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“A SENSE OF VICTIMHOOD”
by Paul R. Hollrah, ©2013
(Aug. 3, 2013) — Although my wife and I are dedicated viewers of Fox News, we are not, and never have been, fans of Bill O’Reilly. I have always been able to overlook boastfulness and self-aggrandizement in sports figures and other celebrities, but only when the individual in question has what it takes to back up his/her claim to greatness. Muhammad Ali was such a man; Pete Rose was such a man… Bill O’Reilly is not.
In fact, I’ve often wondered why O’Reilly invites guests to appear on his nightly broadcast, The O’Reilly Factor. O’Reilly is so fond of the sound of his own voice that his guests… no matter how distinguished or renowned… find it difficult to get a word in edgewise. He asks questions and then proceeds to pontificate, belaboring his viewers with his own uninformed opinions.
O’Reilly never fails to remind us that, as the top-rated news and commentary show in all of cable television, The O’Reilly Factor attracts more viewers than his liberal competitors on CNN, CNBC, and MSNBC, combined. It is proof of nothing more than that conservatives can count among their numbers as many uninformed viewers as there are uninformed liberal viewers.
In an otherwise excellent and long overdue commentary on societal problems within the black community, O’Reilly recently stated, matter-of-factly, that the one person in America who did more than any other to help African-Americans escape the depths of poverty and discrimination was Robert F. Kennedy. Huh?? That statement is suggestive of nothing more than that an Irish Catholic from Long Island can be as unfamiliar with U.S. history as the most newly-arrived illegal alien, and a belief that a bottomless pit of money and lots of friends in the media can literally “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
Has O’Reilly not heard of Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, or the Republican Party? Has he not heard of the Emancipation Proclamation or the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution… all written, promoted, and passed by Republicans?
Has he not heard of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Freedmen Bureau Act of 1865, the Reconstruction Act of 1867, the Enforcement Act of 1870, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the Civil Rights Act of 1960, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or the Equal Employment Act of 1972? These are but a few of the landmark Republican civil rights initiatives that were apparently overlooked in O’Reilly’s formal education.
And finally, is O’Reilly not aware that, when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law… a public accommodations law identical to the Republican-sponsored Civil Rights Act of 1875, which was repealed by a Democrat-controlled Congress in 1894… he said, “I’ll have those n _ _ _ ers voting Democrat for the next 200 years”? O’Reilly’s civil rights icon, Bobby Kennedy, was Johnson’s attorney general. I don’t recall that he resigned in protest or that he was even offended by Johnson’s crude cynicism.
Nevertheless, O’Reilly largely redeemed himself in his July 22 Talking Points by taking Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the race-hustlers of the Congressional Black Caucus, and liberal white race-baiters out behind the woodshed for a well-deserved and long overdue ***-kicking… and he did it with anger and passion, characteristics that are rarely displayed by the current crop of Republican leaders.
Referring to Obama’s recent statement that the American people need to have a “conversation” about race and racial tensions, O’Reilly commented, “The sad truth is that from the President on down, our leadership has no clue, no clue at all about how to solve problems within the black community. And many are frightened to even broach the issue. That’s because race hustlers and the grievance industry have intimidated the so-called ‘conversation,’ turning any valid criticism of African-American culture into charges of racial bias.”
Shaking his finger at the TV screen, he said, “So many in power simply walk away, leaving millions of law-abiding African-Americans to pretty much fend for themselves in violent neighborhoods. You want racism? That’s racism. Thus, it is time for some straight talk, and I hope the President is listening tonight because we need him to lead on this issue…”
He went on to point out that young black men commit homicides at a rate ten times greater than whites and Hispanics combined, and that, “The reason there is so much violence and chaos in the black precincts is the disintegration of the African-American family.”
He said, “Right now, about 73 percent of all black babies are born out of wedlock. That drives poverty. And the lack of involved fathers leads to young boys growing up resentful and unsupervised.” He asked, “When was the last time you saw a public service ad telling young black girls to avoid becoming pregnant? Has President Obama done such an ad? How about Jackson or Sharpton? Has the Congressional Black Caucus demanded an ad like that? How about the PC pundits who work for NBC News?”
Throwing the argument back into the faces of black race-hustlers, he said, “White people don’t force black people to have babies out of wedlock. That’s a personal decision… So, raised without much structure, young black men often reject education and gravitate towards the street culture, drugs, hustling, gangs. Nobody forces them to do that; again, it is a personal decision.”
As expected, O’Reilly’s rant struck a nerve. But, an ad? Really! Relying on a public service announcement to convince young black girls not to make babies out of wedlock is about as dumb an idea as it is possible to conceive.
O’Reilly is fond of saying that he is a “simple man.” But if he thinks that a few public service announcements aimed at the hip-hop culture will have any impact at all on the plight of young blacks, then his self-deprecating description of himself is truer than even he might think. The problems within the black community are deep and multi-faceted… far more intractable than O’Reilly’s simple mind is capable of comprehending. Allow me to cite a personal experience.
I can say without fear of contradiction that no one ever went through college tougher than I did. With no high school preparation for the study of engineering… no mathematics, no chemistry, and no physics… I started my college career at age 25 with a monthly stipend of $130 from the Korean G.I. Bill. With a wife and two children to support, with no scholarship aid, and with no financial assistance from families, it was a tough row to hoe. At times when we had no food in the pantry and no money in our pockets for days at a time, we were able to borrow a potato or two and a few slices of bread from neighbors, all of which went to feed our children. When I graduated I was just over six feet tall and weighed 116 lbs.
Having had that experience, I decided during the 1960s to mentor some bright young black men and native Americans… young Vietnam veterans who were trying to decide what to do with the rest of their lives. To accomplish that end, I approached the head of the local U.S. Department of Labor’s On-the-Job training program, a War on Poverty agency, asking that she send me young men who had a good enough head on their shoulders to benefit from a college education.
My plan was to take them to one of the major colleges or state universities, have them tested to determine their aptitudes and abilities, help them fill out all the necessary enrollment forms, help them select their curriculum, help them find suitable housing, and help them find part-time jobs, if necessary. And when it was time to begin classes, I would load all of their stuff into my car, drive them to the college or the university, and move them in.
As I explained, by mentoring a group of young men in that way, we could inject some real purpose into the lives of young men who might otherwise find themselves drifting toward a life of poverty and underachievement, perhaps even a life of crime. I asked the War on Poverty official to send me as many candidates as she wished. All she had to do was to identify them and send them to me. I would take it from there. However, a year passed and no one knocked on my door, so I went back to the War on Poverty official and repeated my offer. It is now nearly fifty years later and I’m still waiting to hear that first knock on my door.
When I have tried to figure out why my offer was so coldly rejected, I’ve been forced to conclude that either the War on Poverty people did not want to see a conservative Republican show a better way to the American Dream, or the young minority men I sought to help were so ingrained with a sense of victimhood that wild horses could not have pulled them out of their ghetto mentalities and their economic lethargy. Perhaps it was both.
Where Bill O’Reilly is concerned, I suspect that he has made so much money in his career that he finds it impossible to relate to the problems of minorities. For O’Reilly, the question of black economic advancement is purely academic… a societal predicament that can be resolved with the purchase of a few preachy television ads. Nevertheless, he is to be commended for having the courage to open the “conversation” that Obama and his race-hustling friends say we must have.
Democratic leaders… black, white, and Hispanic… understand that the only way their party can exist is by continuing to convince minorities that they are victims.