Oh boy. We've long been aware that there is no room for irony in the vacuum of cable news, but Bill O'Reilly's segment last night on White Privilege™ was really something special. It doesn't exist, the man says! A lie perpetrated by a society of humans too goddamn lazy to overcome the disadvantages they are born into and most importantly: Bill O'Reilly himself.
The segment, just under three minutes, traces a tricky argument about the qualities needed to succeed "in the free marketplace." They include: a good education, strong moral character, overcoming adversity. Yes. OK. Good. These are great values for any human being to aspire to. But he also attempts—citing employment and education statistics—to neutralize white privilege by arguing that, actually, Asians are more privileged:
Asian Americans also tend to keep their families intact. Just 13 percent of Asian children live in single parent homes compared to a whopping 55 percent for blacks and 21 percent for whites. So, there you go. That is why Asian Americans, who often have to overcome a language barrier, are succeeding far more than African-Americans and even more than white Americans. Their families are intact and education is paramount.
"So, do we have Asian privilege in America?" he asks. That's sort of missing the point, saying that white privilege cannot exist if another race is "more successful" than another, because it still pits one race against others. O'Reilly's right, though, that it's reductive and unhelpful to pin problems in American equality entirely on white privilege. But to stare into the camera and ignore the fact that it was that very white privilege that allows him to say so, on his own television show, is just moronic.