Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Star Jones Reynolds responds to Bill O'Reilly

Below is Star Jones' informed and provocative response to Bill O'Reilly's
comment about 'having a lynching party for Michelle Obama if he finds
out that she truly has no pride in her country.'

Bill O'Reilly said: '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 is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever -
then that's legit. We'll track it down.'

Star said: 'I'm sick to death of people like Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, and his stupid
and ignorant thinking that he can use a racial slur against a black woman who
could be the next First Lady of the United States, and then give a half-assed
apology and not be taken to task and called on his crap. What the hell is 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 a
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 an
Independent while talking like a 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 their 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 they 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 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.'

Star Jones Reynolds

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