Danny Cardwell's picture

    Hate Radio As A Second Language: University Of Missouri

    Growing up in a small southern town has blessed me with the gift of translating Conservative hate radio. I live in a town where a lot of people never learned that it's not acceptable to call a black man boy, and the Confederate flag is not a racist relic. For decades people of color comprised less than 10% of the total population in my town; very few of them, no matter how educated or qualified, worked (or work) in any field other than hospitality or service. When combined, these factors create the perfect atmosphere for people to talk unfiltered. I speak English, I've taken Spanish in school, but my true second language is dog whistle. When people don't see you as an equal you get distorted communication: they say what they want, and expect you to say what they want to hear. I've studied the listeners of hate radio in their natural habitat. I'll use this skill to decipher some of the comments made about the student protesters and football players at the University of Missouri.

    Rush Limbaugh: You find the major problem is that there are too many white people at this place. And they apparently are not nice enough or considerate enough to the 10 percent of the people there who are black. And so there has to be some changes.

    You people don't know how lucky you are to be here. You guys are the lucky ones. We give you track suits, tennis shoes, and there's basketball courts everywhere. What else do you want?

    Jazz Shaw: The Inmates Are Running The Asylum At Mizzou. 

    "parents sending tuition money there deserve what they get"

    Translation: I don't care how high your S.A.T. scores are you're still thugs and hoodrats.

    MICHAEL BERRY: So now the president of the university has resigned. Now, think of the message this sends. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. The football players at the University of Missouri. The football players decide who the president will be? An institution of higher learning. You're doing research on molecular biology that may lead to a cure for cancer. You're doing aeronautical research, you're doing chemical research, molecular biology research. You're educating how many thousand people? And you're letting a few thugs decide who you're president will be? 

    Translation: This happened because you can't control your boys. You need to run a tighter ship. This is what happens when they start feeling themselves.

    MICHAEL BERRY: Good, you do have a problem. But it's far bigger than the creative shaping of poop by somebody on your campus. You got a major problem with your priorities. If you can't reign in a few football players to shut their mouth and play football, else they lose their scholarship? You've got a real problem on your hands. You've got a problem of culture. You've got a problem of priorities, and you've got a problem of pandering.

    Translation: No matter how much education you have, no matter how legitimate your claims are: you need to get over it and accept the way things are.

    When Blacks riot we're told to follow the model of peaceful assembly. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is used as a cudgel to thwart young radicals. When educated young men and women use their Constitutional right to peaceably assemble and boycott they're still called thugs. This is a good thing: we need bigots to say out loud what their true feelings are. I love that the language has become so coded. The reason so many on the right hate politically correct language is because it's forced them to find new ways to say the same tired things. This is radical and I love it. One part of privilege is the ability to avoid uncomfortable moments and conversations. 2015 has forced some of our fellow citizens to pull their head out of the sand. All of this talk about racial animosity destroys the myth of a post-racial America. The fact that we can't pretend these problems don't exist is part of the cure for them. We need to create an atmosphere where bigotry, no matter how subtle, is publicly called out and shamed.


    Thanks for this post. The actions taken by the Missouri students make me proud. The football coach supported their protest. If Missouri forfeited the game, the university would have lost $1M. The coach risked his job. The athletes risked their scholarships.

    Martin Luther King Jr understood, but id not condone riots.

    “A riot,” King said, “is the language of the unheard.”


    The Ferguson riots did change the way the police and the legal system operated

    I agree that it is important to let the bigots and racists of all colors spew their venom in public. We realize their will be reactionary African-Americans who will condemn the actions of the black students. It is important for us to know who they are.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. The students and athletes have always been more powerful than the obstacles they face. I'm happy they were able to come together. This isn't the end of their problems, just a new beginning.

    Vile garbage removed.   

    I'm saddened that you make such ignorant statements hiding behind a pseudonym. I have tutored, lectured, and preached in prisons and youth centers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. I've attended the funerals of young men of color killed in the streets. Your hatred is what kept you up til 3:00 am writing this response. I was in my bed, in my home, with my wife while you were thinking about me. Your hatred and use of racial and culturally insensitive language says more about you than me. We can disagree, but I will pray for your soul. I know your behavior online is a symptom of a deeper issue. I will gladly be the recipient of your hatred. I'm sure your wife and kids get enough of your belligerent attitude. If wife number two hasn't left you yet. Any way, have a great day and continue being a keyboard gangster who hides behind a fake identity! PEACE!

    Danny, I apologize for not removing that garbage sooner.  I was away tonight and just saw it.  I'm leaving your comment up, however.  You handled that well, but I'm sorry you had to do it at all.

    I appreciate this platform. The last thing I want to do is take away from the high quality work that's featured here. Thanks for everything!

    Let me add my own apology, Danny. I also should have removed that post.

    "The reason so many on the right hate politically correct language is because it's forced them to find new ways to say the same tired things."

    Hammer finds nail. Good post, Danny.


    Danny, an excellent post. Around where I live people take me for a good ole boy and say racist stuff right to my face, assuming I will agree.  I don't always call them on it and I'm torn about it. I have a black son-in-law who is a computer tech guy and he laughs them off.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this. We are living through a strange time in which the myth of a post-racial society is being torn down in front of our eyes, yet some who are truly invested in that myth have chosen to deny the events we have seen unfolding over the last few years. SALUTE!

    Nice post, Danny. And good job with the haters.

    Thanks Doc!

    This is an important piece.  Thank you for it.  The right-wing radio haters here and elsewhere are among the world's worst and most dangerous people.  Goebbels and the Nazis used radio very effectively to manipulate the Germans and people in occupied lands.  It is also my understanding that talk radio haters in Rwanda catalyzed the genocide there.  I am always looking for ways to marginalize the demagogues but they are resilient, sometimes deadly, pests to be sure.

    Talk radio has been supplanted by politicians openly discussing shipping people out of the country. We had a Governor talk about second amendment solutions. The haters are out in the open and people are ready to vote for them.

    Cruz, Jindal, and Huckabee appeared at an Iowa conference sponsored by a vehement anti-Gay pastor who feels that homosexuals should be put to death. This hate is way past radio talk shows.


    Yes.  The rabble-rousing politicians and religious charlatans are out in the open in large part because of the ground fertilized in advance for them by right-wing radio/TV haters and the cover the demagogues provide after the fact.

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