Bill O’Reilly Attacks Civil Rights Leaders For Meddling In Ferguson; Ignores KKK, And Systemic Racism (VIDEOS)

Image Credit: guardianlv.com

Image Credit: guardianlv.com

On Saturday, civil rights leader, the Reverend Jesse Jackson was given a hero’s welcome, as he arrived in the city of Ferguson, Missouri. Jackson was greeted by a massive crowd of protesters, gathered in the streets to demand justice for 18 year old Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer early last week.

Here’s a short video clip of Jackson’s arrival, via youtube user kalinkafield.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOmpFlpMl6c]

Earlier in the day, Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly railed against Jackson’s appearance, calling him a racial agitator. O’Reilly claimed Jackson, along with the Reverend Al Sharpton, who is scheduled to make an appearance in Ferguson today, are only there to stir up trouble and provoke  further racial tension. What O’Reilly fails to address in any of his remarks is that the trouble in Ferguson is already stirred up. The obvious systemic racism that exists in Ferguson, Missouri, is now on display for all of the world to see.

In an interview with Fox, Jackson dismissed O’Reilly’s comments, focusing on the real issues that provoke racial tension and stir up violence: a legal, criminal, political and economic system that is stacked against minority citizens. He addressed the real cause of racial tensions, including systemic issues that prevent minority voters from electing anything resembling a representative government.

Ferguson is just one example out of many in the US. The population of Ferguson is nearly 70 percent black, yet the mayor is white, the police chief is white, five out of six members of the city council are white and 94 percent of the police force is white. The cities two municipal court judges are both white, as well.

The result is a criminal justice system that allows a nearly all white police force to brutally attack and even murder black people, and a court system that lets them get away with it. Ferguson’s systemic racism is all too obvious, when someone like Henry Davis can be arrested without cause, beaten at night in a jail cell, and later charged with the crime of getting blood on the officer’s uniforms. When perjury is obvious, and injuries are evident, but the judge says there’s nothing here to see, systemic racism is apparent.

Missing from the conversation, a report conducted just a year ago, that clearly established racial discrimination by the Ferguson police department. The state Attorney General’s office found that  92 percent of arrests made during traffic stops, were arrests of  black citizens. Also missing, the fact that the NAACP filed a federal lawsuit against the city’s police force less than a year ago, over racial disparity in law enforcement practices.

The economic conditions of the city tell a sad tale of a people whose economic power is all but invisible. Since the year 2000, the poverty rate in Ferguson has doubled. The average income in Ferguson is now more than $10,000 below the average income in the state, while the cost of living is the same as elsewhere in Missouri. Statistics show that this economic decline has impacted far more blacks than whites. The poverty rate for black citizens living in Ferguson, Missouri is more than 4 times that of white citizens living in the city.

The lack of economic power creates a lack of political power, especially in this era of Citizen’s United, a time when money equals power and speech. It means fewer black candidates running for office, fewer contributions pouring in to help elect the few who do choose to run. It means there’s little chance of overcoming Ferguson’s systemic racism, through political or economic forces. It also means that the cards are stacked heavily in favor of the minority white population, providing them with an overwhelming majority of the power.

Things could get even worse.  Republicans at the state level are proposing new, strict voter ID requirements, which could disenfranchise as many 220,000 minority voters. The bill has passed in the state house and is now awaiting action in the senate.

As civil rights leaders gathered in Ferguson this weekend, the KKK announced its intention to raise money for Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, in broad daylight, in front of at least four witnesses. Whether Wilson himself has ties to the KKK is not known at this time, but Missouri Klan leaders were quick to call Wilson a hero and praise him for killing the young man.

“He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place.”

While Bill O’Reilly lashed out at civil rights leaders, who have gone to Ferguson to expose and oppose the root of the problem, he had nothing to say about the response from Missouri’s KKK leaders. No blistering accusations that they are attempting to stir up racial tension in the city. No loud, obnoxious criticism of the KKK for rushing to defend an out of control police force, that used fatal force against unarmed citizen. O’Reilly prefers that narrative that the oppressed are responsible for their own oppression. He prefers to ignore the killing of someone else’s son, and focus instead on the bad black people, who don’t just sit down and shut up about it.

