With Black People It’s Either-Or

Why is that when positive references are made regarding Black Americans, our accomplishments, or our contributions to society, certain people feel the need to add the proviso (condition) “they didn’t do it alone,” but when negative references are made about Black Americans the underlying caveat (condition) is that the grouping is reserved exclusively for Black Americans?

Case in point—

On the surface Bill O’Reilly’s “Tip of the Day” has the appearance of an affirming — if not neutral—historical nugget, but in fact he implies that the First Lady Michelle Obama asserted the notion that only Blacks built the White House (which she did not) and that the record needed to be set straight (which it didn’t). What’s laughable is that anyone with common sense would conclude that only Blacks built the White House OR that that’s what she intended to convey. The other thing that makes his “Tip of the Day” unsettling is his emphasis that slaves were well fed and had decent lodging as if that justified slave labor.

Can you imagine being the bread winner for your family (already living in much less than adequate conditions) and getting ripped from your family, shipped off to another city to perform manual labor for years (till the project was completed or until you died, whichever came first) and that your only compensation was room and board because your “owner” was paid for sweat of your brow?

Slavery is just as wrong then as it is now, no matter who romanticizes it. But I’ll give O’Reilly half credit for attempting to inform his audience … albeit speciously.

Attempts to undermine or diminish the accomplishments of others to elevate one’s own standing should be relegated to kindergarteners (and there only until they’ve been taught better). The strategy never works and ultimately reveals the perpetrator’s feeble attempt at one-upmanship.

3 thoughts on “With Black People It’s Either-Or”

  1. Amy Ritscher says:

    Tip of the Day: Do not listen to anything Bill O’Reilly says. He’s an idiot and a ‘hater.’ Same with anything on Fox. I know that this is not responding to what you’re trying to convey, but I just don’t think they are worth your time and energy.

    Honestly, I found Obama’s speech so refreshing and positive that I found myself feeling good about our country. What a powerful feeling to believe we are all part of a team/country that wants to move forward and do good in the world for all people. I wish more leaders would focus and the positive. It’s something we all need to hear — especially now.

    1. Clay Rivers says:

      Amy, I found the First Lady’s speech, and that of the President, deeply inspiring. In fact, that’s what moved me to openly discuss politics in my writing. I think the country has lost its sense of “e pluribus unum.” Granted, I have my preferences, as do others, but I hope to move people away from the vitriol and over to the civil. Thanks for youpr comment and I hope you’ll swing by more often.

  2. Shar says:

    Interesting, he says “….and immigrants” to make an unnecessary point and then goes on to cancel it out with the comment on how the country was made up of all immigrants. I beg to disagree. People brought into the country against their will and the indigenous native tribes do not fall under the definition of immigrant. Michelle spoke to us with the idea that we have some intelligence and know history. Bill acted like we are all idiots and this was a lesson. An unnecessary one.

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