Donald Trump passes along Bill O'Reilly's race-baiting about ethnicity and violent crime
When will Donald Trump do something that finally forces NBC to cut its ties with the offensively prejudiced reality TV star?
This morning, Trump added to his portfolio of race-based insults, citing figures provided by Fox News Channel anchor Bill O’Reilly as proof that “the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and Hispanics.”
“We must stop being so politicially correct,” he tweeted. “Must tell it like it is.”
His first tweet on the subject said this: "According to Bill O'Reilly, 80% of all the shootings in New York City are blacks-if you add Hispanics, that figure goes to 98%. 1% white.”
Indeed, O’Reilly did reference that statistic Tuesday during a panel discussion about violence in a Philadelphia school on his O’Reilly Factor show, noting “In New York City, 80 percent of all the shootings in the nation's largest town are blacks. If you add Hispanic shooters, 98 percent of all the shootings in New York City are minority, less than one percent are white. So you're seeing not only violence in the schools, but then it translates out into the streets almost exclusively from the minority precincts.”
O’Reilly seemed to be referencing a report from the New York City Police Department titled “Crime and Enforcement Activity in New York City.” Tabulating crimes in New York City by race, listing shootings suspects as black 74.7% of the time, 21.9% were Hispanic, and 2.7% were white.
Of course, New York City’s population is a bit more diverse than the nation; 25% black, 27.5% Hispanic, 2.1% multiethnic and 44.6% white. Also, these are crime suspects, not those who have been convicted of any crime, and their race was likely determined by police, with no guarantee of total accuracy.
One expert suggested police released the figures to show why their controversial stop-and-frisk policy so often targets people of color. But some experts say police create animosity in communities with an aggressive stop-and-frisk policy, which make it less likely law enforcement can get information from residents.
Still, what was most troubling was the linking of race to Philadelphia’s school violence in O’Reilly’s show with no context, data or explanation. What exactly do shooting rates in New York City have to do with incidents of violence in Philadelphia, where no statistics were mentioned?
Where does poverty come into play? Are the shootings connected to gang violence?
None of those open questions kept Trump from tweeting, seemingly out of the blue, about O’Reilly’s figures.
Suddenly, New York’s figures become “our major cities” and violent crime becomes a black and Hispanic problem. It’s also likely true that a overwhelming amount of white collar crime in New York is committed by white people, but does that tell us anything about solving the problem?
There is no doubt that violent crime is a serious problem in communities of color. But connecting it to race in such a blunt and unfair fashion seems more about blaming certain kinds of people than solving the problem.
As always, it remains puzzling that NBC continues to offer a platform to someone so willing to pass along prejudice disguised as political speech.
Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.