Why Aren't More African-Americans Speaking Out Against Gangsta Rappers Like Ludacris?

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, March 3, 2004.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In "The Factor" follow-up segment tonight, as we mentioned at the top of the program, Anheuser-Busch (search) has hired gangster rapper Ludacris (search), so I'm not doing business with that company.  Do you feel the same way?  Our billoreilly.com poll question asks, "Will you continue to do business with Anheuser-Busch now that it has hired Ludacris?"  We will give you the results of that poll question tomorrow.  About 30,000 of you have voted so far. -- A big poll.  And we're going to send those results to Anheuser-Busch.

Joining us today from Albany, New York, is Debra Dickerson (search), the author of the book "The End of Blackness."

You know, I don't hear an outcry, Ms. Dickerson, from the African-American community against people like Ludacris.  And they do so much damage.  I'm just stunned.  Why don't we hear an outcry against these people?

DEBRA DICKERSON, "THE END OF BLACKNESS" AUTHOR:  Well, at the risk of losing my "ghetto pass," let me say that the reason you don't hear an outcry, it's going on in kitchen tables and water coolers and across golf courses. But people don't want to talk about it, out in public because there's a sense that attacking rap is attacking black people. And as you know, the subtext is everything when it comes to the black/white issue.

I think it's very important, though, for somebody to extend an olive branch to say let's talk about this from a point of view of mutual concern and what's best for America and, certainly, what's best for the black community.

O'REILLY:  But here's what you have.

And I understand your racial thing because, every time I talk about this, I get branded a racist by the black DJs and, you know, all these people.

You've got the media -- the elite media, which is scared to death of the African-American community and will never try to help you.  They say they will, but they won't, all right.

Then you have African-Americans themselves, which you rightly point out are talking about it inside their homes, because who wants their kid to be carrying a Glock and selling crack, which is what Ludacris is pushing and glamorizing.

Who wants the...

DICKERSON:  Right, but...

O'REILLY:  What responsible parent wants that?

DICKERSON:  Well -- but what about white responsible parents?  Something like 75 percent...

O'REILLY:  Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

DICKERSON:  Something like 75 percent of this stuff is bought by white suburban teenagers.

O'REILLY:  But that's -- but the children most at risk for these are not white suburban teenagers, all right. The children most at risk are poor children of all colors who don't have supervision.

DICKERSON:  I would absolutely agree about that, but I don't think we should not pay attention to the 75 percent of white kids who are buying this stuff.

O'REILLY:  No, I think that...

DICKERSON:  ... but I think more...

O'REILLY:  ... most of those children have the resources to fend for themselves.

Now, look, St. Louis, Missouri, is the headquarters of Anheuser-Busch.

DICKERSON:  It's also my home town.

O'REILLY:  You go across the river to East St. Louis, Illinois, and you see a town that's devastated, run by drug gangs, who are listening to Ludacris and his pals all day long, and it seems to me that -- why does Bill O'Reilly have to do this?

DICKERSON:  Well, it's not...

O'REILLY:  Where are the people in saying that there's so much damage being done by these guys?  And everybody's going -- giving them a pass.

DICKERSON:  Well, I can actually -- I could send you a lot of links.  There are a lot of black people who are saying exactly what you're saying.

But I think the larger issue, Bill -- and I am frankly really glad to hear you saying what you're saying, to take the point of view of the damage that it does to the black community, and I don't think it's too hard to understand why we end up defending it.

I came on this show -- over the last couple of days finally -- and I realize I was trying to find a way to be Tariq Aziz.  I was trying to find a way to defend what I know to be indefensible just in the name of sort of racial solidarity.

But I think this is a moment -- Chuck D of Public Enemy said that rap is the black CNN.  I think 5 percent of it is.  The other 95 percent is the black psycho ward, and when you read these lyrics -- I spent the last couple of days doing that.  I was blown away by how -- aside from just how antisocial it is, how frightening and terrifying and the bravado and the fear of women that would be laughable, if it was not so deplorable.

O'REILLY:  I mean every...

DICKERSON:  So I think you have to look at...

O'REILLY:  ... indicator tells us...

DICKERSON:  ... the issues there and understand that, for Ludacris and those people, it's -- I'm sorry.  It's a minstrel show, and he's making money, but for the people...

O'REILLY:  He's making money.  And, you know, he's not as bad as Anheuser-Busch because this guy is exploiting, he's making money, Anheuser-Busch knows better.  They are the cynics because they are...

DICKERSON:  But, you know, Bill...

O'REILLY:  ... rewarding the bad behavior at the corporate level, and that's why we're taking action.

But I have one more question before I let you go, and you're -- you have a very fine book, and I think people should really check it out.  You basically are not going to solve any of these social problems in the inner cities -- and it's -- again, it doesn't matter what color -- until you start to demand some kind of standards of behavior, and, if this is the behavior that you tolerate, you're going to have chaos all day long.

I'll give you the last word.

DICKERSON:  Well, I think that's true within the black community, but if I -- I think that, if you're trying to move beyond black and white, this discussion about rap is a good time for people who are concerned to come together and sort of link hands symbolically and have some of these town hall meetings that you're talking about to move beyond...

O'REILLY:  Well, I'd like to see them.  If there are any town hall meetings going on, Ms. Dickerson, we'll cover them.  And we appreciate your point of view very much.

DICKERSON:  OK.  I'll hold you to that, Bill.


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