To watch "The Talking Points Memo" click here.

Hi.  I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.  Bad advice for Black Americans.  That is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo .

This week, President Bush came out against racial preferences in college admissions and job hirings, while Jesse Jackson said that Mr. Bush actively wants to keep African-Americans from prospering and that the USA owes blacks reparations for slavery and preferences in hiring and college admissions. 

Of course, who you agree with depends on your ideology.  But let's try to inject a little fairness into the debate.  I believe we are all Americans and we should not be evaluated by the color of our skin, in any capacity.  Therefore, I support a federal law that would prohibit colleges and businesses from even asking about skin color.  Making decisions in the marketplace based on a person's ethnicity is flat-out racism and un-American. 

However, a person's background should be taken into consideration, especially by colleges.  If I'm a college admissions director, I look at the family income of the applicant.  If that applicant comes from a poor family and has achieved some success in high school, that applicant automatically gets a huge bump up.  Likewise, in the hiring world, if there's a job that requires an understanding of a certain ethnic group, of course I'm going to look to that group.  And if a small company has achieved growth on a high skill level, I am going to give that small company ever consideration. 

As an employer and an academic, I'm looking for motivated people who have overcome obstacles.  Those criteria are fair.  But just because your ancestors suffered under slavery doesn't mean that I or my business owes you anything.  Every ethnic group in the world has suffered tyranny.  And while Native Americans and blacks have suffered the most in America, liberal guilt is going to not help them out in the year 2003. 

In fact, if Americans are forced to pay reparations, the racial backlash would be tremendous against blacks.  That backlash would fuel bigotry and divide the country.  But Jesse Jackson doesn't care.  He wants the country divided.  The only thing he has to offer is the promise of entitlements to a poor constituency. 

Jackson's demands are even insulting to blacks.  He is implying that they need preferential help to succeed.  They don't.  Black Americans, generally speaking, are just as competent as white Americans.  And the census of the year 2000 proves it.  If black Americans live in a stable home, they earn nearly what white Americans earn. 

Now, social injustice must be fought with justice, not preference.  The government must treat all American citizens the same, if the Constitution is to be upheld.  Education, self-reliance and personal discipline are the keys to success, no matter what color you are.  When was the last time you heard Jackson preach that message?  More later. 

And that's The Memo .

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" ...

The Arts & Entertainment [aka A & E] cable channel does a biography program that's usually pretty interesting, but that may change this coming Sunday, January 19, at 8:00 p.m.  That's because they're doing a biography of me, your humble correspondent.

Now I've seen it, and all I can say is that my childhood pictures are frightening and ridiculous.  So look away.

Also, my new column on how Eminem and his fellow thug rappers can cause poverty is now posted on billoreilly.com.  The column's getting a lot of attention.  Some people -- oh, you're crazy, but, you know, read it and think about it.  You might want to check it out.

Also, there's some kind of newsletter that billoreilly.com's putting out.  I'm not sure what it is, but everybody loves it.  And I wish they would give me a copy of this newsletter so I could see it.

But if you go to billoreilly.com, they'll tell you all about the newsletter and the Eminem column and -- and they have pictures of the bio already posted on the Web site, billoreilly.com.

— You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET on the Fox News Channel. Send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com