This past Monday, Fox News Channel political commentator, Bill O'Reilly, delivered a lengthy monologue critiquing President Obama on the remarks he made about the Trayvon Martin case. MSNBC Host Chris Hayes responded to O'Reilly's critique by calling it a "super-racist rant." It isn't uncommon for a conservative political commentator like O'Reilly, to introduce various statistics taken out of context to prove a point while completely ignoring and disregarding the root problem that creates these statistics in the first place, which is why, and as Chris Hayes mentioned, there is a strong need for a "conversation about the problems with white culture." More specifically, there is a need for a conversation on a racist system and that system's treatment of African Americans in the United States.
O'Reilly views liberals as wrongfully race-obsessed which demonstrates his lack of understanding and acknowledgement of racial prejudice in America. He is completely delusional and borderline insane if he truly accepts the idea that racial bias does not exist in the United States. O'Reilly believes that the culture of criminal profiling is a direct result of a large proportion of young black American men being involved in crime and should not be blamed on poor education. He believes that young black men are raised without structure and "often reject the education process and gravitate towards street culture, drugs, hustling, [and] gangs." This fictitious statement makes no reference to the fact that black males are often neglected by the education system. In a report conducted on the education of Maryland's African-American males, a group of educators concluded, "There is a great deal of evidence to demonstrate that all children are not valued equally, that some children are clearly valued more than other children, and finally, that African-American male children are valued least of all." Furthermore, a study conducted by the Schott Foundation for Public Education concluded that black and Latino students in the U.S. "face disproportionate rates of out-of-school suspensions and are not consistently receiving sufficient learning time – effectively being pushed out of opportunities to succeed. Many who remain in schools are locked out of systems with well-resourced schools and where teachers have the training, mentoring, administrative support, supplies and the facilities they need to provide our children with a substantive opportunity to learn." O’Reilly's racist monologue ignores these studies and instead blames "resentful and unsupervised" black boys for the violence and havoc in black neighborhoods.
Later in the video, O'Reilly moves on to what he calls "the drug situation" in which he attacks so-called "race hustlers and limousine liberals" for their continuous efforts to highlight the disproportionate incarceration rates of black men compared to white men. The claim that black men are targeted "is one of the biggest lies in the history of this country" he says. But is it really? According to a Human Rights Watch study, blacks are arrested at much higher rates than whites despite the fact that they commit drug offenses at comparable rates. Furthermore, a study conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union, tracked marijuana arrests by race and concluded that black and white Americans use marijuana at about the same rate (white Americans use it a little more). Yet blacks are four times as likely than whites to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession. Dan Blazer from Duke's Department of Psychiatry, a senior author of a study that found that teen drug and alcohol use is lowest among blacks, says that there continues to exist "a myth out there that black kids are more likely to have problems with drugs than white kid" despite the fact that "substance-related disorders among African American youth is significantly lower."
No one is denying that some African Americans are involved in drugs and other criminal offenses and that some African Americans engage in violence. However, O'Reilly's monologue makes no reference to a system that forces many black individuals into those situations. White privilege, failed schooling systems, neglect of black students in education, and disproportionate incarceration rates contribute and in most cases create an environment that impels blacks towards crime. Racial profiling and racism are rampant in the United States and only work to perpetuate a biased perception of African Americans, and O'Reilly helps maintain and proliferate these false perceptions and stereotypes. If we need any conversation it is how to tackle a racist system that continuously targets African American youth and other minority communities.
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