Ever since protests took off in Ferguson in the aftermath of 18-year-old unarmed Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, has used his program to preach to and criticize African-Americans about their culture. Earlier this week, he finally got called out on it by, of all people, Megyn Kelly. The Kelly File host was on O’Reilly’s program to discuss Ferguson and race relations in this country. To O’Reilly’s surprise, Kelly stated that white privilege is real and something that blacks in this country deal with on a regular basis.
Below is video of that encounter, via YouTube’s Michael Hausam:
Of course, it being Kelly and all, it wasn’t like she gave a full-throated defense of the notion that racism and the existence of white privilege are the overlying reasons behind the issues many blacks face in this country from birth. She made sure to blame President Obama’s policies and other facts, while simultaneously relying solely on raw statistics. Still, it was interesting to see a colleague of O’Reilly’s take him to task for being completely dismissive of the real-life problems that the African-American community deals with on a daily basis.
However, this is O’Reilly we are talking about, and he wasn’t going to let this rest. Especially when he saw how much coverage Kelly’s takedown of him got the following day. Therefore, Tuesday night, BillO decided he needed to whitesplain to everybody, but especially blacks, why white privilege does not exist and how too many African-Americans are using it as an excuse to not take any responsibility for their lives. He also decided to bring Asian-Americans into the discussion because in O’Reilly’s mind, one minority group is directly comparable to another minority group.
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of Fox News:
Media Matters transcribed the most relevant portion of O’Reilly’s ‘Talking Points’ segment. (Emphasis mine)
O’REILLY: Talking Points does not, does not believe in white privilege. However, there is no question that African-Americans have a much harder time succeeding in our society than whites do.
American children must learn not only academics but also civil behavior, right from wrong, as well as how to speak properly and how to act respectfully in public. If African-American children do not learn those things, they will likely fail as adults. They will be poor. They will be angry, and they often will be looking to blame someone else. One caveat, the Asian-American experience historically has not been nearly as tough as the African-American experience. Slavery is unique and it has harmed black Americans to a degree that is still being felt today.
But, in order to succeed in our competitive society, every American has to overcome the obstacles they face. And here is where the African-American leadership in America is failing. Instead of preaching a cultural revolution, the leadership provide excuses for failure. The race hustlers blame white privilege, an unfair society, a terrible country. So the message is, it’s not your fault if you abandon your children, if you become a substance abuser, if you are a criminal. No, it’s not your fault, it’s society’s fault. That is the big lie that is keeping some African-Americans from reaching their full potential. Until personal responsibility and a cultural change takes place, millions of African-Americans will struggle, and their anger, some of it justified, will seethe.
O’Reilly, culture warrior, has never figured out that he has no relevant life experiences or interactions with the black community to justify his constant sermonizing about what African-Americans need to do to improve their lot in American society. He sits in his perch from up high and preaches to blacks about their culture, their way of life, their community, while never even bothering to truly find out how the other half lives. He is an old, right, rich white guy who lives in an upscale neighborhood in Long Island. He also grew up on Long Island and attended private schools during his childhood.
However, if you ask O’Reilly, he will talk about how he’s earned everything he has achieved and grew up living a hard-scrabble life. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps and is a perfect example of a self-made man. His complete lack of self-awareness regarding race issues in this country is astonishing. Worse, he is paid millions of dollars a year to commentate about topics such as this, which his audience of old, angry white people lap up like dogs at the water bowl. For O’Reilly’s racist followers, they just want to be told that blacks are whiny, irresponsible and want to blame all of their p[problems on white people.
It is really easy for O’Reilly to pontificate about black culture from his television studio or gated community. I’d like to see him actually go to a predominantly black neighborhood, experience first-hand for himself the effects of white flight, and then talk down to the residents there about the need for a cultural shift. But we all know that is never going to happen. Instead, we’ll just see more of what we saw Tuesday night.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).