Loyal wmtc reader and news source James sent me two random notes from the Can You Believe Anyone Is So Stupid Department. Both are related to race relations in TGNOTFOTE.
First, from Oliver Willis (yet another terrific blog completely despoiled with advertising), quoting a chat in The Washington Post, about the situation in Jena, Louisiana:
When did nooses become racist symbols? When I was a kid we'd always make nooses in scout camp in Virginia to "string up the rustlers." It was a Western symbol with roots in all the Western movies we grew up with -- something dangerous that knot-tiers could make, but always about the Old West. Later in high school depressed friends would make them for what you'd now call "Goth" culture, but back then it was more Alice Cooper. About five years ago an African American friend said that nooses are "always about lynching." I never thought that my entire life and it's totally news to me. Is this a symbol with strong meaning in the South?
What can you say? Really. What can you say. Note this person presumably grew up in Virginia. And he wonders when nooses became racist symbols.
Perhaps it was when black Americans were living in a constant state of terrorism, when tens of thousands of Americans of African descent were murdered by their countrymen, while their white neighbours attended their executions in a picnic atmosphere, buying souvenir postcards, while their own government turned a blind eye and did nothing to protect them? Perhaps then?
It's tempting to chalk this up to one exceptional idiot, but I think it's an illustration of the quality of the US education system.
We turn from the quality of US education to the quality of the media in that great country.
From the good folks at Media Matters:
Discussing his recent dinner with Rev. Al Sharpton at the Harlem restaurant Sylvia's, Bill O'Reilly reported that he "couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship." O'Reilly added: "There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.'"
James sent me the quote with commentary from The Plank, a New Republic blog:
Other surprises from Bill O'Reilly's trip to Sylvia's:
* Chairs and tables were sturdy and four-legged.
* Napkins already on the table, leaving no need for them to be special-ordered.
* Menu actually printed on paper, suggesting widespread literacy of clientele, rather than selections being sung to him by kindly old black man playing the banjo as he'd expected.
* Meal served by waitstaff in a customary appetizer-entree-dessert order, and not out of a trough.
* Meatloaf made of ground beef, not ground welfare checks.
* No need to pay with food stamps--credit cards and U.S currency accepted.
* Money was collected through traditional handing over of a bill, rather than mugging.
* Widespread use of knives, forks, spoons.
It's easy to laugh at Bill O'Reilly, since he's a clown. But he's also a principal news source for millions of Americans. More from Media Matters on Bill O'Reilly's enlightened views on his fellow Americans.