During yesterday’s segment of The O’Reilly Factor Bill O’Reilly laid down the gauntlet. He’s calling out the “Christmas haters,” the all-purpose haters, and the race baiters. O’Reilly expressed strong concern about what he sees as a dangerous trend of the “secular progressive media”—the propensity to stifle those with differing points of view by calling them names like “homophobe,” “racist,” and so forth. “What ever happened to good old-fashioned, honest debate?” O’Reilly seemed to be asking.
I'd written earlier about how O’Reilly took some heat for his statements about the recent Presidential election and how annoyed he was about that. But that was nothing compared to last night, ‘cause last night O’Reilly got to talking about Jason Whitlock, with whom he is not happy at all.
Remember those comments Whitlock made about the “gun culture” being a factor in the Jovan Belcher Perkins tragedy? Well, those weren’t Whitlock’s last words on the subject. Later, in an interview with Roland Martin, Whitlock stated that "The NRA is the new KKK." Clearly the statement has racial overtones, and O’Reilly wanted to talk to Whitlock about that, so he invited him to the show… and was rejected, big time. Whitlock wrote in his column “It appears I was summoned to testify before Speaker of The Big House Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News entertainer… [but] I’m a grown-ass man and it’s 2012. I don’t have to shuffle off to the Big House when summoned. O’Reilly is not Boehner, Pelosi or Obama. He’s a TV entertainer who has spent the weeks after the election crying about the end of ‘white establishment’ America, the end of the days when an upstanding white man felt entitled to summon whomever he wanted whenever he wanted to the Big House to dance. I don’t dance.” Uh oh. You really have to hear O’Reilly read the statement aloud to appreciate his ire.
|Nope, Whitlock doesn't do this.|
O’Reilly denounced Whitlock’s statement as “pure racism, nothing else, with Whitlock implying that I’m some kind of slave overlord.”
O’Reilly went on to call barbs such as this “poisonous stuff” and said that “the Jason Whitlocks” of the world are “liars” who “abuse freedom of speech.” He encouraged Americans to declare that enough is enough.
Whitlock’s statement seemed a bit over the top to me, but then again, I’m not a black man. Sometimes I can’t help thinking that the entire world hates black men, and that must feel pretty crummy. Wanna plan the perfect murder? Tell the authorities two black guys broke into your house. That ought to keep them chasing their tails for a bit. Group of black guys walking down the street? Uh, I think I’ll cross over. Black man in your elevator?—wait! I have a story about that.
A friend of mine, an older white woman who loves to travel and has lived in several states as well as oversees, told me that when she moved to Philadelphia, she was absolutely shocked at some of the openly racist comments she was privy to. She gave me an example. While viewing an expensive condominium she was considering for purchase, my friend was told by the condo representative, after a black man who’d entered an elevator with them had stepped out, “Don’t worry. He doesn’t live here.”
So, I think about stories like these, and I say to myself, if Whitlock’s sense of manhood was insulted by O’Reilly, I’m inclined to give Whitlock a break. I know it’s not fair. I know it’s not right. I know O’Reilly would think my position is bunk, and Whitlock’s comments are nothing more than a liberal tactic to gain control of the debate. He may be right. But the racial divide in this country is getting wider every day, and I can’t tell anymore.