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 them—why 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.