Bill O’Reilly’s segment last night has been making the rounds on social media today and, although he didn’t break the internet he certainly did break his brain, as well as all those critiquing him.
In true O’Reilly fashion, the disgruntled Fox pundit attempted to maintain a straight-face as he proclaimed America to be white supremacy free in 2015–possibly a new slogan for Fox News(?). This of course happened while he simultaneously deployed racist stereotypes, a plethora of misinformation and, shockingly, he pointed to institutional racism and white supremacist outcomes. Who’s down with white supremacist double-speak? That would be Bill, silly.
Clearly the dude is a troll, so really, I shouldn’t even give him the time, but here it goes…
1) Do you even history, bro?!
O’Reilly: “It is an amazing thing to watch. The U.S.A. has gone from being the land of the free and the home of the brave to a country dominated by white supremacy. No longer is it white privilege, now it’s supremacy.”
First, a simple history lesson about the realities of people of color within the US would suggest that it hasn’t always been the “land of the free” for people other than O’Reilly’s majority white audience. White supremacy has dominated these lands in a variety of ways (colonization, slavery, the Naturalization Act of 1790, forced assimilation, The Chinese Exclusion Act, Operation Wet Back, Jim Crow, Interment Camps, The Zoot Suit Riots, Mass Incarceration, SB 1070, Stop and Frisk etc etc). To his later point about shifting between white privilege and white supremacy, as if they are mutually exclusive terms, O’Reilly seems to have difficulty making the connection that white privilege is a byproduct of the historical and contemporary formulations of white supremacy.
Glad we got that cleared up, Billy. Moving on.
2) White Supremacy Doesn’t Exist, Yet Here’s A White Supremacist Perspective
O’Reilly: “However, the problems have little to do with white people, rather a corrosive culture that does not confront child neglect and antisocial behavior on the streets. That’s what’s driving poverty and dysfunction.”
You can’t have a segment dedicated to disproving the existence of white supremacy, and then make arguments about black cultural inferiority, which is basically cultural racism. Honestly, can any one deny how, well, white supremacist this argument actually sounds?
3) Racism Doesn’t Exist, Yet Let Me Point To Systemic Racism
O’Reilly: “In many schools, if black students misbehave or fail, nothing is done. Authorities either look the other way, or socially promote them to get them the hell out of the school. That’s racism. All-American students should be treated the same way. And the excuse that slavery, Jim Crow, and other historical injustices should now define how black citizens are treated is insane.”
You definitely can’t argue white supremacy doesn’t exist when you situate, again, the blame on black inferiority (“black students misbehave or fail, [and] nothing is done”). Setting that aside, you really can’t make this argument when there’s plenty of studies that completely disprove this statement. Maybe you could check out these factoids of institutionalized racism’s role on criminalizing black students.
US Department Of Education & US Department of Justice:
“[I]n our investigations we have found cases where African-American students were disciplined more harshly and more frequently because of their race than similarly situated white students…In short, racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem.”
“Experiment Shows Teachers View ‘Deshawns’ More Harshly Than ‘Gregs”:
“As it is, black students are three times as likely as their white counterparts to be suspended or expelled, and while black students are just 17 percent of the national youth population they make up more than one-third of those who get suspended. The study gets at some of the potential underlying issues at play.”
Beyond that, you need to come full stop when you say, “Authorities either look the other way, or socially promote them to get them the hell out of the school. That’s racism.” Considering the racial disparities that you’re own argument points out, and the fact black students experience harsher punishments than whites, Bill, you’re kind of floundering in your attempt to disprove white supremacy while defining white supremacist outcomes.
And to the Jim Crow and historical dig, which basically is the tried-and-true “Get Over It Already” response that countless white people incorporate about discussions surrounding race: Institutionalized racism is very much linked to racist ideologies, policies, and practices. Although historically situated, these past actions undertaken on-behalf of white supremacy, have evolved into ideologies like how white people criminalize black youth and view them as older. The murder of Tamir Rice is an obvious example of the dangers of these ideologies as they connect with the criminal justice system and the (white) public’s perception of events. That is, this perspective was clearly held by the officer and those that reacted as if the police brutality and blatant murder of Rice was “unfortunate but necessary” as a white police officer was just “doing his job.” This of course allowed for the officer to be humanized within white circles (just look at the growing police-state supporters on twitter using #BlueLivesMatter), which opened up a campaign of dehumanizing a young black boy playing in the park.
O’Reilly: “The real racism is looking away from what is really harming black Americans, the root cause of poverty. And as Talking Points has reported over and over and over again, that is the dissolution of the African-American traditional family, chaos on the streets in poor neighborhoods, and an educational system that does not demand the same standards of achievement that are demanded in the white neighborhoods..”
This one kind of made me want to punch my computer! First, refer to institutionalized racism within the education system above and think about how that works within socioeconomic status. Next, when you argue things that point to the “destruction of the black family” (don’t get me started on the whole heteronormative shit packaged in that “traditional comment”), you really need to contextualize it, and no not within that racist stereotype of the absent black father, rather, you need to take a look at the role mass incarceration and the War on Drugs play.
The Sentencing Project:
“The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails — a 500% increase over the past thirty years. These trends have resulted in prison overcrowding and state governments being overwhelmed by the burden of funding a rapidly expanding penal system, despite increasing evidence that large-scale incarceration is not the most effective means of achieving public safety.”
Prisoners in 2013:
“51% of the federal prison population were imprisoned for possession, trafficking, or other drug crimes.”
“The Drug War And Mass Incarceration By The Numbers”:
“The punishment falls disproportionately on people of color. Blacks make up 50 percent of the state and local prisoners incarcerated for drug crimes. Black kids are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones — even though white kids are more likely to abuse drugs.”
“A Mother’s Day Look At Moms of Incarcerated Children”:
“While the extremely high rates of incarceration of men of color, particularly black men, get increasing attention, fewer talk about the impact that this has on the families and communities they leave behind. “One in four women have a family member behind bars due to the mass incarceration crisis in the United States,” says Gina Clayton, founder of Essie Justice Group, an organization that supports women with incarcerated loved ones. “For black women, almost half of us have family members in prison.”
Women in particular—mothers, daughters, siblings, partners, grandmothers—often face a large burden when their relatives or loved ones are incarcerated. Not only do they take added responsibility for caregiving and maintaining their households, they also hold the emotional weight. Additionally, they must grapple with what it takes to support someone who is incarcerated. Costly phone calls and lengthy commutes to far-away prisons are every day facts of life for these women.”
So that whole poverty thing that you might claim is due to black family failing is actually due to institutionalized racism, which is also stemming from the education system, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration.
Seriously, you’re pointing to outcomes within a system that privileges whiteness, so clearly, the racial inequalities you point to to discredit white supremacy’s existence are actually due to institutionalized racism, which spells-out…White Supremacy!
You’re whole, well, you’re whole everything is invalid, sir.