Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!

Yes, Bill O’Reilly, there IS such a thing as White Privilege

Posted October 19th, 2014 by Tom

or: “There are none so blind as those who refuse to see”

StewartO'Reilly(Oct2014)Jon Stewart asked a simple question of Bill O’Reilly on The Daily Show, on October 15, 2014. “Here’s all I want from you today. I want you to admit that there is such a thing as White Privilege.”

Mr. O’Reilly responded, “There is not.”

He proceeded to spend the next 10 minutes explaining that slavery is over, Jim Crow is over, that was then, this was now, the most powerful man in the world is a black man, the most powerful woman in the world, Oprah Winfrey, is a black woman, and if you work hard, get educated, and are an honest person you can succeed…”

O’Reilly admitted to growing up in an all-white community, Levittown, in Long Island, NY, where World War II veterans – white veterans – were able to secure home loans through the G.I. Bill. Black veterans were not allowed to live in Levittown. O’Reilly acknowledged no residual disadvantages existing today for Black Americans as a result of conditions in existence six decades ago (let alone two centuries ago).

But as was pointed out in “This is what the legacy of ‘white privilege’ looks like in Bill O’Reilly’s hometown” in the Washington Post, Read the rest of this entry »

I Confess: The Obama “birther” controversy is all my fault…

Posted May 31st, 2012 by Tom

I remember the first time I walked into my literary agent’s office in New York City on March 2, 2007. The lobby was quite small. The walls were lined with book-filled shelves. A small table sat between two chairs in the corner where one particular book caught my eye. Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama, sat right there staring up at me.

I asked my agent about it. She told me that, sure enough, they represented Obama for his first book. And they represented me for my first book. Hmm, I thinks to myself, Obama was a big name in the news right then. He had just announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for President a few weeks earlier. Though the agency did not represent either President Obama or me for our second books, he and I will forever be tied together by that small literary thread (no matter that he won’t return my calls about offering up an endorsement quote for Gather at the Table, I still consider that bit of serendipity a positive sign for my future as an author).

Unless, of course, I got tangled up in this “birther” mess. I paid close attention when I read about the recent kerfuffle “The Donald” has once again “Trumped” up regarding Obama’s birth certificate. Doesn’t he have something better to do with his time? Somebody should fire that guy.

Well… I hate to admit it. I really hate to admit it. But it turns out Trump may be right after all. And when the media machine understands the full scope of this conspiracy, yours truly may finally merit my own secret FBI file. So I’ve decided to do what no one else seems willing to do: I confess.

I’m ready to face the consequences; to Meet the Press, if you will, to appear on all the big news shows from Rachel Maddow to Bill O’Reilly, from Good Morning America to The Daily Show. I’m willing to face the news icon I fear most: Stephen Colbert. I’m even prepared to do a joint press conference with President Obama in which we admit our joint complicity in a conspiracy to dupe America.

Here’s what happened. A promotional booklet produced by Obama’s and my literary agency included the statement that he was “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

Yes, this is absolutely, undeniably, in point of actual fact, true. This is the smoking gun the “birther” conspirators have been looking for. President Obama’s and my former literary agency, and by extension, he and I, must now take full responsibility.

The conservative website did the responsible thing and published a copy of the booklet. Trump turned up the volume on his “crazy” machine… er, sorry… I mean… Trump also did what any red-blooded American patriot would do and beat this dead horse just a few more times. And the news media, of course, is all over it.

I now humbly await that dreaded knock on the door from the FBI and/or the 60 Minutes news crew.

But wait! What is this? According to ABC News, Miriam Goderich, now a partner with Dystel & Goderich (in 1991 she was the agency assistant for Acton & Dystel – same agency, one changed partner) fact-checked the booklet. Aha! Gotcha! And what does Ms. Goderich have to say about the conspiracy of the century; the crime that will surely bring down the Obama Administration?

She says it was simply an error. “There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.”

A simple mistake? They missed one? Sort of the way that Mitt Romney’s folks missed one when he clinched the GOP nomination for President of “Amercia” yesterday? (I just ordered my “Dog Bless Amercia” bumper sticker… sorry, couldn’t resist). Well, folks, it appears the “birther” conspiracy is once again unraveling.

Oh, dang. You mean I won’t get caught up in this dastardly web after all? No FBI secret file? No Fox or MSNBC knocking down my door? Can I at least have a “Beer Summit” with the President and Trump to sort things out? Colbert? Can I at least get on The Colbert Report? No?

Well then, allow me to hop up and down indignantly on my high horse and bellow!

This whole issue is absurd!  It’s always been absurd! Worse yet, it’s racist! It’s the worst sort of political mud-slinging! The fact that right-wing conspiracy nuts keep harping on this got old a few years ago! The fact that news outlets continue to cover it is further proof of just how low they’ll stoop just to have an attention-getting headline! Shame on them all! Shame!!!

And the fact that an author who hardly anyone has heard of would try to connect himself to the whole conspiracy theory AND the President of the United States by the most tenuous of threads just to try to get more attention in advance of the publication of his next book?

Well, that’s just brilliant…

Red Tails: the film even George Lucas almost couldn’t make

Posted January 10th, 2012 by Tom

George Lucas, producer director of some of the most profitable films in Hollywood history (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc), has been working on Red Tails, an action-packed, special effects-laden World War II movie for 23 years. He paid for it himself. He figured a studio would eventually come in and pay for distribution and publicity. He showed it to all of them and no one would touch it.

Why? It’s the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, African American men who fought not only our enemies overseas but the culture of discrimination and oppression at home. Read the rest of this entry »

The Spirit Level: inequality is killing us

Posted November 7th, 2011 by Tom

Inequality — literally — is killing us.

In my post The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling! a few months back I expressed my frustration with the inability of those in positions of power in Washington, D.C. to compromise on our national debt, the deficit, the debt ceiling, tax loopholes, tax increases and budget cuts; not to mention jobs. Political power apparently takes precedence over everything that matters. The vast majority of Americans, the 99%, if you will, suffer the consequences. Those suffering the most are the most vulnerable: the poor, children, seniors, the unemployed, and far out of proportion to their percentage of the population: people of color.

I recently read one of the most important books on this subject I’ve ever encountered, The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Read the rest of this entry »

Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry