O'Rielly's Problematic Race Challenge


This rant is problematic on many fronts. Foremost, Bill O’Reilly - someone I’d never approach for racial diagnosis, especially about African Americans or any other minority- made a cardinal mistake. Bill attempted to diagnose the problems of an entire people. To do this, not only generalizes them, but it also trivializes their problems, minimizes their disenfranchisement, and sheds light on the speakers ignorance. Not once in O'Rielly's rant did he attempt to address the structural forces that play a significant role in confining poor African Americans, nor did he attempt to critically address the underlying racial biases that are deeply embedded within our nation. (Aside: I do agree with with his critique of the lackluster performance of Black Leaders such as Jackson/Sharpton, Congressional Black Caucus, and Obama to address black issues, but still  O’Rielly's makeshift points still pose as  no remedy for Blacks).  Why?

O’Rielly's major mistake occurred when he placed overemphasis on personal responsibility and not on structural forces that hinder African-Americans today. This mistake wrongly locates black sufferings – and by implication- its remedy in their lives. For blacks to take more personal responsibility, Bill O’Rielly is merely describing hypothetical what if’s:

...What if Blacks were willing to work more, ...What if  Blacks acted more becoming, ...What If  Blacks had better educations, ...What If Blacks closed their legs and parent better, than all of their problems would be solved.

However, an individual could be successful within all of these hypotheticals and still not have assurance of personal productivity and moral equity. Orielly's solution to racial matters is faulty and is embedded in American pathos of  ignoring the disadvantages that face minorities.

Like most of privileged American's, O’Rielly ignores the fact that this country and it's technological advances have phased out lower scaled job, leaving people of color out of work. Additionally, O'Rielly ignores how rigidly segregated our nations educational system is and how it fails to prepare black/brown students to compete in American markets. Furthermore, O’Rielly ignores the political consequence of the criminal rates of black imprisonment. Yes, the rate of young black male criminality is high, but surely further investigation is needed into the unjustly high imprisonment of young blacks by law enforcement. Am I attempting to apologize for these high rates of black criminality? No, I am merely  attempting to spotlight the injustices and biases of our nations police departments. O’Rielly conveniently failed to mention that crime occurs not only for blacks, but all classes and races, although it not always equally judged and prosecuted.

Thusly, I feel it's completely necessary that points like these be debated to make sure all sides and perspectives are covered.