Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly and White House Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett’s discussion on President Barack Obama’s new “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative veered into a jab at rappers and the so-called “gangsta” culture.
O’Reilly conceded that the president’s initiative could be helpful in closing the achievement gap for black youths, but he accused the Obama administration of missing the real things that could help like mentors for students and teaching children to read. He said Obama should tell children not to get pregnant out of marriage among other things he believes would help.
After O’Reilly named his list, he went on to bemoan the influence of ‘gangstas.’ He said the administration should “attack the fundamental disease” by getting “people like Jay Z, alright, Kanye West, all these gangster rappers to knock it off.”
Jarrett refused to take the bait, sticking to her position that young blacks do not lack for positive role models.
“What we showed today is that there is evidence out there of wonderful role models,” Jarrett said. “We have to take them to scale.”
“Are you just blowing off my ideas here?” O’Reilly asked at one point.
O’Reilly claimed that the initiative’s target boys could not possibly know who Colin Powell was, saying that they instead follow athletes and rappers.
“It’s the gangsta rappers, the athletes, it’s these tattoo guys… You got to get them in there to tell these kids that you’ve got to stop the disruptive behavior or you’re going to wind up in a morgue or in prison,” O’Reilly said.
“I think don’t underestimate those children,” Jarrett said, pointing out that the president and the first lady were “perfect” role models for today’s youth.
Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates www.criminalu.co, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at [email protected]