Thursday, September 27, 2007


Nice blog post by Paul Krugman:

I'm coming late to the story of Bill O'Reilly, who was amazed at the civility in a Harlem restaurant...

...what it reminded me of was an often retold family story: my great-grandmother visited Coney Island and was surprised to see black families enjoying themselves at the beach. "Pinkt vi menschen", she said -- just like people.

But she was an uneducated immigrant from Ukraine, and this was circa 1930.


Incidentally, I went back to the transcript of O'Reilly's remarks to see if maybe I'd misinterpreted what he was saying; in his pushback, he's arguing that his words were "a criticism of racism on the part of white Americans who are ignorant of the fact that there is no difference between white and black anymore." And, well, yeah, sure, he was talking about society. But he can't escape a few key phrases he uttered:

And 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.

Sorry, that's the smoking gun -- he couldn't get over the fact. Not "white Americans" -- a specific white American named Bill O'Reilly. People don't use that phrase when events live up to their preconceptions. And "even though" seals it -- he's saying this wasn't what was expected. That is, he's saying it wasn't what he expected.

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