Bill O'Reilly Can't BELIEVE You Think America's Original Recipe Had Racism In It
Bill O'Reilly, who was once racist professionally for Fox News, has racist thoughts to share about reparations. This isn't shocking coming from the guy who reportedly called a black woman employee "Hot Chocolate." But that's O'Reilly's own sick personal history. Let's see what he has to say about American history.
It's not a "radical" belief that racist white men founded the United States. It was the 18th Century. Even the nicest white guys of the period were still probably as racist as
Tucker Carlson is now. They might've looked askance at Laura Ingraham, though: "Damn, girl, take it down a notch." Thomas Jefferson condemned the slave trade in an early draft of the Declaration of Independence, but he also blamed the whole mess on
Obama the British. Jefferson also owned more than 200 enslaved black people, but it wasn't like he could free them. Who'd make his bed? He liked hospital corners. George Washington occasionally lamented slavery in his writing, but during his life, he owned as many as 300 black people, his personal Negro Town.
Even the founders who didn't own black people weren't convinced they were people. The system of government they created was, by design -- no accident, hoax, or imaginary story -- one where "white guys would run everything." That was the deal. O'Reilly should read the Constitution or a remedial US history textbook. Black people (and white women) couldn't vote or own property. Enslaved humans were counted as three-fifths of a person as a "compromise" between "free" and "slave" states that only benefitted the people who were working us to death. The American dream is founded on the principle that "we shall give our children better than we ourselves received." The founders condemned black people to a nightmare where our children would live and die as slaves. That's exploitation.
The diagram of O'Reilly's first sentence would resemble a Rorschach test. We're just gonna put on our hip waders and plow our way through the BS. There's no "recovering" from centuries of state-sanctioned racial discrimination when people like O'Reilly don't even acknowledge it existed. The argument for reparations is actually one
for "personal responsibility." America should take responsibility for its cruel and intentional actions. It should acknowledge the labor and wealth it plundered from generations of black people. All of this is part of the historical record.
Conservatives throw out the canard of "personal responsibility" because they somehow believe if you insult people enough, they'll forget how much money you owe them. They also love the "model minority" myth. Black people aren't oppressed. They just aren't as good as Asians. Look at all the immigrants who (voluntarily) come here with nothing and own a profitable dress company within a couple generations? This willfully ignores so many horrors from slavery. People who forget family separation are doomed to repeat it.
Back in 2016, O'Reilly mansplained black history to Michelle Obama and curiously praised the labor conditions of enslaved people. (He'd seen nothing but good things on Antebellum Glassdoor.) He just can't stand idle while black people cast aspersions on his preferred myth of America. O'Reilly believes in Horatio Alger, the Puritan work ethic, and sexual harassing coworkers.
Oh, so it's black people's "grievances" that are causing all the problems? O'Reilly doesn't recommend how you make a white supremacist society more "just" without actively confronting and dismantling white supremacy itself. That's not at the top of his "to do" list. Conservatives like to appeal to our sense of pride and claim the far left is trying to turn us into "victims." We should have the strength of character to just let centuries of exploitation and abuse go unresolved. Why can't we appreciate that Barack Obama was president or that Black Panther was a blockbuster? O'Reilly doesn't want "unity." He wants submission through silence. We'll pass.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).