THE BLOG

Bill O'Reilly's Throwing a Lynching Party

02/23/2008 12:34 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I'm sick to death of people like FOX News host, Bill
O'Reilly, and his ilk thinking that he can use a
racial slur against a black woman
who could be the
next First Lady of the United States, give a
half-assed apology
and not be taken to task and called
on his crap.

This week O'Reilly gave the following response to a
caller on his radio show who was making
unsubstantiated negative charges against presidential
candidate Barack Obama's wife, Michelle Obama:

"And I don't want to go on a lynching party against
Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts,
that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's
how she really feels -- that America is a bad country
or a flawed nation, whatever -- then that's legit.
We'll track it down."

What the hell? If it's "legit," you're going to
"track it down?" And then what do you plan to do?

How dare this white man with a microphone and the
trust of the public think that in 2008, he can still
put the words "lynch and party" together in the same
sentence with reference to a black woman; in this
case, Michelle Obama? I don't care how you "spin it"
in the "no spin zone," that statement in and of itself
is racist, unacceptable and inappropriate on every
level.

O'Reilly claims his comments were taken out of
context. Please don't insult my intelligence while
you're insulting me. I've read the comments and heard
them delivered in O'Reilly's own voice; and there is
no right context that exists. So, his insincere
apology and "out-of-context" excuse is not going to
cut it with me.

And just so we're clear, this has nothing to do with
the 2008 presidential election, me being a Democrat,
him claiming to be Independent while talking
Republican, the liberal media or a conservative point
of view. To the contrary, this is about crossing a
line in the sand that needs to be drawn based on
history, dignity, taste and truth.

Bill, I'm not sure of where you come from, but let me
tell you what the phrase "lynching party" conjures up
to me, a black woman born in North Carolina. Those
words depict the image of a group of white men who are
angry with the state of the own lives getting
together, drinking more than they need to
drink, lamenting how some black person has moved
forward (usually ahead of them in stature or dignity),
and had the audacity to think that they are equal.
These same men for years, instead of looking at what
changes, should and could make in their own lives
that might remove that bitterness born of perceived
privilege, these white men take all of that resentment
and anger and decide to get together and drag the
closest black person near them to their death by
hanging them from a tree -- usually after violent
beating, torturing and violating their human dignity.
Check your history books, because you don't need a
masters or a law degree from Harvard to know that is
what constitutes a "lynching party."

Imagine, Michelle and Barack Obama having the audacity
to think that they have the right to the American
dream, hopes, and ideals. O'Reilly must think to
himself: how dare they have the arrogance to think
they can stand in a front of this nation, challenge
the status quo and express the frustration of
millions? When this happens, the first thing that
comes to mind for O'Reilly and people like him is:
"it's time for a party."

Not so fast...don't order the rope just yet.

Would O'Reilly ever in a million years use this phrase
with reference to Elizabeth Edwards, Cindy McCain or
Judi Nathan? I mean, in all of the statements and
criticisms that were made about Judi Nathan, the
one-time mistress turned missus, of former
presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, I never heard
any talk of forming a lynch party because of something
she said or did.

So why is it that when you're referring to someone
who's African-American you must dig to a historical
place of pain, agony and death to symbolize your
feelings? Lynching is not a joke to off-handedly
throw around and it is not a metaphor that has a place
in political commentary; provocative or otherwise. I
admit that I come from a place of personal outrage
here having buried my 90 year-old grandfather last
year. This proud, amazing African-American man raised
his family and lived through the time when he had to
use separate water fountains, ride in the back of a
bus, take his wife on a date to the "colored section"
of a movie theater, and avert his eyes when a white
woman walked down the street for fear of what a white
man and his cronies might do if they felt the urge to
"party"; don't tell me that the phrase you chose, Mr.
O'Reilly, was taken out of context.

To add insult to injury, O'Reilly tried to "clarify"
his statements, by using the excuse that his comments
were reminiscent of Supreme Court Justice Clarence
Thomas' use of the term "high-tech lynching" during
his confirmation hearing. I reject that analogy. You
see Justice Thomas did mean to bring up the image of
lynching in its racist context. He was saying that
politics and the media were using a new technology to
do to him what had been done to black men for many
years -- hang him. Regardless of if you agreed with
Justice Thomas' premise or not, if in fact -- Bill
O'Reilly was referencing it -- the context becomes even
clearer.

What annoys me more than anything is that I get the
feeling that one of the reasons Bill O'Reilly made
this statement, thinking he could get away with it in
the first place, and then followed it up with a lame
apology in a half-hearted attempt to smooth any
ruffled feathers, is because he doesn't think that
black women will come out and go after him when he
goes after us. Well, he's dead wrong. Be clear Bill
O'Reilly: there will be no lynch party for that black
woman. And this black woman assures you that if you
come for her, you come for all of us.