O’Reilly as a Brother’s Keeper Misses the Mark

O’Reilly as a Brother’s Keeper Misses the Mark

“The plan is to combine federal resources with private funds from major corporations to help the kids. Now, I was invited to the announcement and I was happy to attend. The initiative is very well- intentioned but some specific things must be done.” ~ O’Reilly, 27 Feb 2014

BILL O’REILLY IS AN INTERESTING FIGURE.  As a conservative, I think he is by far one of the more sane ones who exist as a political pundit.  Just in case you didn’t know, Mr. O’Reilly attended the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, looking like a man — a conservative man, mind you — of open ears.

O’Reilly opened up his show seemingly energized by this liberal President, full of ideas.  First and foremost I will say it speaks well of O’Reilly that he AGREES with the President’s home front initiative.  Being that he’s a talking head on Fox News and there’s a ton of people who ONLY watch Fox News, perhaps his word on the matter would illuminate those who are in the dark in regards to black plight, no pun intended.

“First, you’ve got to teach children at risk to read. If that takes one-on-one tutoring, that’s what has to happen. Two, you have to provide mentors to individual children that the teachers pinpoint, who lack guidance at home. There should be a volunteer program for mentors in every city and town in this country.”

While reading IS fundamental I don’t know whether to be offended by the assumption that folks can’t read, or flat out agree being that I’ve been a bookworm my entire life.  I’ll have to agree regardless of slant.  I also vehemently agree that there should be volunteer programs for mentors in every city and town in our nation.  For a conservative who usually runs on the straw argument of people wanting “free stuff” — it’s interesting to hear of him support “volunteer work”.

“Three, high profile Americans including the President and First Lady must go on television and the Net to warn young people having babies outside of marriage and bringing children into this world without resources is cruel… It’s cruel.”

I may disagree with his means stating the first lady should flat out attack teenage/out of wedlock pregnancy, but I fully support the notion that it’s “cruel” to bring children in this world without adequate resources.  But again, this gets interesting being that this is a conservative head talking about bringing children in this world.

“It has to be a campaign, a persuasion so young Americans wise up. Also, there has to be peer pressure not to get pregnant unless you are in a stable situation. Are we all understanding that? Right now there is no peer pressure. That has to change.”

While I’m not sure precisely where on the sliding scale of the abortion debate he places, the conservative argument towards children being born is firmly grounded on “gift of God” arguments, many times including pregnancy from via rape.  Essentially their “gift of God” arguments become runaway train logic.  If a GOP/conservative politician/pundit would argue that a rape pregnancy is a gift of god, then what argument they have in stating having children without resources is cruel?  This is not saying O’Reilly is a hypocrite here, it’s just interesting to actually find a conservative that function autonomous in thought from the conservative masses.  Overall I agree, but unlike this conservative hero I’m not a right-wing fetus advocate.

“Fourth, the initiative has to get local business people to hire kids for summer jobs and internships, children must know about the work place and what is expected there.”

Full Agreement.  I love to see everyone get behind this one.  Next.

“And finally American law enforcement has to engage children at risk to convince them they are not the enemy.”

Let’s get one thing straight — I always had a good amount of respect for O’Reilly. He may say stupid things half the time, but he’s not exactly like Hannity, Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. He seems more objective.  He seems reachable; like you can talk sense into him if you bring the facts to the table.

I’m not sure if this is a psychological slip or he said it on purpose, but this short nineteen-word sentence speaks measures: it indicates a conscious knowledge of police brutality, police wannabes, social discrimination, afrophobia, and racist police practices.  When I saw the video and this graced my ear, My jaw dropped to the floor. I couldn’t believe a conservative/GOP prominent talking head actually said this.  The conservative platform of choice on this subject is denial.  He didn’t deny it.  I was floored.  Out of all the dingbats who rant and rave blaming the victim, this guy (in the most gentle, non-incriminating way possible) just illustrated working knowledge of black plight as it exists.  Could it be possible that Bill O’Reilly is actually a socially competent man in regards to the black community, ready to jump at the president’s call as a Brother’s Keeper?

“If those five things are part of the My Brother’s Keeper’s initiative I can guarantee you America will begin to turn the terrible situation around.”

Agreed.  But after that, this is where Bill O’Reilly begins to shit the bed.

The newly volunteered Brother Keeper Bill then brought an Obama adviser on as a guest and completely illustrated that he needs to do his homework on American sociology and hip-hop music/culture in general.  He needs to put KRS-One and De La Soul on speed dial.  Bill O’Reilly then begins to speak on “those with the hats on backwards,” those “gangstas”.  He then proceeds to name Jay-Z and Kanye West — YES, Kanye West — as gangsta rappers.  It was like he had his right hand hidden from plain sight for a second, reached from off the screen and began holding the idiotball.  I was totally shocked.

But should I be?  This is the same man years ago who also thought Common — yes, THAT Common — was a gangsta thug rapper, and he had issue with him being invited to the White House for a poet gathering. Of course this lapse in judgement quickly resulted in him getting sonned by Jon Stewart in a swift debate.

Anyway, Kanye as far as highly successful rappers go, is FAR from being a gangsta rapper. Kanye West is many things delusional, many things annoying, but far from a gangster. It’s categorically absurd to label West as a gangster rapper; this is the guy who made Jesus Walks. This is the guy who got laughed out by Dame Dash (who sadly, is the butt of many jokes now) because he WASN’T gangsta. While he may rap about placing bills on a stripper’s walkway, going to strip clubs is not a “thug rapper’s only” club. Gangsters are not the only ones who drink and love women.

Jay-Z on the other hand, sold drugs before and rapped about that before. It may surprise you Bill and conservatives alike but you’d have a hard time finding drugs on Jay-Z now, for he is an entrepreneur now, handling a multitude of businesses. Jay-Z now owns the reflection of a REFORMED criminal fellow, which should be the focus Bill O’Reilly highlights, not his associated past that he’s so far from. As an old hip-hop maxim goes: “It’s not about where you from, it’s about where you at”.

While finding major flaw in O’Reilly’s means of operating as a Brother’s Keeper, I will point out that I do want my rappers to talk more about prolific or sociopolitical realisms.   I DO want rappers to abandon the word nigger in their rhymes.  I highly doubt that out of a 13 track album, it’s difficult to squeeze realist/prolific and motivational-elevation songs in the midst of club bangers. It’s been done before; Macklemore did it recently, and got rewarded for it handsomely.  In the end, O’Reilly’s war of rappers is just as ill-fated (and illogical) as the current war on drugs; attacking the little man at the end and not the institutionalized power that perpetuates it, is futile.  Any war strategist worth his weight should know this by now.  If O’Reilly was really competent in approaching the flaw in rap music, he would approach, debate, and anathematize record company executives and their respective A&Rs, not the rappers.  And that’s the bigger picture.

So overall, I love to see O’Reilly as a Brother’s Keeper.  I invite him and more like him.  But he has to do some backbreaking research before he begins rolling up his sleeves.

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