On Thursday’s edition of The O’Reilly Factor, its host made some disturbing remarks on the economic disparity between blacks and white in the United States. Fox News‘ Bill O’Reilly and PBS’ Tavis Smiley clashed over the topic and tied it into how Democrats and Republicans will court minority votes. While Smiley contended that “white privilege” and a lack of congressional compassion are issues the GOP has to overcome ahead of the midterm elections, The Fox host said African Americans are largely responsible for their own demise.
Watch Video Above: “Bill O’Reilly: ‘The White Republican Power Structure Is Afraid of Black Americans'”
Bill O’Reilly and Tavis Smiley sparred over the sensitive topic of race relations that tends to surface with regularity when issues, amendments, initiatives and candidates vying for public office are in full-on campaign mode. That said, with mere days ahead before voters go to the polls, which could greatly impact the balance of power in the House and Senate, the two television personalities opened a dialogue about race.
Tavis detailed what he believes are reasons why lawmakers on each side of the aisle will have difficulty courting the black vote for upcoming elections and primaries. Democrats, he believes, take blacks for granted, and assume decisions are made at the polls along color lines. Republicans, on the other hand, simply continue to “ignore” their African American constituency. Smiley says the GOP is simply indifferent towards blacks in general.
“I think they’re more intimidated than uncaring,” O’Reilly retorted.
“Intimidated by what?” Smiley asked, with a look of confusion. “Are Black folks scary?”
“No, no. The white Republican power structure is afraid of Black Americans. They don’t know how to treat them, how to speak to them, they don’t know anything about the culture, and they don’t want to be called a racist bigot, so they stay away,” O’Reilly responded.
“But why does that make you scared, as opposed to being interested in understanding, embracing,” asked Tavis Smiley, before Bill O’Reilly cut in and said the GOP establishment simply doesn’t believe the effort Smiley accuses them of lacking is “worth the trouble.” The Fox host then bolstered his claim by implying he has firsthand knowledge from his contacts and inner-circle.
The two went on to clash about Smiley’s claim of “white privilege” as being the power Caucasians exercise over African Americans and other minorities. And then, the most stunning moments in the exchange was when the Fox News host suggested that the black household should bear responsibility for their own economic plight. He counters Smiley’s argument and insists that the “disintegration” of the black family household and a lack of supervision given to kids are the leading causes behind the lack of social mobility.
Some media sources characterize O’Reilly’s statements as racist and bigoted. Ironically, Smiley didn’t press him on that assertion. Check out the video above and share your comments on the segment.