O’Reilly Lectures Blacks: Racial Illiteracy Again?

         On his “Talking Points Memo,” a few days ago, Bill O’Reilly decided he has the knowledge and experience to lecture African Americans as a group for generating “race baiters” and for “accusations of racism.” He begins with this commentary:

As we’ve been reporting, millions of Americans of all colors are fed up with race baiters and accusations of racism. This vile stuff has been going on far too long. And now with the Wright controversy, critical mass has been reached. Here is a partial list of people that Jesse Jackson’s organizations have labeled racist: President Bush, President Bush the elder, President Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Don Imus, Trent Lott, Gary Hart and Jeb Bush.

He continues in this vein listing folks he thinks are “race baiters” and then comes up with this naive generalization:

Secondly, African-Americans should realize that this stuff drives good people away from constructive dialogue that might advance racial harmony in America. The race baiters and the profiteers actually hurt minorities by inhibiting sincere discussion.

So, let me understand what he is saying. We have African Americans on the one hand, and then we have good people on the other. It appears that only whites can be good people here. And blacks are most of the “race baiters.”

It is interesting that nowhere in the commentary does he lecture the majority of whites–including some he mentions as being accused (fairly in some cases) of racist commentary or discriminatory actions—the whites with whom he clearly has had much more experience, for continuing to create and perpetuate a U.S. society with high levels of subtle, covert, and overt racism. The evidence that the white majority still think and act in racist terms—and are the real problem in “inhibiting sincere discussion” and in preventing “racial harmony”–is rather clear. The evidence of continuing white racial hostility and discrimination in housing, employment, policing, education, media, and politics is easy to find, but somehow uninformed media commentators like O’Reilly seem uninterested in finding it and, indeed, in ending the substantial racial hostility and discrimination — the “realities of racism”–that are still pervasive in this country.

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