The sentiments expressed by O’Reilly and the leaders of O’Reilly’s beloved tea party sound remarkably similar to those expressed by the leaders of the Missouri KKK.

This week tea party leader Jesse Lee Peterson expressed his opinion on the US Constitution, which protects the right of every citizen  to be considered innocent, until proven guilty in a court of a law. Peterson made it clear that he thinks such rights should not apply to black people.

Using standard KKK language, Peterson referred to Brown as a ‘thug,’ claiming he had no parents in the home growing up.

“I just think that it’s a shame that, in America today, that criminals are given the benefit of the doubt – especially black criminals because white criminals are not – but black criminals are given the benefit of the doubt and the police officers are the suspects. I don’t know what has happened to my country.”

O’Reilly and his right wing counterparts push the same narrative and the same agenda as the KKK, which is exactly why you can’t expect to hear them criticize it.

It’s not just in O’Reilly’s verbal attacks on civil rights leaders, the name calling, the stereotyping, the faux outrage on behalf of the ‘poor oppressed white man’. It goes way beyond that. You can hear it daily on Faux News, where the ‘thug’ narrative is advanced on a nearly constant level. You hear it when O’Reilly talks about union thugs, Chicago thugs, black thugs, immigrant thugs… It’s the narrative that says that black America isn’t like white America, black America doesn’t deserve to have what white America has. The narrative that says black men are a threat to white people and black people are the greatest threat to  ‘traditional American society’  white American society.

Who’s really provoking racial tensions? Is it the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, speaking facts and calling out the violence and oppression of the dominant white power structure? Or is it the KKK, and those who are not so secretly pushing their agenda across the country, like the tea party and the right wing fanatics at Fox, that helped to create it?

The problems in Ferguson run deep and they didn’t just start with the shooting of Michael Brown. But Ferguson is symbolic of so many other American cities and towns. It’s symbolic of Flint and Detroit, where the right of black citizens to choose a representative government was taken away by right wing governor Rick Snyder.

It’s symbolic of Maricopa County, Arizona, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio has engaged in a racist vendetta against minority citizens for years.

It’s symbolic of King City, California, where more than half the police force was arrested by the FBI, after a federal investigation showed police were illegally impounding cars belonging to poor Hispanics citizens, and selling them for their own profit.

It’s symbolic of Valuncia County, Florida, where Trayvon Martin was gunned down in the street, and his killer, George Zimmerman, was allowed to go free, thanks to the state’s racist ‘Stand Your Ground Law.’ Like in Ferguson, other cases suggest systemic racism runs deep in Florida’s Valuncia County.

More and more it’s beginning to seem that Ferguson is symbolic of the United States, itself. As protests over the death of Michael Brown fill the streets of the Missouri city, far away, on another continent, the parents of Trayvon Martin and  another slain black teen, Jordan Davis, spoke at a meeting of the United Nations, ahead of this year’s Geneva Convention. The UN is scheduled to review US compliance with the International Convention On the Elimination of All Forms Of Racism, an agreement which was ratified by the US 20 years ago, in 1994.

The parents of both slain teens were given the chance to speak about the deaths of their children. They spoke  about impact of racism that, still permeates the political and legal systems in this country, decades after the civil rights amendment became law.

The voices of those who are speaking out against racism are not the problem. The voices of those who are trying to drag this country back to the days when men in white hoods terrorized black citizens through unimpeded violence and intimidation are the problem. Bill O’Reilly and his ilk, the hate mongers, the fear mongers, the deniers and the bold faced liars are the problem.

Here’s the video of Bill O’Reilly attacking Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, courtesy of Crooks And Liars.

Here’s Reverend Jesse Jackson’s response to O’Reilly’s comments. Who’s stirring up racial tensions again?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8HEVijOlSw]