Thursday, October 23, 2014

O'Reilly: OK, Jon Stewart Was Right About One Thing In 'White Privilege' Debate

Our first Levitt house on Pond Lane
looked just like this one
We grew up in Levittown, Bill O'Reilly and I.  We both went to Catholic high schools - he at Chaminade in Mineola, me at Brooklyn Prep.  Growing up in an all-white town I never spoke to a Black person until I was in high school.  In 1957 we moved to Massapequa. No racial covenants in the deeds but 100% white.  No accident, of course.
But there is an error in O'Reilly's concession.  The FHA did not include clauses requiring sales only to Caucasians in its terms for insuring home mortgages.  But the FHA did go along with racial red-lining.  In 1948 the Supreme Court declared racial restrictions in deeds to be unenforceable in Shelley v. Kraemer.  But private discrimination was not unlawful until 1968, the year after O'Reilly graduated from high school.  That year the Congress passed the Fair Housing Act.  That year in Jones v. Alfred Mayer Co. the Supreme Court declared in a case of "first impression"  that the long dormant Civil Rights Act of 1866 barred purely private discrimination in the sale of real estate, not just government enforcement of such agreements. Congress's power was rooted not in the 14th Amendment but in its power under the 13th Amendment to eliminate the effects of slavery. - gwc

O'Reilly: OK, Jon Stewart Was Right About One Thing In 'White Privilege' Debate

 "Fox News host Bill O'Reilly conceded on Wednesday night that comedian Jon Stewart was at least right about something during their debate about white privilege.

O'Reilly, a skeptic of the idea that white privilege even exists in modern America, faced off against the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" last week. During the debate, Stewart pointed out that O'Reilly's hometown of Levittown, N.Y., at one time didn't allow blacks to live there and was built as a racially segregated community.

 On Wednesday night, O'Reilly dissected the debate with guest and Fox senior correspondent Eric Shawn.

"Stewart is correct, Shawn, that blacks couldn't move into Levittown in 1950," O'Reilly said. "When did that change?"

"Well, he's correct because the federal government actually backed that," Shawn said. "The Federal Housing Administration had a covenant in the lease of the house that your parents owned that said that it could only be used by caucasians. That started to change in '54, '55 with some court cases."

 "Mmhmm," O'Reilly said.

"But still, Levittown, by 1960 out of 15,000 homes there were still only 15 owned by African Americans," Shawn said.

O'Reilly noted that the Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination against black people after 1968.

"So Stewart is right that there was a period of time but the mistake he makes is that there was some kind of privilege associated with living in Levittown," O'Reilly said. "He's making it out to be Bel Aire. Trust me, it was a good place to grow up because there were a lot of kids, but there wasn't any privilege involved in growing up there."

"And black on Long Island lived in places like Hempstead and Westbury," O'Reilly added. "Some of those neighborhoods were good and some of them weren't. But there was integration so we have to give Stewart props for history. Right. But white privilege extending out? Wrong.""

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