O’Reilly distills conservative cluelessness about race down to one perfect moment of stupid.
Talking Points Memo: Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Thursday advised Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett to get “gangsta rappers” like Jay Z and Kanye West to say their behavior is wrong if the White House really wants to improve minority communities.
President Barack Obama had invited O’Reilly to the launch of his new initiative called “My Brother’s Keeper” earlier Thursday. The program aims to create opportunities and improve conditions for young minority men, but O’Reilly said he doesn’t believe the White House sees the “urgency” of the situation in the streets.
"You have to attack the fundamental disease if you want to cure it," O’Reilly told Jarrett. "Now I submit to you that you’re gonna have to get people like Jay Z, Kanye West, all these gangsta rappers to knock it off."
"They idolize these guys with the hats on backwards, and the terrible rap lyrics and the drug and all of that," he continued, adding that high-profile figures need to hammer young people with that message to "reverse the peer pressure."
O’Reilly also challenged First Lady Michelle Obama to come on “The Factor” and tell teenage girls “You stop having sex. You stop getting pregnant. This is wrong.”
In O’Reilly’s world the biggest stumbling block for African-Americans is other African-Americans, with whites mere observers to some sort of cultural self-destruction they have absolutely nothing at all to do with. It’s a view that seems to be shared by your average conservative — racism is over and any problems that black people may face are now the fault of black people. “I’m not racist,” a typical rightwinger might say, “but black people are all the same.”
Worse, minority attempts to improve their situation are always attacked as “reverse racism” or some sort of plot to steal money and power from white people (see ACORN). Income inequality isn’t a thing. Institutional racism in the criminal justice system isn’t a thing. Ongoing discrimination in hiring and pay isn’t a thing.
But kids listening to “guys with the hats on backward” — now that’s a thing. And O’Reilly is so damned smugly proud of himself for spouting this marshmallow fluff inanity that he practically craps himself with joy.
"[I]t’s yet another demonstration of the rules both prominent and ordinary black people have to live with," writes Paul Waldman. “Unlike white Americans, they are subject to an entirely different and far more wide-ranging kind of responsibility. A black senator has to answer for the remarks of every black activist, black musicians are responsible for the actions of every wayward teenager, and black people everywhere carry with them a thousand sins committed by others. That burden isn’t just psychological; as we’ve seen in cases like those of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, it can be deadly.”
It’s no wonder Bill O’Reilly has such a masterful grasp of the conservative mindset when it comes to race. Who better than a simpleminded clown to embody such a simpleminded understanding of America?