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Bill O’Reilly Says School Uniforms Tell Students “They’re Not In The Hood”

Reported by Priscilla - March 14, 2010 -

Bill O’Reilly mourns the demise of the "white, Christian male power structure." So while it’s indefensible, it’s understandable why this kind of guy would think that when black people are in restaurants they yell “give me my m-fing ice tea.” During last week’s “Culture Warrior” discussion of how the evil ACLU is weighing in on a school uniform debate, Bill made another comment that, while not racist, showed, as did his comment about African American table manners, that he might be a teensy bit racially insensitive. Unlike his doppelganger, Stephen Colbert, Bill O’Reilly does see color.

Never one to waste an opportunity to bash the ACLU, one of Bill’s “Culture Warrior” segments was about how the Massachusetts ACLU “objects” to school uniforms. Bill brought up his past experience as a teacher (from 1970 to 1972, at a Miami Catholic High School). He said that “school uniforms for public school students is a must because it sends a message you're not in the hood anymore.” According to Bill, uniforms allow the school to “exert its authority.” To his question of why the ACLU is doing this, Margaret Hoover said that the ACLU says that uniforms “repress the individualism of young children.” Bill, always eager to mock the ACLU, responded that “they're not able to wear a dirty T-shirt or jeans with the ripped knees and this represses?” Hoover then claimed that “the education movement in this country has absolutely embraced school uniforms.” Doing a little projecting, Bill asked if the ACLU is “misguided” to which Hoover said “can we use the word “loon” again.” (Hoover has been a little independent lately. I guess Bill is whipping her back into shape.) Former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson, did a little homily about how individuality “should be how you perform academically.” She said that uniforms are “more economical” and “it’s not a competition thing.” Hoover said that she recently saw a gaggle of girls in uniforms and they all had different tights and sweaters. Bill then “joked” that he he thinking about “having all our female contributors in uniforms here. "Factor" uniform, a big "F" on the thing.” (Now what would that uniform be, Bill? A red, white, and blue bikini?)

Comment: I wore uniforms for 12 years and didn’t have a problem. As Carlson said, they were inexpensive and made dressing for the day very easy. If we hadn’t had uniforms, the wealthy girls would have made the lives of those of us not in their cohort very difficult. But by the end of senior year, our blazers were pretty nasty and that made the act of burning them, at graduation, all the more satisfying – from both a symbolic and practical perspective. And the shortness of our skirts caused the nuns to call us Boccacio girls – I don’t know what that meant but was proud of the designation! But for Bill O’Reilly to immediately take the discussion to uniforms being necessary for inner city kids degrades those inner city youth who do take their studies seriously – regardless of their attire. Am I to understand that Bill sees uniforms as a way to discipline lower income youths? Bill didn’t point out why more affluent students would benefit from mandatory uniforms. Bill also didn’t point out that that the discussion about school uniforms is taking place in Worcester County Massachusetts – an area that is hardly “the hood.” (Median household income is $47,000 with minority population around 2%). Bill also didn’t note that the ACLU asserts that their position is in accordance with state law. Bill didn’t mention the comment of Ronal Madnik, retired teacher and local ACLU director, who said that “The ACLU believes that as long as a student’s appearance does not disrupt the educational process or constitute a threat to safety, it should be of no concern to the school, he explained.” He also mentioned that choice of student apparel should be influenced by parents – something Bill should be in agreement with. But when arguing for the necessity of school uniforms – which would, presumably be worn in all school districts, Bill references the “hood.” And this, I believe, is evidence of how Bill O’Reilly sees, in stark shades, color.