Earlier today, Fox news ultra conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly appeared on air and was shown a clip of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) saying the following about the 45th POTUS Donald Trump: “We fight against this president and we point out how dangerous he is…We’re fighting for democracy. We’re fighting for America. We’re saying to those who say they’re patriotic, but they turn a blind eye to the destruction he is about to cause to this country. You are not nearly as patriotic as we are.”
Instead of attacking the substance of her political points, O’Reilly went low by saying: “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig…”
Audible exhale by Ol’ Hobbs…
O’Reilly’s comment does not shock me because at this stage in my life, I cannot be shocked by anything that any racist white man says because I have heard and seen it all. Verily, while former First Lady Michelle Obama popularized the comment last summer that “when they go low, we go high,” while a powerful quip, I am sorry Mrs Obama, but when racists like O’Reilly go low, I go lower by providing a rhetorical mirror for them to see their grotesque selves.
You see, black folks know the type of typical racist that O’Reilly is because his ilk have been around since the first European men began bartering, selling, kidnapping, beating, killing, and raping Africans during the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade.
Lest we forget the “raping” part…
At his core, O’Reilly’s brand of racism mixed with sexism is no different than the slave ship captains, crews and eventual slave owners in the Americas who considered black women “exotic” prey who existed solely for them to defile on demand. These ones denigrated black women through physical and mental violence on a daily basis. They introduced vile and pejorative words into the English lexicon such as “nappy headed” and “jigaboo” to make black women feel like something other than a woman, something more akin to the beasts of burden that were also auctioned off, such as livestock and mules. They called their black prey “bed wenches” so that the concept of love and compassion were never even contemplated by most enslaved black women who went to their graves knowing that their lighter skinned and thiner haired offspring were concieved during rapes.
So those hurtful terms and phrases, over time, served to completely screw up the midsets of generations of blacks who internalized the concept of “good hair” (thin like Europeans) vs “bad hair” (coarse and tightly curled like Africans, or like my own back before stress caused me to go bald).
But in the modern era, O’Reilly is not the first conservative racist to say something fucked up about black hair; in 2007, Don Imus was suspended from his show following his comments that the Rutgers women’s basketball team was comprised of “Nappy Headed Ho’s.” While “Ho” in and of itself is a derogatory diminutive of whore, what was lost among some non-blacks was the first part of Imus’ comment—“nappy headed”—-yep, that pejorative phrase that has deep and harmful meaning for black women who have lived with gut level concerns as to whether their hair in its natural state is fashionable or attractive
Even former First Lady Obama, despite her intelligence, class and physical beauty, was criticized ad nauseam by some who believed that she was not beautiful. Whether it was cartoons depicting her as “Aunt Jemima” or others making her look like an angry militant doing the “terrorist fist bump,” a quick Google search will reveal millions of comments, memes and Tweets where racist conservatives were and still are dissing Mrs Obama’s looks and hair.
Now, O’Reilly should be ashamed of himself for making such a nasty comment about a woman who is a high level politician, wife and mother; apologies most certainly were in order and while O’Reilly offered one, I am not accepting. Indeed, in an era in which the 45th POTUS not only was caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women and how his own daughter, Ivanka, was “hot,” the notion of shame from the self-styled purveyors of “family values” is gone with the wind. Men like 45 and O’Reilly are giddy about the fact that they will neither be held to account by their political followers or Fox News and other networks who enjoy the ratings upsurge that occurs as conservatives battle to see who can say the most openly racist or sexist shit on air or via social media. Still, Fox News should suspend O’Reilly and each and every company that advertises or promotes him should be boycotted to hit this troglodyte where it will hurt—in his pocketbook.