Fox News polemicist-in-chief Bill O'Reilly shares an interesting anecdote on his nationally syndicated radio show: On a recent trip to Harlem, he was delighted to discover "the blacks are well-dressed."
The trip uptown was taken with the Rev. Al Sharpton and the duo went to the legendary Sylvia's restaurant (Audio at Media Matters). The right-wing commentator "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." O'Reilly added: "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' "
O'Reilly also attended an Anita Baker concert at Radio City Music Hall and was also impressed with the lack of profanity, noting "the blacks were well-dressed. ... The band was excellent, but they were dressed in tuxedos, and this is what white America doesn't know, particularly people who don't have a lot of interaction with black Americans. They think that the culture is dominated by Twista, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg."
O'Reilly's obsession with defining rap music as the barometer of black "culture" is quite curious and dovetails with last week's discussion on Ja Rule's publicity stunt, and, the new BET special on hip-hop's influence on contemporary pop culture. He probably isn't aware that American Express, Time Warner, Boeing, Merrill Lynch, K-mart and Young & Rubicam are headed by black CEOs. That certainly isn't the norm, but, black families are more likely to have teachers, nurses, lawyers and civil servants in their families than rap music impresarios.
Some Background ...
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