Analyzing race in America

Tina Nguyen reacts to comparing African American economic stats to those of Asian Americans


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 3, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Back of the Book" segment tonight, a follow up to my "Talking Points" memo on why some African Americans are failing in the market place. It's mostly about poor education, fractured families and a culture that doesn't prepare folks who compete in the competitive market place.

To make that point I compared the African-Americans to Asian Americans. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment for Asians, 4.5 percent. 11.4 percent for blacks. 5.3 for whites.

Out of wedlock births, 17 percent for Asians, 29 percent for whites, a whopping 72 percent for blacks. It's no question poverty is driven by lack of education, poor supervision of children and fractured families.

Listen now to a person who dissents from my analysts. Tina Nguyen, from the Website Mediaite. And you say?

TINA NGUYEN, MEDIAITE.COM EDITOR: I say that your assertion statistically is correct, but when you break it down from that large aggregate number it is completely different. While it's true that as a whole, the Asian American community has succeeded in your terms in terms of education and income, once you break that down among ethnic groups, it paints a very different picture.

O'REILLY: Yeah, but it doesn't really matter because the census bureau which is all of these groups are put together for, Hispanic Americans come from many, many different countries and cultures, right? But they are all Hispanic Americans. Now, the fact of the matter is that Asian Americans have succeeded in the U.S.A. better than any other minority group. Their per-capita income is higher. Their education is higher. Their family structure is more intact. So, I'm saying there is no white privilege. There must be Asian privilege, because the Asians are at the top of the chart, and the African-Americans are at the bottom of the chart.

NGUYEN: Right. But that's too high a level of distinction to make any sort of meaningful conclusion of that -- just like based on the actual Asian American statistics.

O'REILLY: Yes, and statistics tell the story.

NGUYEN: Statistics tell part of the story, Bill, but once you break down the statistics in my article, I make a distinction between people who emigrated to the United States for one reason, for instance--

O'REILLY: You can always make that -- look, for African-Americans you have Caribbean blacks, you have West African blacks, South African blacks.

NGUYEN: And if you look in the Census, the distinction is also there as well.

O'REILLY: That's right, but we're talking about an overall problem. And education is the key. To have a strong, stable home life that encourages education as in many, many Asian American homes, you have the kids have a big advantage. I am saying the culture, the gangsta rappers and all of this stuff that is permeating big time into the African-American precincts and especially the poorer ones is harming them, and they have to change the culture.

NGUYEN: At the same time, I think comparing that culture to Asian American culture is to use an overused cliche, but I think it fits in this case, it's comparing apples to oranges.

O'REILLY: We're all Americans. We are all Americans. And if you have a certain group that's prospering, you should learn from that group and what that group does well.

NGUYEN: But if you are assuming that African-Americans have a shared cultural value, and you look at the same with Asian Americans, why is it that a large percentage of the Asian population is not succeeding by the metrics that you provide?

O'REILLY: But they are succeeding.

NGUYEN: No, Cambodians--

O'REILLY: Per-capita income is way, way up among the whole group. You can always take individuals, some fail and some succeed.

NGUEYN: It's not individuals, though. You can actually break this down by ethnicity. For instance, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese Americans, they have college graduation rates, college graduation rates above 50 percent. However, if you look from -- at people who generally are refugees from Southeast Asian wars, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong, their college graduation rates plummet.

O'REILLY: Are lower.

NGUYEN: Much lower.

O'REILLY: But the aggregate you have to go with, because the groups that you mention that succeed, they have one thing in common. They keep the families together.

NGUYEN: Why is it that a huge segment of the Asian American population is not --

O'REILLY: It isn't huge, because the stats are so overwhelmingly successful, that's what I'm trying to get to you. Do you believe that culture is a poverty driver?

NGUYEN: I think that there are lots of factors playing into poverty.


NGUYEN: Home, absolutely.

O'REILLY: Out-of-wedlock birth.

NGUYEN: Absolutely.

O'REILLY: Okay. So I'm telling you that that's what has to change in the African-American community in order for it to rise up the way that Asian Americans have. We appreciate you coming in. Go ahead, last word.

NGUYEN: No, I don't believe that comparing Asian Americans to African- Americans makes any sort of meaningful.

O'REILLY: Okay. We respect that, but I have to go with the Census Bureau. Factor tip of the day.

NGUYEN: I respect you having me on this. (inaudible).

O'REILLY: Sure. Nice to see you.

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