In his ongoing quest to blame famous black people for perceived problems with America's black youth, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly dedicated an entire segment to Beyoncé and her "libertine" performances this week. His complaint? "She knows — this woman knows — that young girls are getting pregnant in the African-American community. Now it’s about 70 percent out of wedlock. She knows and doesn’t seem to care."
This kind of segment is O'Reilly's bread and butter. He starts with a montage of Bey's sexy videos, comically blurring out her butt in one of them (right). Then he brings on two women to discuss how Bey's sexuality is "harming" the children. Peggy Nance of Concerned Women for America agrees that Bey is a bad influence, but she can't quite get the names of her songs right. O'Reilly then refers to "cultural deficits" in "black precincts" as well as "poor white precincts and Hispanic precincts." He argues, "Beyoncé's part of that problem."
Of course, the teen pregnancy rate has dropped dramatically across all races in America in the past 20 years. The 70-percent figure O'Reilly refers to is technically correct — in 2010, 72 percent of black children were born to single mothers — but it refers to mothers of all ages, not just teens. Regardless, none of this has anything to do with Beyoncé. If anything, Beyoncé encourages young girls to get married before having children, with her music and by example. Bey married Jay Z when she was 27, and then had her baby some years later. Her entire new album is about how fun married sex is. She's going on tour with her husband this summer. None of this matters to O'Reilly, however.
Since he first interviewed rapper Cam'ron in 2003 about how hip-hop negatively influences black youth (you mad?), O'Reilly has taken every opportunity to complain that popular black figures are responsible for things like gun violence, drug crimes, and loose sexual mores. Recently, he asked a college basketball coach whether or not his players have been "coarsened" by "rap stuff" and "free drugs." When O'Reilly interviewed President Obama's advisor Valerie Jarrett this year, he asked her to get Obama to stop buddying up to rappers:
You're going to have to get people like Jay Z, like Kanye West, all of these gangsta rappers, to knock it off. ... You got to get where they live, all right? They had idolized these guys with the hats on backwards ... and the terrible rock — rap lyrics and the drugs and all of that. You got to get these guys. And I think President Obama can do it.
He will float arguments like this until the end of time. Unfortunately, O'Reilly's spent little time researching the famous people he criticizes, and even less time exploring the community problems he says they create.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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