(Spencer is a little busy this morning, so he’s letting me take over for a bit. Hello again!)

Rush Limbaugh criticizes health care reform as “a civil rights bill” and “reparations.”

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating: more so than most issues, health care is something that makes the racist heart especially anxious. American racism is shot through with fears about purity and cleanliness; the “separation of the races,” anti-miscegenation laws, and the “one-drop rule” presuppose that there is something inherently contaminating about blackness. In addition to redistributing wealth to the “undeserving,” health care reform promises to bring whites and minorities into closer, more intimate contact. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Limbaugh’s followers are completely driven by this fear of uncleanliness, but I do think that their opposition to health care reform is somewhat tied up in unconscious fears of blackness, “Otherness” and contamination.

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

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