Saturday, September 22, 2007


It never ceases to amaze me how some people who talk about race have absolutely no experience or knowledge of the people they refer to other than what they see on television. Yet, they remain undeterred, rattling off nonsense as though they had any idea what they were talking about.

During the September 19 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, discussing his recent trip to have dinner with Rev. Al Sharpton at Sylvia's, a famous restaurant in Harlem, Bill O'Reilly reported that he "had a great time, and all the people up there are tremendously respectful," adding: "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." Later, during a discussion with National Public Radio senior correspondent and Fox News contributor Juan Williams about the effect of rap on culture, O'Reilly asserted: "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' You know, I mean, everybody was -- it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn't any kind of craziness at all." O'Reilly also stated: "I think black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves. They're getting away from the Sharptons and the [Rev. Jesse] Jacksons and the people trying to lead them into a race-based culture. They're just trying to figure it out. 'Look, I can make it. If I work hard and get educated, I can make it."

Until now, Bill O'Reilly has probably never been in a room full of black people in his entire life. Yet black culture is a subject on which he comments endlessly, as though he actually had any frame of reference beyond what he has seen in popular entertainment. The man has even admitted that he's "scared of having black friends," but he is not apparently, scared of pontificating forever about people he's never spent five minutes around outside of a newsroom. It's clear he didn't ask anyone in Sylvia's a single question besides "Can I have Another Coke?". And the media has another million people just like him.

To a normal person, this experience would have raised questions about their previous judgments and stereotypes held about black people. But O'Reilly, who is a pathological liar and in a state of perpetual denial, cannot actually let go of a previously held bias, no matter how wrong. So it's not that black people were never what he believed them to be, it's that "we're getting away from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton."

This is a man expressing literal shock at the realization, no, the mere possibility that black people are human beings.

Xposted at Too Sense

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