Takedown: Why Bill O’Reilly Should Take a Look at His Closet – and Some Actual Data

By Feminist Campus Team
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FOX News show host, Bill O’Reilly went on a 7-minute rant Monday night in response to President Obama’s remarks about race and, unsurprisingly, managed to be racist. Here’s the sound-bite by sound-bite breakdown (with O’Reilly quotes in boxes).

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Talking Points believes the President was correct in addressing the race issue and framing it with the Martin case.

Well, thanks, Bill O’Reilly, the President was anxiously awaiting your permission to address it and I’m sure he’s really glad you think he did an okay job making a connection. Also, good to know that racial injustice isn’t a big enough problem in America that the President could address it any old time he pleased.

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Trayvon Martin was killed because circumstances got out of control. He was scrutinized by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman because of the way he looked. Not necessarily his skin color, there’s no evidence of that, but because he was a stranger to Zimmerman and was dressed in clothing sometimes used by street criminals.

I own about 15 hoodies, and, thanks to O’Reilly, I am now appropriately aware that I am wearing clothing used by street criminals. What other clothes could we put in this category? Jeans. T-shirts. Shorts. Sneakers. Hats. (Read: Anything.) Fabulous, neighborhood watchmen can now scrutinize toddlers and anyone else they please as street criminals. If you think the hoodie was what brought Zimmerman’s “scrutiny” to Trayvon Martin, go to your closet and take a long, hard look at your assumptions.

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Also, you’re right, Bill, circumstances did get out of control. But those circumstances were not the moments between Martin and Zimmerman that ended in Martin’s death. The circumstances of America’s system of racial oppression were what pushed things “out of control.” Every white child in America grows up learning, directly or indirectly, that people of color and, above all, black men are to be feared. Even if that isn’t what is being taught at home, it is what society is teaching all the time.

It was wrong for Zimmerman to confront Martin based on his appearance, but the culture we have in this country does lead to criminal profiling…

Thanks for throwing that bone, it’s almost like you understand the social discord that got us to this point.

…Because young black American men are so often involved in crime.

Just kidding.

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Young black men commit homicides at a rate ten times greater than whites and hispanics combined.

The fact is: none of us knows the rates at which crimes are “committed” we only know the rates at which people are incarcerated. Those mean very different things. Per every 100,000 black men in America, 4,347 are incarcerated, the same statistic for white men is 678. Blacks are not ten times more criminal, they are ten times more incarcerated. Their criminal acts may be treated differently in our justice system than those of their white counterparts, but that does not, Bill, make a group of people more criminal than another.

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When presented with damning evidence like that, and like the many holocausts in Chicago where hundreds of African Americans are murdered each year, the civil rights industry looks the other way or makes excuses.

First of all, nobody likes holocaust imagery, so just don’t bother with it. It doesn’t sound factual and makes those who use it sound like they are both exaggerating and insensitive. (Not that I expect Bill O’Reilly to be overly culturally sensitive…hence, this post.)

And second, I’m not quite sure what “civil rights industry” you’re watching, but there are tons of groups working to fix root problems of crime and disproportionate incarceration. Activists come at this issue from a variety of angles, poverty, resource access, education, gun control, prisoner’s rights, reproductive health, safe communities, employment access and more.

They blame guns, poor education, lack of jobs.

Oh, my bad, I didn’t realize they were “excuses” as opposed to legitimate contributing factors…

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Rarely do they define the problem accurately, the reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts, is the disintegration of the African American family. Right now, about 73 percent of all black babies are born out of wedlock… The lack of involved fathers leads to young boys growing up resentful and unsupervised.

Wait. What?

The numbers on this seem pretty convoluted. But, it is true that the number of overall unmarried mothers is on the rise, in fact, according to the New York Times “more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.” O’Reilly isn’t worrying about dramatically rising crime rates among whites, so regardless of what the African American unwed birth rate is, he’s invalidated his own argument. Plus, apparently, only men, specifically fathers, are capable of “supervising” children. And also, no one has every grown up well with a single mom…’cause that makes sense. Because touching father-son moments are the only thing that allow young men to grow up non-criminally.

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When was the last time you saw a public service ad telling young black girls to avoid becoming pregnant?

Umm…I’m pretty sure that, with very few exceptions, most young girls, sexually active or not, are trying to avoid becoming pregnant. Of teen girls having sex, 78 percent used birth control the first time and that number has almost doubled since 1982. Maybe a public service ad telling young girls how to access contraception would be more helpful; they could air it during the O’Reilly Factor, since Bill is so concerned and all.

