Sep 27, 2007

Racist, idiot, or both?

You may not be aware of this, but talk show host Bill O'Reilly has been accused of making racist remarks on his radio show. Now the volatile pundit is known for making statements that are unintelligent at best, but this story I'm really torn on. While O'Reilly's market is attune to simpleton armchair social/political activists, a market he does quite well in by the way, he seems to pander to their often politically incorrect thinking a lot.

Now I'm no PC enforcer, far from it, and while I'm not a fan of his show I'm torn about the comments he made regarding a dinner with Al Sharpton. In describing what he cites as white Americans' irrational fear of black culture he outlined his dinner with the media whore preacher at a African-American owned restaurant.

"I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship."

Was he surprised by their mellow behavior? Sounds like it. He goes on with:

"There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' You know, I mean, everybody was -- it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn't any kind of craziness at all."

Now I live in a predominately black area. I've never seen such craziness at a black owned establishment. You know this cause I would've blogged about it. Still to feign shock when describing this scenario and then to compare the behavior to white ethnic suburbia is the real confusing part for me.

Of course many, such as Media Matters, have leapt all over the host decrying his statements as racist. Surprisingly enough Al Sharpton himself has remained all but mute on the issue and shockingly stated that he wouldn't comment until he asked O'Reilly about the context of the statements.

Maybe I'm giving the intellectual midget to much credit, but after hearing O'Reilly's remarks I don't immediately cry foul. If anything he was trying to make the point that many lilly white folk have an unrealistic image of black culture; however poorly he may have articulated it. It's a black day when I sound any way defensive of O'Reilly, but still I'll let you, the reader(s), decide for yourself.

"Americans will respect your beliefs if you just keep them private." - Bill O'Reill

O'Reilly surprised "there was no difference" between Harlem restaurant and other New York restaurants


whatigotsofar said...

What I think, O'Reilly went in there with a stereotype of black people in mind and found his stereotypical view to be not true. He's just not so good with words, could be.
He was trying to disprove the stereotype. I don't think what he said was intentionally rascist. Just, not well thought out.

Anonymous said...

I think that he was admitting ignorance. He had an image of black society that we as a society have created and when he was immersed in it he realized that it isn't that way. Maybe he shouldn't have admitted his ignorance and he wouldn't be called a racist. Look at most of the movies that are focused on black culture (Friday, Barbershop, etc) and the cop shows, news and other sources propagate this stereotype. If I didn't know any better I would have had the same impression he had.

Miss Ash said...

What WIGSF said!!

Hey, how come your nickname is

Wee Willy???? haha One would think you would pick a more flattering name no?

Mattbear said...

I am pretty sure O'Jackass is a racist. But I wouldn't necessarily decry this particular statement as racist, at least not without hearing more context.

The statement itself doesn't sound terribly racist anyway...just a shade worse than, say, "I have friends who are black" (a statement that tends to sound very condescending)