One of the richest spectacles in the Trent Lott meltdown was watching the vanguard of racial tolerance suddenly occupied by people who under normal circumstances never miss a chance to point out that blacks account for 30% of crime statistics, are over-represented in prison, under-represented in college, and so on and so forth. So consider this statistic, which somehow you never happen to hear from the same sources:
Plenty of critics have suggested that there's a direct correlation between gangsta rap and crime—it glamorizes and normalizes murder, misogyny, and drug-dealing, and so it ultimately causes these things as well. And crime statistics provide a sympathetic backdrop for such theories. "African-Americans are 13 percent of the population but account for 30 percent of all the arrests, according to the FBI," O'Reilly reported to his audience a few years ago. (06/22/99)
But there's another statistic that generally gets less play in the media: black overrepresentation in the armed forces. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, blacks make up 29% of the U.S. Army—and come to think of it, loyalty, bravery, and self-defense are common themes in gangsta rap. But does anyone ever accuse gangsta rappers of inciting a patriotic desire to serve one's country?
This is from Soundbitten's detailed biopsy of Bill O'Reilly's war on hip-hop. This is the O'Reilly opus Greg Beato has been working toward since he covered the skirmish between O'Reilly and Ludacris (the one where O'Reilly named would-be Nobelist Chubby Checker as a rapper). Highlights in this piece include O'Reilly's admission that he's never heard of C. Delores Tucker, his fondness for decapitation rocker Alice Cooper, his obliviousness to rap's spectactular capitalist achievements, and his truly perverse objections to Serena Williams.