Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh denied the existence of white privilege to the hosts of "The Breakfast Club," a nationally syndicated radio program that features discussions on progressive politics and black culture, during an extraordinary conversation on race relations that aired Monday.
During the nearly 30-minute conversation, which also aired on Limbaugh's nationally syndicated program, "The Rush Limbaugh Show," he expressed outrage over the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man whose death in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week sparked global protests.
But it was Limbaugh's denial of systemic racism that prompted an astonishing exchange.
"I don't buy into white privilege," Limbaugh said toward the beginning of the interview.
"You're being delusional," replied Charlamagne tha God, co-host of "The Breakfast Club."
They moved on from the topic, but it came up a second time toward the end of the interview when Limbaugh suggested speaking with "The Breakfast Club" again in the future. Charlamagne said he wouldn't be interested if Limbaugh is going to keep denying the existence of concepts like white privilege.
Limbaugh, however, doubled down on his position.
"White supremacy or white privilege is a construct of today's Democratic Party, and I'm not going to agree with any aspect of it as they put it forth," Limbaugh said. "I'm not denying that there are certain individuals out there that think they are better than other people. But structurally, institutionally, white supremacy — that's a construct."
"You can't see how white people are just treated better in this country?" Charlamagne asked.
Limbaugh replied that he had been "mistreated" his whole life, by companies, groups, and individuals.
"I have been fired nine times in my career," Limbaugh said.
"But have you ever been thrown out your car because you were driving a nice car?" pressed Charlamagne. "Have you ever got just patted down for being black?"
"I've had my car keyed," Limbaugh replied. "I've had my tires blown. Of course."
"I'm talking about thrown out your car by a police officer because you're black driving a nice car!" Charlamagne said. "Or walking down the street in Queens, the area where you're from, and the police pulling you over and patting you down. Has these things happened to you?"
"No, see I'm a hermit, a recluse, and I don't go out and do all that kind of stuff, "Limbaugh said. "No that kind of stuff has never happened to me, I'll grant you."
But then Limbaugh quickly backtracked, saying, "Well, actually, no that isn't true."
"Oh, Rush, stop!" Charlamagne said.
The interview ended soon after, with Limbaugh and "The Breakfast Club" hosts saying they appreciated the dialogue.