This is racism?

Daily Kos: Bill O’Reilly in All His Racist Glory

MissLaura over at DailyKos has a hit piece on how racist Bill O’Reilly is.

Her complaint? Bill went to a restaurant in Harlem and had nice things to say about it. Yea, giving the Harlem restaurant a good review is now considered racist by the nut cases at DailyKos. O’Reilly’s main points?

  1. It was a nice restaurant just like other famous restaurants in New York.
  2. The clientele are normal everyday people out to have a nice dinner.

That’s it? That’s the racism of Bill O’Reilly?

I remember when racism meant things like lynchings, and segregation, and Jim Crow laws in the south. Now it seems that we have come so far in this country that racism has been reduced to giving good reviews to restaurants in black neighborhoods. Is it me, or does this kind of cheapen the meaning of racism and belittle the things that those who really faced racism endured?

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One Comment on “This is racism?”

  1. sfRenter says:

    hello, i found your comment over at docudharma fascinating so i thought i’d check out your site. unfortunately, the hint of a fresh unique perspective and cutting analysis displayed in that comment is not repeated in this tired apology for bill o.

    it’s not that hard to understand the argument. listening to his comments we know that bill o was surprised by how much he liked the black-owned and operated harlem restaruant with all black patrons. he couldn’t get over the fact that the customers were moderately dressed, respectable and well behaved. It was an eye-opener for him to find the dining experience at this restaurant refreshingly similar to all the white suburban restaurants he generally frequents. Even though the whole place was black, it was not like stepping into a gangsta-rap video, which really impressed him.

    so, the subtext is that bill o has held or holds stereotypical views about black people and black culture, and that this restaurant experience did not conform to those preconceptions, so he was surprised and impressed. Can you deny the analysis? Your only way out is to argue that his preconceptions about black people and black culture are not stereotypical or negative, that his constant ranting about hip-hop or NAACP debasing the country is fair and well-reasoned and not related to his deep seeded stereotypical mindset regarding race.

    sure, he didn’t lynch anybody, and we shouldn’t argue his comments are equivelent to that, but are you really trying to say that racism only counts if it’s violent? Maybe you should start by defining what you mean by racism.

    as the self professed number one newsman on cable tv, with millions of regular viewers every night, bill o’s perspectives and mindset that frames his presentation of news and issues is certainly a valid topic for analysis and discussion in the blogs and in the media. And when his perspective can be seen to be regressive and old-fashioned — always with nostolgia for a “golden age” (probably the 1950s) which were anything but for black people and other minorities in america, the many of us who want to bring our country forward and make it better for all must bring attention to it. He is shaping the perspectives of too many in this country to safely ignore.

    i’ll give you that, by his commentary about the restaurant that it’s possible he had a real eye-opening, and that perhaps his stereotypical ideas about race may have been tempered by the experience (and in his comments that day he did seem to indicate that he hoped the story would educate his more racist listeners to nuance their views), but that question is still an open one until more is seen about how he presents his views in this area.

    finally, i note that surely bill o wouldn’t have been so laudatory and impressed had he found himself in a black nightclub filled with large young people in baggy clothes and blaring rap music. He would have nothing but contempt for the whole scene, would complain that it was all M-Fer this and craziness everywhere. Probably his best compliment would be that he was surprised nobody was shot while he was there. He has a fundamental intolerance for large portions of black culture (and youth culture generally) and seems only to accept it in more assimilated and familiar forms — like at Sylvia’s restaurant. I posit that this intolerance and demand for all to assimilate to his “conservative” ideals are also a form of racism. Such intolerance if widely propogated and left unchecked can indeed lead to violence.

    happy sunday!


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