Bill O'Reilly: "Taken Out of Context"
Discussing his recent dinner with Rev. Al Sharpton at the Harlem restaurant Sylvia's, Bill O'Reilly said that he "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, [and has a] primarily black patronship."
O'Reilly added: "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.'" He also said that going to Sylvia’s was like going to an Italian restaurant in White suburban America.
Based on those remarks, it’s obvious what mindset Bill O’Reilly had and has about Blacks. He obviously questions our level of civility, table etiquette, social skills and upbringing.
HOW EXACTLY DID BILL O’REILLY EXPECT BLACKS TO ACT, WHILE THEY WERE OUT AT DINNER? Were the patrons supposed to eat, while swinging from vines? Were patrons supposed to eat with their fingers…all while dancing to rap music?
What’s scary is that Bill O’Reilly’s comments can’t be excused as isolated comments or as the comments of a crazy right-wing conservative commentator, who loves to be provocative (see yesterday’s post on that issue).
The fact of the matter is, I’ve had coworkers—plenty of them—make comments that are just as ignorant and racist as Bill O’Reilly’s comments. I’ve heard some say his comments were “passively racist” or “casually racist.” However, racist is racist and ignorance is ignorance. If a person can marvel at the fact that they went to a “Black restaurant” (and not just a restaurant) and no one SCREAMED for motherf*cking Iced tea, that person is a racist. Point blank! Just as a coworker making similar comments is a racist.
Mr. O’Reilly has since claimed that his comments were “taken out of context.” In the workplace, you don’t hear so much that comments were “taken out of context” because the preferred excuses are:
-- “I didn’t mean it that way.”
--“That’s not what I meant to say.”
--“I’m not like that.”
--“You misunderstood me.”
--“It was miscommunication.”
For Bill O’Reilly it’s just “taken out of context.” Bill O’Reilly says he just wanted White people to know that all Blacks don’t subscribe to the gangsta mentality, when it comes to behavior, dress, and speech. That defense is racist. If what he is saying is true, most Whites expect most Blacks to ask for motherf*cking iced tea, when they go out to eat. Thinking most Whites believe that is racist. And, if most Whites do believe that, it is racist!
But, the fact that someone (claiming to be educated) can believe that these comments are positive of Blacks, just goes to show how warped many American minds are, when it comes to acknowledging racist and stereotypical perceptions.
I’ll say it again…people who think this way are always someone’s coworker, boss, etc. And, they think that this sort of so-called “passive racism” is really okay and they think it’s defensible. And, these types of people usually won’t apologize, when confronted about their comments. They’re too busy defending why the comments aren’t racist, when they should be responding to the damage and offense they’ve caused.
Blacks are asked (and even forced) to apologize to Whites all the time. I’ve worked at a number of jobs, where Blacks were forced to apologize to Whites and I’ve had demands made of me in attempts to get me to apologize to White coworkers. I worked at one job, where an outside investigator—checking into complaints of race-based harassment and retaliation at our company—noted that members of authority at our company always required Blacks to apologize for incidents and couldn’t find one instance of a White person being required to apologize to Black workers.
Here’s a tip…if you’ve said something offensive and you’ve been called on it…just apologize. Hopefully the apology is sincere. If not, it’s not worth a damn. Bill O’Reilly would rather make himself the victim of a witch hunt, than apologize for what he said. Similarly, Whites in the workplace will often turn themselves into the victim of a hypersensitive Black coworker or will say they are the victims of political correctness gone wrong.
The anti-harassment policy at my former employer stated that the intent of the person causing offense was unimportant…what mattered was the impact on the victim. The comments made by Bill O’Reilly were offensive and racist—casually or not. That is why they are receiving attention.
By the way, Mr. O’Reilly also said that he went to a concert at a Radio City Music Hall and noticed that the Black concert-goers were “neatly dressed.” Again, the proof is in the pudding.
TELL US ABOUT IT: What do you think about Bill O’Reilly’s comments? Do you think they are outright racist or passively/casually racist? Do you make a distinction and why? Or, do you believe that Bill O’Reilly was really just defending Blacks, as he claims?