Are San Francisco cops just as racist as cops everywhere, or are black people just inherently criminals? That seems to be the question being posed by conservative radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh in a diatribe this week. A new report by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, which was picked up by Fusion and BET, says that although black women make up only 6 percent of the female population of SF, they represent 45.5 percent of all female arrests here. When you look at felony weapons and narcotics arrests, that percentage goes even higher. According to Rush Limbaugh, this is particularly baffling because of how liberal San Francisco so notoriously is.
Setting aside the absurdity that "San Francisco" as an idea gets tossed around on conservative radio as a stand-in for the Mecca of the Enemy more often than Howard Stern says "penis" in any given hour, why is Rush Limbaugh picking on us now?
I'll just excerpt a bit of his signature rambling, and maybe you can read between the lines:
Now, they've got my mind trained on this kind of stuff. So when I see, for example, a story that shows the black male population in the US is 8%, but the incarceration rate, the percentage of prisoners in the criminal justice system, the prison system, that are African-American is 70%, then I am led to believe that there is some kind of bias or prejudice against African-Americans.
'Cause isn't it obvious that good people -- I mean, San Francisco is a Mecca of every aspect of liberalism. And it looks like black women are being profiled there. It looks like they're being arrested in droves. For what reason? Is there any reason? I haven't heard about black women committing crimes, breaking laws. We've never heard about this. It's always black men we hear about doing them. Black women in, here we go, the liberal Mecca. How does this happen? I wonder what it really means.
You have a liberal Mecca ... in San Francisco there ought to be zero racism, right? I mean, it's all liberals.
There should be no bigotry, no racism, there's no homophobia, no rich people that other people hate... How in the world can this be? Because we're told everywhere else in the country, if a black person is in jail, it's because of racism and bigotry. Latin racism, white racism and bigotry, probably hatred of Obama thrown in. Well, how does that explain half of the women arrested in San Francisco being African-American?
He ends with a question because he wants his elderly, white, potentially racist audience to fill in the answer he's led them to: It's because even in liberal San Francisco, black people are the worst! It's not the cops or poverty or the intersection of poverty and the cycle of crime!
Rush has been called America's master propagandist, and as author David Shipler explains, that usually involves the following: "You weave in facts that are indisputable, or then half facts, semi-truths, and then by the time you got the listener engaged, you put in a lie or a semi-lie."