Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly has been on a tear this week ranting on the high rate of “Black on Black” violence and out of wedlock birthrates in African American communities. All of which he simplistically attributes to the “disintegration of the Black nuclear family” making it clear that O’Reilly is no expert on socio-ethnic issues. The reality is that “poverty” and not race or single mothers or the break-down of the African-American family is the cause of urban violence. This writer would ask Bill O’Reilly if the break-up of the Black family is not caused by poverty as he suggests but it’s the other way around, then what is the cause? Is he suggesting that the break-down of the African-American family or out of wedlock babies or Black on Black crime comes from some sort of genetic predisposition of race. It’s absolute illogical nonsense.
Moreover, the African-American community certainly doesn’t need some out of touch blowhard on Fox News lecturing them on out of wedlock birthrates – particularly when he uses his platform to rally against sex education in schools and teen access to birth control and safe abortions. Nor do they need O’Reilly throwing out all these stats on violence and black teens if he’s not willing to also discuss some of the underlying causes like, yes, stricter parenting, along with the need for better housing, summer work programs, better schools, after-school programs, and an end to disparate rates of incarceration for things like minor drug offenses. If Bill O’Reilly really wants to contribute to the discussion he should use his platform not to criticize Al Sharpton or Professor Michael Eric Dyson who are well-respected figures in Black communities but aim his ire at the politicans who won’t put in place policies aimed at reducing poverty. Policies that would ultimately be effective in violence prevention.
America needs policies like more investment in our schools and good teachers to improve educational attainment for poor students, Black or any other race. Investment in education will ultimately bring down the rates of incarceration in impoverished communities and will result in increased income potential for its residents. As the community’s income increases the rate of violent offenses and incarcerations will begin decreasing. Poor communities also need crucial state and federal policies so kids don’t go to school hungry. Fully funding nutritional programs like Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is crucial. Raising the minimum wage is also crucial in fighting poverty. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead.
O’Reilly and his ilk at Fox all need a reality check when it comes to race issues. They continue to live in a Fox News bubble where stark realities like unequal drug possession sentences given to black offenders as compared to white offenders doesn’t exist, where voter suppression attempts by the Republican Party doesn’t exist, and where unnarmed black teens walking down a street minding their business are profiled and then shot doesn’t exist. Bill O’Reilly would be doing himself and his network a favor and refrain from commenting any further on an issue he doesn’t fully understand or can relate to. Oh but wait, it’s Fox News.