By Ruth Manuel-Logan
News commentator Bill O’Reilly, host of the controversial Fox show “The O’Reilly Factor,” recently told his on-air guest Martin Luther King III (pictured), the eldest son of the slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that those protestors sporting the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts should instead be wearing ones with the slogan, “Don’t Get Pregnant At 14,” according to the New Pittsburg Courier.
Many folks across the nation are up in arms about the racial climate involving police and Blacks as African-American youths are being either killed or subjected to brutal bully tactics by the police. Most recently, the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have made many folks sit up and take notice at how differently police appear to treat minority youths vs. Caucasians.
Brown, a Black youth, was senselessly killed by White policeman Darren Wilson this past summer. Garner was a 43-year-old Black man whose life was snuffed out by White police officer Daniel Pantaleo who put him in a chokehold that did not allow him to breathe.
Before Garner passed away, he kept repeating how he could not breathe and this unfortunate situation gave birth to the now-popular slogan “I Can’t Breathe,” which has been sported on shirts by those who are in protest of police brutality toward minorities across this nation.
Both Wilson and Pantaleo walked away scot-free and were not indicted for the murders.
Meanwhile, O’Reilly, who is idolized by radical, spittle-spewing right wingers told King, “I don’t mind President Obama saying to LeBron James, ‘I’m with you,’” O’Reilly said regarding James wearing the aforementioned “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during a basketball game warm-up.
“But he also has to provide some leadership when it comes to the character of the Black community.”
Stating what he thinks President Obama should say, O’Reilly pointed out to King, “You know what, we fight the injustice, and we realize it’s there. But we love our country and applaud the progress we’ve made, and here’s a pathway to success: Don’t abandon your children. Don’t get pregnant at 14. Don’t allow your neighborhoods to deteriorate into free-fire zones. That is what the African-American community should have on their T-shirts,” he said. “Am I wrong?”
King’s responded, “I think that’s a part of it,” the civil rights activist replied. “As my dad said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ So, unfortunately, right now the nation is focused on one segment instead of the whole. So I think we should focus on the whole — so when we are addressing those issues [in the black community], we’re addressing other instances of police misconduct.”
Watch the O’Reilly/King interview here: