Juan Williams has a biting rebuttal for those critics calling him a "happy Negro" for defending Bill O'Reilly.
In case you missed it, Media Matters trumped up yet another controversy by accusing Bill O'Reilly of being racist for saying there was no difference in the behavior of patrons at a restaurant in Harlem than in other New York eateries.
This is, imo, a far more despicable smear than the recent Rush Limbaugh "phony soldiers" flap. At least in the case of Limbaugh, a plausible case can be made that he was talking about anti-war soldiers. But as Williams explains, no reasonable person would think O'Reilly was criticizing black people. During a discussion about the image rappers give black people, O'Reilly explained that real black people, the everyday person you meet on the street, is far different from the violent, potty-mouthed images projected in music, on television, and in movies.
So, O'Reilly says to me that the reality to black life is very different from the lowlife behavior glorified by the rappers. He told me he was at a restaurant in Harlem recently and there was no one shouting profanity, no one threatening people. Then he mentioned going to an Anita Baker concert with an audience that was half black, and in sharp contrast to the corrosive images on TV, well dressed and well behaved.
I joked with O'Reilly that for him, a guy from Long Island, a visit to Harlem was like a "foreign trip." That's when he brought up his grandma. He said she was prejudiced against black people because she knew no flesh-and-blood black folks but only the one-dimensional TV coverage of black criminals shooting each other and the rappers and comedians glorifying "gangsta" life and thug cool. He criticized his grandmother as irrational for being afraid of people she really did not know.
Williams defended O'Reilly's grandma as not being irrational, but being very rational. If the only images one has of a particular group is as criminals, then a person will logically come to the conclusion that those people are more violent than others. As Williams says,
The most pernicious damage being done by the twisted presentation of black life in pop culture is the self-destructive message being beamed into young, vulnerable black brains. Young black people, searching for affirmation of their racial identity, are minute by minute being sold on the cheap idea that they are authentically black only if they imitate the violent, threatening attitude of the rappers and use the gutter language coming from the minstrels on TV.
The lesson from the rappers and comedians is that any young brother or sister who is proud to be black has to treat education with indifference, dismiss love and marriage as the business of white people and dress like the rappers who dress like prisoners — no comb in the jail so they wear doo-rags all day, and no belts so their pants hang down around their butts.
In other words, the discussion was about how suc depictions and images damage the black community because it presents a terrible stereotype of black life for young people looking for their own identities.
That's a far cry from O'Reilly being a racist for noticing well-behaved black people in restaurants and at concerts. But it is just another example of the relentless lying and spinning Media Matters has gained a reputation for.
The fact is that Bill O'Reilly is right. Rappers in doo rags with their pants hanging off their asses don't resemble the black people I grew up with, nor the numerous black people I've worked with and been friends with through the years. The idea that acting like a thug should be emulated by any young people is more destructive for the children who fall prey to that way of thinking than to any white people who buy the stereotype. After all, it's the children who throw away their chance at education because they don't want to be seen as acting white who are hurt by a lack of education. It's the person who walks into a job interview with a doo rag on who leaves without the job.
If "acting white" means acting civilized (and I don't think it does), then I want all children to act white. Not because being white is superior, but because I want all children to have the best opportunities and options. Media Matters doesn't care about any of this, obviously. Their purpose is to smear every conservative (and O'Reilly is more libertarian than conservative) on the air in an attempt to discredit their views. It's a pity Media Matters isn't as concerned about the lies and spin of the left.
For defending O'Reilly, Williams has been branded a "happy Negro." We've seen this sort of thing before, right? Every black person who doesn't tow the victimhood line gets smeared as an Uncle Tom and just another lackey of the far right. It's amusing and sad when you realize that the left is as filled with racist stereotypes of what "good Negros" should think as the conservatives they vilify.
Powerline has video of Williams discussing the exchange.