Blacks Are People Too Bill

Usually I ignore Bill O’Reilly. The man has absolutely no integrity or shame; and, like Rush Limbaugh, makes his money by appealing to the worse elements of Human nature. But I had to take pause at his comments about dining at Sylvia’s with Al Sharpton recently when he said:

“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."

Gee, thanks Boss, er, I mean Bill—glad to see that we fit your idea of civilization.

While his quotes mistake his conscious ignorance of African-American society it’s worth looking a moment at how he conveys his views on race in America; because, for the most part, it’s the way that the white mainstream press also looks at African-Americans. Eric Duggans over at Huffpo seems to be right on the money when he says:

“I think these comments are typical of O'Reilly's technique. Too smart to personally use an epithet in the way Don Imus finally did, he instead turns rap culture into a straw man used to represent all or most of black America. Then, he's free to tee off on the stereotypical excesses of THAT culture, rather than talk about real, live black people with all their contradictions intact.”

And O’Reilly isn’t the only one. On September 25, Hip-Hop went to Capital Hill to discuss lyrics in Hip-Hop music—a defacto defense of “degratory” language used by some of its artists. Now I’m not going to talk about what occurred in that conference because, overall, it doesn’t matter. Hip-Hop and the country has been bambozzled by the O’Reilly media into falling into their trap, eagerly accepting that ‘Straw Man” status that Duggan descibes. By stepping underneath the Congressional spotlight, these Hip-Hop artists and moguls have accepted two things, which they may or may not want to accept. The first is that their lyrics are representative of African-Americans, and second, that their lyrics are something to be ashamed of, and need defending. When Hip-Hop artists are thrown into that position, the white establishment is happy because not only does Hip-Hop become a part of that establishment (much like how anyone who is arrested becomes part of the system), but it becomes a tool of the establishment through their defensive stance. Don’t get tricked, this is all distraction. It’s a trap. While Bill O’Reilly suddenly discovers that black people eat with knives and forks and that makes news, and while David Banner and Master P debate the N-word on capitol hill at the tax payers expense (oh yes, you pay for this in congressional salaries) a war goes on, racism continues, people die for lack of health care, and homelessness rises. But hey, at least little white boys won’t be calling each other ‘nigga’.

If you ask me the best thing Hip-Hop could have done was stood outside of Congress and, as one, gave the huge white buildling the middle finger, and then hit the lab. After all, what could possibly happen? Is Congress going to ban Hip-Hop? The music we love and their associated businesses, are a multi-million, if not a billion, dollar a year industry. Do you think Congress is going to shut that down? Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t because ultimately the establishment will kowtow to their prophet Adam Smith and their God of Capitalism. That’s why America will always have drugs and pornography. If it makes money people might talk shit about it, might abhor it, and maybe even make it illegal, but a demand will always breed a supply. Instead of bowing to the system, Hip-Hop needs to remember that it’s at its best when it remains daring, audacious, and always out of the box.

The Wolf runs a blog on political matters at His first novel, The Intellectual Prostitute, will be dropping this Fall.