well as racist acts, not only in my hometown of Philadelphia but during my 1959 to 1961 stint in the Army while in South Carolina, Georgia, Korea and California. I'd like someone to tell me precisely what it is that Limbaugh said that can rightfully be characterized as racist. For the life of me, I can't find it. Limbaugh's statement is opinion that can be characterized as correct or incorrect -- but racist, no.

The true tragedy of the flap over Limbaugh's remarks is that it's reflective of an ongoing process in our increasingly politically correct world where people are losing the freedom to say what they think lest they be subject to intimidation, extortion and other costs by our well-established grievance industry.

On an earlier ESPN show, Limbaugh criticized the NFL's new hiring rule that turns black prospective coaches into diversity pawns. Under the NFL's "diversity" program, the Detroit Lions were fined $200,000 for failing to interview minority candidates before hiring their new coach, Steve Mariucci. Limbaugh pointed out that the reason no black coaches showed up for the interview was because they knew president Matt Millen was interested in Mariucci.

The message to other teams, not wanting to be fined, is to interview black coaches even though they might have no intent whatsoever in hiring them. That's a despicable practice that I can relate to. While interviewing for jobs early in my career as an assistant professor, there were at least two different university interviews where I suspect there was no intention to hire me. They only wanted to interview a black candidate so as to keep the affirmative action lady off their backs. I was simply a pawn, a statistic. Now my question to you: Does Limbaugh's criticism of the NFL's diversity policy also make him a racist?

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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