Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly Debate Whether or Not “White Privilege” is Real
We’ve discussed the concept of White Privilege before and it’s truly a complex issue. The idea is best applied when examining society-at-large, and can get trickier when the focus is narrowed to the individual. For example, those arguing against the idea ask incredulously how a white child from Appalachia is more privileged than a child from an affluent black family. However, at the macro level that White Privilege exists is almost undeniable, specifically in terms of law enforcement.
Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly from Fox News discussed this issue last night on O’Reilly’s show, framing the debate about whether or not White Privilege is “real.” He opened with a segment where a producer went to protests in NYC against the killings of Eric Garner (strangled by police for selling loose cigarettes) and Mike Brown (the unarmed teenager whose death sparked the Ferguson protests). The unseen producer asked the attendants – in a loud place, where his question easily could be misunderstood – if the officers involved should be convicted without a trial. Most black respondents said “Yes,” with the only “No” coming from a white supporter.
In this case, one could argue that many poor, black people are convicted without a fair trial, because of limited access to legal representation and “nuisance bail,” which can keep them in jail awaiting trial longer than the sentence would be for their supposed crime. Yet, instead, what they were trying to do was paint the police protesters’ distrust in the judicial system as irrational. Of course also not mentioned, is that Gardner, Brown, and hundreds of others are (essentially) sentenced to die by the police without any kind of trial or consideration of their rights.
Kelly, a former lawyer, took the position of defending the idea of White Privilege and quoted a series of statistics about how likelihood of poverty, violence at the hands of police, and incarceration are disproportionately high for black Americans. Kelly also points out that Attorney General Eric Holder – who O’Reilly believed should inspire confidence in the black community because he is black – and the Department of Justice “was cited for misconduct in an investigation against cops in New Orleans.”
However, both seemed to agree that the protests were excessive and offered a deference to police in the arguments and language that makes the case for White Privilege better than any stats could do.