Cable TV blowhard Bill O’Reilly went on one his famous diatribes, dedicating the "Talking Points" section of his show to a “frank and honest” discussion of black people. "You want a conversation, you got it," he said.
O’Reilly took the opportunity to lambaste black people, black leaders, and our black president, and laid the blame for all of the black community's ills on the president and civil rights leaders.
O’Reilly’s faux anger at so-called civil rights leaders is just another attempt to rile white conservative Americans who have no interest in the heavy lifting it will take to effect change in the black community.
O’Reilly is an example of the problem with many people who are supposedly interested in improving conditions in the black community: they are just talkers, not doers. They, like O'Reilly, don’t come into the black community and do anything. Furthermore, they seem totally oblivious to the people in the trenches who are doing good work every day.
O’Reilly has his head so far up his ass that he doesn’t realize that he has a platform that can be used for constructive dialogue that helps improve conditions in the black community. Rather than attacking the president, Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, O’Reilly should be using his considerable influence to promote organizations that are fighting the very conditions in the black community that he professes to abhor.
Marc Morial, the president and CEO of the National Urban League, tried to explain that to O’Reilly, however, O'Reilly didn’t seem to be familiar with either Morial or the organization. The National Urban League is over 100 years old, and puts out a comprehensive annual report on the state of black America; Morial is the former mayor of New Orleans. Morial told O’Reilly that he had missed an opportunity to advance the conversation, and invited O’Reilly to roll up his sleeves and come and do the work. O’Reilly, of course, declined with a roll of his eyes.
O’Reilly and his ilk are probably not aware of organizations like 100 Black Men of Atlanta. The 100 black men in question provide mentoring, education, and other services to young black people all over the country. He has not heard of Brotherhood/Sister Sol of New York City, a rites-of-passage program that supports cultural awareness, international and political study, and the development of critical thinking. I’m sure he hasn’t heard of Cure Violence of Chicago, an organization that uses advanced clinical and scientific methods to intervene in and curb gang violence. He has not showcased The BEST Academy, which provides college preparatory course work for young black men in business, science, engineering, and technology. And I am sure he is not aware of the Progressive National Baptist Convention or the Conference of National Black Churches, faith-based organizations working to improve health and living conditions in black communities.
O’Reilly also turned his vitriol on entertainers, most notably rappers, that hurt the situation. But he neglected to identify entertainers that are helping. He didn’t talk about Chicago's Kanye West Foundation, which promotes literacy and fights against dropout rates. He didn’t profile Wade’s World Foundation, an organization started by NBA star Dwayne Wade that promotes the education of children and concentrates on literacy, health, and fatherhood. He missed out on Magic Johnson’s Bridgescape academies, 16 schools in six states that leverage technology to help dropouts and at-risk kids get their high school diplomas. O’Reilly has probably never heard of board-certified family practice and sports medicine physician Dr. Rani “The Hip Hop Doc” Whitfield, who uses music to educate young people about health issues. O'Reilly could also stand to learn about the Hip Hop Summit Youth Council, which is driving positive and constructive efforts to use hip hop to address crime, teen pregnancy, and gang violence.
O’Reilly said, “When you hear a pundit or politician saying we should have a, quote, 'conversation' about race, that means you are in for a sea of bloviating which will likely lead nowhere.”
Note to O’Reilly: You’re a pundit.