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White people don’t force black people to have babies. That’s a personal decision.

Really, Bill? Because the political ideals you largely support seem to involve legislating control of women’s bodies a whole lot. And maybe if there was better sex education and access to birth control and abortion, those “decisions” would be different. Or at least possible.

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Raised without much structure, young, black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture: drugs, hustling, gangs.

What is this “street culture” you speak of? Use your words, Bill, tell us what you mean. Do you mean black culture? It doesn’t make you less racist to use a euphemism to generalize about a group of people, in case you were wondering. “Often,” huh? Show me that statistic, because I still haven’t heard anything except our incarceration rate, which does nothing more than prove our justice system is unjust.

And can you say for certain that if your school was understaffed, overcrowded, and falling down you wouldn’t be trying to avoid it? Educational discrepancies between wealthier, majority white communities and poorer, majority people of color communities are astronomical. Survival crime is much more likely in impoverished communities, where schools are also consistently worse off. According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People “African American students are most likely to attend a school that does not offer advanced placement (AP) courses” stunting their ability to gain college entrance and succeed in higher education (PDF).

But the entertainment industry encourages the irresponsibility by marketing a gangsta culture – hip hop, movies, trashy T.V. shows – to impressionable children.

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I’m a little confused what demographic Bill is trying to talk about here: young black men or young black children. He can’t seem pick one or the other. Nonethless, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, African Americans represented only 10 percent of frequent moviegoers in 2011 (PDF). Unless Bill is trying to suggest that blacks are somehow more susceptible to the influences of entertainment media, his argument doesn’t hold much weight.

Side note: I also can’t watch O’Reilly say “gangsta” without laughing hysterically. He looks like he’s desperately trying to figure out how to pronounce it, My Fair Lady-style.

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Fact: President Obama has welcomed some of the worst offenders in that cesspool to the White House when he should be condemning what these weasels are doing.

I’m sorry that you can’t enjoy any entertainment besides 7th Heaven, Bill, but that’s your own problem. President Obama and I can enjoy whatever we want.

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These, so called, entertainers get rich, while the kids who emulate their lyrics and attitude destroy themselves.

I’m confused again, Bill. Who are you mad at? President Obama for talking about race, black men for forgoing fatherhood, black women for having children or Hollywood? Poverty is just an excuse but Hollywood is a determining factor? So a young kid growing up an an impoverished area is supposed to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and make opportunities for themselves, but it’s totally reasonable that the entertainment industry can derail them? If a child can’t overcome a pop song or a movie, you can’t except them to overcome a failed education system, poverty, and lack of resources.

And Bill is back to a plain old blame game anyway. He said they “destroy themselves,” not that entertainment media destroys them.

And then there is the drug situation. Go to Detroit and ask anyone living on the south side of the eight-mile road what destroyed their city. They will tell you narcotics. What do the race hustlers and limousine liberals yell about? The number of black men in prison for selling drugs. Oh, it’s so unfair, it’s a non-violent crime, blacks are targeted. That is one of the biggest lies in the history of this country.

1. Drugs didn’t destroy Detroit. White flight destroyed Detroit. People acting based on their assumptions about people of color or people in poverty abandoned the city to some of the richest surrounding suburbs in the nation.

2. The numbers suggest that whites use drugs at levels similar to, if not more, than blacks. It is another reminder that the crime of whites an blacks may look different, but we all learned not to judge books by their covers. The genuine difference between crack and cocaine (which are identical but consumed differently and largely among different racial groups) is little more than a difference in mandatory minimum sentencing. We all know calling people names is classy. And I think I just covered that there is not a discrepancy in drug use, so it very much is that there is a discrepancy in how different people are treated by our criminal justice system.

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Get ready! Here are Bill’s closing arguments:

The solution to the epidemic of violent crime in poor black areas is to actively discourage pregnancies out of marriage, to impose strict discipline in the public schools, including mandatory student uniforms, and to create a zero-tolerance policy for gun and drug crimes, imposing harsh mandatory prison time on the offenders, and finally, challenging the entertainment industry to stop peddling garbage.

If I have to explain at this point why Bill is being an idiot, I’ve failed miserably in this post.

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(This also seems like it might be a good moment to point out that FOX News has one regular black host and their black pundits get pulled in on occasion when it might be awkward to talk about something, like the Zimmerman trial, with five white people. Not a great case for FOX being in touch with America.)

So basically:

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All .gifs via Giphy.

By Feminist Campus Team

@feministcampus

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