Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Cure for What Ails

Well, I fear I may be becoming, “that gal who’s always talking about race,” but I can’t help it.

Today I was going to write about something else, but then I watched my guy Bill O’Reilly, and that plan was thrown out the window.

See, O’Reilly won’t quit, so I can’t quit. O’Reilly keeps talking about the “race hustlers,” and the “victim industry,” and so forth, and I just feel like—hey O’Reilly, I can’t let some of your statements go unchallenged.

Tonight, O’Reilly opened his show recounting Oprah's situation with that Swiss shopkeeper who wouldn't show O the expensive bag, and then he turned to his two special guests, Arthel Neville and religious correspondent Lauren Green (I thought it kind of odd that he bought in a religious correspondent to talk about O’s handbag misadventures, but whatever), to ask themwhy in the world does anyone need to know about this? Oprah is a billionaire, he says. Clearly her race hasn’t stopped her from achieving. The “race hustlers” will use this story to perpetuate a culture of victimhood (or something like that), he says. So really, why couldn’t Oprah just zip it? (I’m paraphrasing, of course.)

Ms. Green responded that people need to know this stuff happens.

O’Reilly asks, why? He adds, hasn’t everyone been insulted by a storekeeper at some point? He has. It’s no big deal, he says.

Bill, Bill, Bill. What am I going to do with you??

If you were insulted by a shopkeeper, Bill, I’ll bet it wasn’t because of your race or your gender. Maybe that distinction doesn’t matter to you, but it matters to other people.

But let me back it up a bit.

Before we even got to this portion of the show, O’Reilly gave his Talking Points, during which he advised people of color to not internalize mistreatment by racist “loons.”

Thanks for the advice, Bill. Where the hell have you been all my life?

While I’m prepared to give O’Reilly the benefit of the doubt concerning motivation, somehow, advice about dealing with racism coming from, as Ms. Green put it, a guy “at the top of the food chain,” just seems a little self-serving. A little misguided.

Don’t tell me how to feel about a shopkeeper looking down her nose at me, O’Reilly. (I’m no Oprah, but yes, I have my stories too.) Don’t you dare. I’d venture to say you have no clue.

Funny. Today I read a post titled The Original Identity Thief, by blogger and therapist Edith Pont, and after doing that I had to thank her for her words. They couldn't have come at a more opportune time.

I don’t know about anyone else, but advice, no matter how well intentioned, that people of color should just “move past” this race thing doesn’t work for me.

What does work? Meditating on who I am in Christ (that’s what Ms. Pont’s post is about). And I have to meditate, because I’m likely to forget the minute some “loon” tries to make me feel less than, as though somehow I don’t have any right taking up space in his or her universe.

It’s a constant battle, and one I was reminded of while listening to O’Reilly.

Because clearly, he doesn’t have the cure for what ails me.

But he reminds me who does.

Thanks, Bill.


  1. White people do not get to decide what is racist or not. We can't see a lot of subtle racism because we've never experienced it ourselves. So we need to be listening to People of Color and their experiences more than just shutting them down like this. It frustrates me that people like this who clearly don't recognize their own privilege have such a huge audience that listens to them. But great job in keeping strong and not letting some privileged white dude erase your experiences!

    1. "Some privileged white dude." Chuckle*

      Thanks, Ally. But it's not my strength, not by a long shot.

    2. We went to the public library. When we got ready to leave, a bunch of black kids yelled derogatory white terms and keyed our vehicle. This is racism. Unfortunately, this was not an isolated event. Face it, black people can be as cruel and racist as any other race. I totally disagree with Ally - white people can experience racism just as much as any other race. It is disingenuous to think and believe otherwise.

    3. Hi Robin:

      I believe (or at least I assumed) that Ally was referring to racism experienced by black people. Of course white people are qualified to talk about racism as it affects them. If nothing else everyone is entitled to his opinion. I think O'Reilly is entitled to his opinion, and I usually enjoy hearing his opinion, even when I absolutely disagree with it, such as in this case.

  2. I believe that what Mr. O'Reilly is trying to do is to address the people who continue to cause the divide between the races, to keep the race 'fires' burning and those who keep 'fanning the flames.'

    We white people know what racism is, even though we may not experience it like people of color do.

    We know how to recognize it when we hear it. We know when someone of any race is being discriminatory against anyone of another race. We know that people have been discriminated against for all of history, some worse than others. We know when someone calls us derogatory names, AND we know when we use derogatory names against others. This is all racism.

    What I and many others - no matter what their race - would like to see is that these people who make a living out of keeping the race 'wars' going, and have a prominent enough name to get their comments in the media, STOP all of their efforts to drive the wedge wider apart between the races. Instead, they should use their name and prominence to help solve the problem instead of keeping it alive.

  3. Sorry - I didn't know that my name and email wouldn't be picked up when I posted the above.

    Dave Lyons

    1. Hey Dave, thanks for commenting.

      I'm going to have to disagree with your statement "We know when someone of any race is being discriminatory against anyone of another race." You might, but O'Reilly has proven many times that he doesn't.

      But more than that is this--when I experience racism, I don't need anyone telling me it didn't happen. These types of responses aren't helpful. I wasn't born yesterday or even the day before yesterday, and I know what I know. I'll admit that sometimes I'm not sure. In that case, I'll say, I'm not sure. But when I am sure, I'm sure, and all the denials in the world don't mean a hill of beans to me. Think about it. When is the last time you heard anybody admit to being or acting racist? Probably never.

      I'm going to disagree with you once more, and then I'll agree.:)

      I disagree that commentary by the likes of Sharpton and company is causing the racial divide. The racist behavior is causing the divide. I don't take my cue from Sharpton. My views are a result of what I've experienced in the workplace, on the street, and in my family (or should I say my husband's family?), as well as what I've learned through the stories of my friends and family members. My views may be confirmed by someone's commentary, but I assure you the commentary was not the catalyst for the worldview. Sharpton has some influence, but only because there's a real racial problem.

      But here's where I can agree with you. Stuff needs to change.

      Yet, if it never changes, I'm still saved by grace and with the knowledge that I have brothers and sisters in Christ of all colors all over the world. In other words, man might pervert differences, but God doesn't do that. Thank you Jesus.