Editor's note: The following op-ed is based on a monologue delivered on the July 30, 2013 edition of Fox News Channel's "The Five" and an op-ed that appeared previously in Fox News Opinion.
Race has been the topic over the last couple weeks, but if we're going to do this right, if we're going to have an honest discussion among people who care about the problems inside the black community, we have to be dealing with honest brokers. Unfortunately, a lot of people in the so- called civil rights community are frauds, outright hucksters.
Two of the worst: civil rights activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton and Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson. Their goal: demonize white people, especially conservatives like Bill O'Reilly, so they don't have to deal with the real problems that continue to plague the black community. Making an older, conservative white guy like O'Reilly a boogie man is easy for these hustlers.
But do they ever confront the real problems and threats in the minority community? No.
High murder rates? How about that? What about high dropout rates? What about the breakdown of the family?
I bet you think I'm exaggerating. Well, here’s this from Michael Eric Dyson:
“Why is it that when we say we want to have a conversation on race, you want a conversation on blackness? You don't want to have a conversation on race. You don't want to have a conversation on white privilege, unconscious bias. You don't want to talk about the collective world we made as black, brown, red, yellow and white people. You want to lecture black people.
So, Mr. O'Reilly, I'd love to have that conversation about protecting yourself behind white picket fences and Fox News and having digital courage. Come in the streets where you went to Sylvia, and you were surprised that black people don't throw bananas at each other or swing from trees.”
Can you believe that? This is unbelievable on so many levels. But let me just start by saying this: Dyson is making the charge basically that O'Reilly is portraying black people as animals. And, of course, this never happened. This is not true.
In the whole episode (when he visited Sylvia's restaurant), which O'Reilly and I talked about on the radio, was going on about defeating racial stereotypes in this society. But that's not what Michael Eric Dyson wants to do here. He wants to hold up somehow that Bill O'Reilly is a racist and target of the conversation and therefore we should be about, somehow, going after Bill O'Reilly.
Well, who does that help? Let's think about that for a second. If this is a real conversation about helping people, if you truly love people, and want to help those in need, how does it help to go after conservatives, O'Reilly, white people, rich people? Let's go to the people who need help and give them help.
But that's not what Michael Eric Dyson is doing. Oh, no. When you start asking questions like well, are you doing anything to help the schools in the inner-city? No.
What about the carnage on black streets with kids shooting each other? No.
What about, you know, any of the issues attached to family breakdown, 70 percent of children born out of wedlock? What about that? No.
So what we're doing here is a huge distraction. Yes, there's legitimate rage in the black community over the Zimmerman verdict, but the idea that we have to use the power that exists in this country to help people who are in need in the black community, that is an ongoing and longer story and you can't pull away from that by making Bill O'Reilly into your target and somehow beating him up. That's craziness.
So what can we do, what should we do to start helping people who are in need in the African-American community today? I wrote about this in my book, “Enough” and recently in an opinion piece for FoxNews.com.
Here’s the message I would like to see expressed in America today. I think it would be especially powerful if it could come from the black man with the highest level of credibility in black America since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – President Obama.
1. Stay in school and graduate from the highest level of school – but absolutely, no excuses, graduate from high school.
2. Take a job and hold it, no matter what job, no matter if your friends put you down for ‘flipping burgers.’ Use the job to get experience, make contacts with business people, and build a resume.
3. Marry after you have finished your education and while you have a job.
And the final step is important for you and for the future of your family and your community:
4. Don’t have children until you are at least 21-years-old and married.
Imagine if President Obama repeated that message over and over, ignoring the phonies who want to focus only on “systemic” racism as the reason for high rates of poverty, involvement with crime, and incarceration among black men.
Imagine if the president delivered that message despite attempts to intimidate him by civil rights leaders.
Imagine if he decided to deliver that message and by-passed the so-called ‘racial experts’ and academics who prefer to look at America’s troubled racial history – slavery and legal segregation.
The answer is the president could make a difference in millions of lives and build a legacy on par with Dr. King.
Mr. President it is your move.
Juan Williams currently serves as a co-host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) The Five (weekdays 5-6PM/ET) and also appears as a political analyst on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace and Special Report with Bret Baier. Williams joined the network as a contributor in 1997.