Beck, O'Reilly afraid to speak their minds around African-Americans

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

On the February 5 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck explained to White Guilt (HarperCollins, May 2006) author Shelby Steele why he thinks he -- Beck -- doesn't "have a lot of African-American friends": "I think part of it is because I'm afraid that I would be in an open conversation, and I would say something that somebody would take wrong, and then it would be a nightmare."

Additionally, on the February 5 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, in a conversation about President Bush's description of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) as "articulate," host Bill O'Reilly told Temple University education professor Marc Lamont Hill: "Instead of black and white Americans coming together, white Americans are terrified. They're terrified. Now we can't even say you're articulate? We can't even give you guys compliments because they may be taken as condescension?" Later in the segment, after Hill said that "we live in a world where black intelligence is called into question even at the highest levels," O'Reilly asserted: "[Y]ou're generalizing. Do you know how often my intelligence is called into question, Doctor?" Hill replied: "I can't imagine why, Bill."

Think Progress also noted both discussions on its website.

From the February 5 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: You know, I -- Shelby, I don't know if anybody else in the audience -- oh, this is just going to be a blog nightmare over the next few days -- but let me just be honest and play my cards face up on the table.

I was thinking about this just last week. I don't have a lot of African-American friends, and I think part of it is because I'm afraid that I would be in an open conversation, and I would say something that somebody would take wrong, and then it would be a nightmare. Am I alone in feeling that?

From the February 5 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: I got to tell you, I got to tell you, President Bush is as surprised as I am that, when he said Senator Obama is articulate -- that was taken in a derogatory way.

I know the man, and I know -- I could see his delivery with [Fox News host Neil] Cavuto. There was no condescension.

Listen, I know what you're saying and I agree. There's a lot of condescension in the white establishment community toward black people in this country. It's true. It's true. And if he were to say, "Well, he's pretty articulate. Wow, I'm stunned," then you'd be right.

But you know, what's happening, and this -- let's strip it all away -- this is the "No Spin Zone."

HILL: Yeah, absolutely, I'm doing my best not to spin it --

O'REILLY: Instead of black and white Americans coming together, white Americans are terrified. They're terrified. Now we can't even say you're articulate? We can't even give you guys compliments because they may be taken as condescension?

HILL: But part of that -- Bill, part of that terror -- part of that terror comes from having to seriously confront issues of race and perhaps even racism. The fact of the matter is, we live in a world where black intelligence is called into question even at the highest levels.

So when someone like Barack Obama -- when it becomes noteworthy that he's able to clearly express his ideas, that is cause for people, particularly white people, to reassess the way they view not just Barack Obama but the larger masses of black people against which he is being compared.

O'REILLY: Yeah, well -- but you're generalizing. Do you know how often my intelligence is called into question, Doctor?

HILL: Oh, absolutely, but you're -- absolutely. And I can't imagine why.

O'REILLY: You know -- I mean, do I -- do I think --

HILL: I can't imagine why, Bill.

O'REILLY: Right. Come on!

HILL: But the difference is -- but the difference is your -- Bill, the difference is your intelligence does not have any bearing upon the way other whites are seen.

O'REILLY: Oh, I don't know about that.

HILL: Unfortunately, black intelligence is connected -- oh, absolutely. Bill, when I watch you on television, I don't say that all white people are condescending or all white people are uncivil or all white people talk over people. Not to say that you do those things. That's just an example.

But my point is with someone like Barack Obama, he represents something bigger than himself, and so when -- and it's not just Barack Obama. Every day, black people who have achieved certain levels of education or [inaudible], are often called articulate.

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