The tweet was about a comment during an interview. During this interview, about strategies fighting drug traffic, O’Reilly expresses his belief that the man he is interviewing “look like a cocaine dealer”. Yeah, right…
This comment is rude, insulting, uncalled for, unnecessary, unhelpful, thoughtless, irresponsible and even destructive.
I believe in freedom of ideas, and expressing your beliefs, however flawed they might be. But a media platform should always be used responsibly.
I strongly believe that our thinking is greatly impacted by what we express and by what we listen to. I also believe that our choice of actions are greatly impacted by how other people see us, and how we see ourselves. So when O’Reilly reinforce his stereotype of a drug dealer, judging the appearance of this man, it confirms that stereotype in the thinking of others, and builds the grounds for unjust treatment. And that is serious.
The impact of one such statement may be small, but the common impact of all of us being more careful not to judge based on appearances and stereotypes, can certainly have a worth while impact on our society.
There may be a difference between saying someone looks like a drug dealer, and thinking of, or treating that person differently because of it. However, one often come accompanied by the other. Having people throw negative labels on you, based only on your outward appearance, could be very damaging for you, both psychologically and because it so often comes accompanied by unjust treatment.
Having people give you the benefit of the doubt, on the other hand, can very well be life changing for a person in a difficult junction in life.
Martin Luther King Jr. said:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
A short clip from the interview can be found here.