In his latest video, conservative blowhard Bill O’Reilly has gone from being a cranky commentator to full on alt-right talking head, spewing nonsense about how racial equality activists of the ‘80s and ‘90s were just “hustlers” in it for the money and how the left considers white people part of a “cabal” that LGBTQs and people of color want to put aside and “sweep out of power.”
Let’s take a closer look at what Bill O’Reilly said to dissect his meaning.
Bill O’Reilly says racial issues are “a new thing.”
For a long time skin color really wasn’t much of an issue. ‘80s and 90s, you didn’t hear a lot. Yeah, you always had your Farrakhans and your Sharptons. You always had those people: They were race hustlers — it was a money thing, an industry thing.
O’Reilly is deluded if he thinks Farrakhan and Sharpton represent the whole of racial justice activists during the end of the 20th century. Furthermore, there were a handful of race riots during the ‘80s and ‘90s. (The 1992 Rodney King riots, anyone?)
What O’Reilly really means is that for a long time skin color wasn’t so much an issue to people like him: wealthy, conservative white men who were largely in control of media and didn’t have to worry about racial justice activists clapping back via social media.
Bill O’Reilly calls progressive LGBTQ people and people of color “anti-white.”
But now whiteness has become the issue, whiteness. Alright, so if you’re a white American, you are part of a cabal that either consciously or unconsciously keeps minorities down. Therefore, that has to end and whiteness has to be put aside. That’s what the border’s all about. The open border people — and believe me, this is behind the movement in California and in the Democratic precincts — let everybody in, everybody in. That would diminish whiteness because minorities then would take over as they have in many parts of California.
Here O’Reilly dabbles in some none-too-subtle dog whistling by saying progressive racial equality activists see white people as a “cabal,” that is “a secret political clique or faction.” But that’s a gross and flat-out wrong oversimplification of nuanced progressive critiques on whiteness and white power that paints all non-white people as being “anti-white” instead of “anti-racist.”
Secondly, the so-called “open border” movement (itself a term used by the far right) is hardly a political force in America, let alone an organized, driving issue within California’s progressive political movement. By saying that racial justice advocates want “open borders” to “diminish whiteness,” O’Reilly is peddling an absurd conspiracy theory.
And following that up with “minorities then would take over as they have in many parts of California” … would take over what, exactly? And which parts of California? The specifics in his argument don’t matter because he isn’t making a real argument; he’s merely stoking racial tensions and making his white conservative viewers afraid that those who discuss border immigration reform or Democratic racial reforms is secretly “anti-white.” Gross.
Bill O’Reilly says the #MeToo movement is all about targeting white guys.
That’s what that’s all about. Getting whiteness out of power, particularly white men. So then the #MeToo movement, very closely aligned with the progressive left, very, very closely aligned. Get those white guys, get ‘em, get ‘em.
Here O’Reilly takes a swipe at #MeToo activists who have largely levied allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful white media figures. Guess who was one of those “white guys” taken down because of such allegations? Yep, Bill O’Reilly.
Bill O’Reilly thinks it’s absurd that stock photography perpetuates whiteness.
Now Michigan State Professor Riyad A. Shahjahan and a graduate student there named Annabelle Estera have put forth that, let me just quote it: the professors cite a review of websites that whiteness is not only evident in stock photos — pictures, alright? — but that whiteness was entangled with patriarchy, homonormativity [we think he means heteronormativity] — that is, a word used to describe instances of privilege outside of the LGBT community.
This is just true. Go ahead and do an image search for pretty much any topic — gay or not — and you will uncover images of white people, largely because photographers know that images of white people are considered the “default” for many publications, including many gay publications.
Even gay imagery promote an idealized brand of homonormativity in presenting mostly muscular, white, naked bodies over people of color, and many push marriage, matrimony, military and money as the best forms for gay life.
Meanwhile, women in stock photography are often sexualized or relegated to submissive roles. Yet again, this is not news to anyone who has ever used Google.
Bill O’Reilly believes anti-racists think whites oppress others just by breathing.
Alright, so, you’re seeing this almost every day. I’m telling you about this almost every day. That the white people, whether they know it or not, are oppressing and creating macroaggressions for the minority community.
O’Reilly would like to go back to a time when white people didn’t have to think about their role in a world with lots of racist policies threatening people of color, but the toothpaste is out of the tube.
We see the evidence of racist policies every day, in the rolling back of anti-racist voting protections, in the increased deportations of immigrants of color by the Trump administration, in the increased hate crimes against people of color amid Trump’s racist rhetoric and in the Trump administration’s desire to enhance prison sentencing for drug offenses and to promote for-profit prisons (which largely hurt communities of color).
O’Reilly is stoking white resentment by implying that queer people and POCs say whites are oppressive just by existing. This isn’t true. Rather, racial justice activists say that skin color affects us all. And if we all ignore our contributions to racism — or get fearfully angry at anti-racists as a threat, the way O’Reilly is encouraging — then the racial division continues and nothing improves.
Bill O’Reilly says progressive politics is about destroying whiteness and should be feared.
So the white people have to be swept out of power, and get them out — let the LGBTs and the minorities — they have to run the show. That’s what it’s all about, what this is all about. And they’re making strides like crazy.
O’Reilly is right that more candidates of color and LGBTQ people are running for office, largely in response to Trump. But it’s about creating an American society that reflects the country’s true diversity and multicultural values rather than just “sweeping white people out of power.”
If O’Reilly is threatened by that, it’s because he sees the world’s reality as a threat.