Bill O’Reilly said something racist on his show the other night. Surprise, surprise:
Bill O’Reilly interrupted Donald Trump’s claims about how he would create jobs for African-Americans on Monday night to make a louder point: That many of them are “ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads.”
Normally when a right-wing nut says something like this, they first thing they do is say the quote was taken out-of-context. So let’s give Bill the benefit of the doubt and assume the totally-evil mainstream liberal media is purposefully demonizing him to brainwash the country, etc. etc.:
Grilling the Republican front-runner on Fox News’ the O’Reilly Factor, the conservative talk show host asked Trump how he would win over minorities like African Americans.
“I’m telling you, it’s an economic message,” Trump said. “If you look at President Obama, he’s been a president for almost 8 years, it will be 8 years, you have with black youth, with African American youth, you have a 59 percent unemployment.”
“But how are you going to get jobs for them?” O’Reilly interjected. “Many of them are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads, and I hate to be generalized about it, but it’s true. If you look at all the educational statistics, how are you going to get jobs for people who aren’t qualified for jobs?”
Mmmm nope. Not taken out of context. So what happens, then, when a right-wing nut says something like this and they can’t legitimately claim it was taken out of context? Say it was taken out of context anyway:
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly says his review of famed Harlem restaurant Sylvia’s is being taken out of context and was not racist.
On his September 19 radio show, O’Reilly said he took civil rights leader Al Sharpton to the Lenox Avenue fixture and “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,” he told listeners. “It was the same, and that’s really what this society’s all about now here in the U.S.A. There’s no difference.”
And later, speaking with National Public Radio correspondent and Fox analyst Juan Williams, O’Reilly said there “wasn’t any kind of craziness at all” during his dinner with Sharpton: “There wasn’t one person in Sylvia’s who was screaming, ‘M.F.-er, I want more iced tea.’ ”
“It was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense that people were sitting there and they were ordering and just having fun,” he continued.
So O’Reilly expected to walk into a predominantly black restaurant to find the patrons embodying the racial stereotypes he associates with them, and instead was shocked to find they acted like normal human beings. But it’s not racist! We know because O’Reilly tells us:
“Anybody who listened to it … would, I think, have appreciated the discussion for being an exposition of why people are afraid not only of blacks but of everybody they don’t know,” he said.
Elsewhere in the September 19 program, O’Reilly said he was trying to reassure whites — such as his grandmother, whom he said had an “irrational fear” of blacks — that rap-star stereotypes of African-Americans “are not true.”
“This is what white America doesn’t know, particularly people who don’t have a lot of interaction with black Americans,” he said. “They think the culture is dominated by Twista, Ludacris and Snoop Dogg.”
Which means that O’Reilly also believes in those stereotypes, and is a media figure who perpetuates those stereotypes when he describes black youth as being “ill-educated” and having tattoos on their foreheads. It’s kind of a testament to how out-of-touch O’Reilly and like-minded members of the commentariat really are when they feel it a civic duty to tell other white people that, hey, blacks don’t jump up and down when they go to restaurants! Trust me; I went to one!
It’s easy to say racist stuff on television or radio and get away with it. So long as you say it in a way that can be walked back, where you can cry that what you said is being taken out of context. It’s how he can engage in doublespeak when he says the following:
It’s a bit complicated because the reason Trayvon Martin died was because he looked a certain way and it wasn’t based on skin color. If Trayvon Martin had been wearing a jacket like you are and a tie like you are, Mr. West, this evening, I don’t think George Zimmerman would have any problem. But he was wearing a hoodie and he looked a certain way. And that way is how “gangstas” look.
Trayvon Martin’s race had nothing to do with why he died, according to O’Reilly. It’s because of the hoodie, which is primarily worn by “gangstas,” which is O’Reilly’s way of referring to blacks without saying it, same as when he or anyone else uses the term “thugs.” It’s just vague enough that it can be easily walked back. But, you know, I’m probably just taking it out of context.