Rush Limbaugh Said the “P” Word: TWLC’s Viviana Hurtado on NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin

I “gave up” swearing for Lent. Not that I’m a potty mouth. But when I’ve worked hours on a blog post just to see it ¡poof! I wish my first reaction was, ¡Blessed Virgen María of God!

When it comes to watching your mouth, I suggest Rush Limbaugh follow my lead.

This conservative radio shock jock–who didn’t flame out but came back more famous after his brush with carrying a bottle of unprescribed Viagra and abuse of pain killers–called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “P” for expressing her opinion before Congress that her school health plan should cover contraception.

TWLC's Viviana Hurtado on NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin on Rush Limbaugh, Latina's Anger, & Black Women's Body Image

Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke Courtesy: AP

The “P” word is a terrible one that refers to prostitutes Mami never allowed us to use.

Like ever.

Like she would yank us by the ears and scream, ¡Esta casa se respeta!  Rush is sooo lucky his ears are nowhere near her nimble hands.

It’s not just him.  Bill Maher has used language to describe Sarah Palin that I can’t repeat in this familía friendly space. MSNBC‘s Ed Schultz called conservative radio host Laura Ingraham a “right wing slut” before being suspended.  I live one block from a DC middle school, three from a high school, and I hear young girls refer to each other using a word that rhymes with witch.

What’s with berating and denigrating women, especially those you don’t agree with, by calling them prostitutes or using a nasty word as a sub for “girl” or “chica”?  I’ve written extensively that language matters–“anchor baby,” “illegals”–because of its power to reduce complex, multi-faceted, living, breathing human beings to one-dimensional objects.  The Holocaust is one of the most extreme examples of the unspeakable consequences of this kind of thinking.  It also takes an important spotlight away from a relevant debate such as the boundaries between government and religious freedom.

Speaking of detracting from important issues, a recent article referred to Latinas not being able to get “mad” in the workplace because it could lead to not being taken seriously or promoted in the future.  While it’s true that some people in power hold stereotypes of Hispanic women, what are the structural elements that have blocked my advancement?  Is it that some of my superiors were just terrible managers who were so scared of losing their jobs, they threw anyone under the autobus?  Is it because few people “like me” are at the highest decision-making levels with the power to promote, mentor, or assign me?  Year in and year out, what have the leaders at the tippy top of my companies done to address these structural problems besides hiring consultants charging hundred of thousands of dólares to issue the same, limp yearly report, screen a movie during Black History Month, or host a Cinco de mayo-themed fiesta?

Chicas, my answer has always been, don’t get mad.

Get even.

And that means bustin’ hump–being the first there, last to leave, know that you will always have to be twice, make that three times as good–to be successful.

Listen to Tell Me More with Michel Martin’s “Beauty Shop” where along with Michel, US World News & Report‘s Mary Kate Cary, the snobalicious Danielle Belton of the politics and pop culture blog the Black Snob, and the Washington Post‘s Lonnae O’Neal Parker, we discussed Rush, Latinas’ “temper,” and African-American women’s body image.

To hear more hot topics on TMM’s “Beauty Shop” with Viviana, Michel, plus smart and sassy ladies, click here.

Have you faced stereotypes at work because of your race, ethnicity, and/or gender and if so, have they held you back?



  1. says

    I’ll avoid commenting about Rush Limbaugh because we know how ridiculous it all is. What I loved about this post is the reference to overcoming our stereotypes by “getting even.” By just being who we truly are–una chingonas!–and letting THAT stereotype be the one that shines.

    • says

      Bullseye. I always say, work your butt off and let that be what people say about you. That’s what I call making a negative stereotype a positive one!

  2. says

    I hate that we’re forced to being 3x as good as our non-Black and non-Latina women to get the same kind of respect and promotion. Why the double-standard? And why do we tolerate. It goes beyond us getting even. It might just take us getting mad and then getting even.

    Oh, let’s not forget about Stern referring to the Rutguer’s b-ball team as nappy-headed h***. Merde!

    • says

      We’ve made progress-a lot–but some people with outdated views on women, particularly those from minority backgrounds are around. I still believe that the strongest point is made with an impeccable and consistent example. Not only do you channel feelings of injustice in a positive way, you have something–work–that speaks for itself. The cream rises to the top, ¿no?

    • says

      I think there’s no excuse for anyone–left, right, up, down, around–to use derogatory, sexualized language to cut down a woman who is expressing her opinion. It takes any legitimacy away from valid points.

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