14 Racist Moments In Bill O'Reilly's "Chinatown" Segment That Proves Discrimination Is Alive And Flourishing
Ah, Bill O'Reilly! Sure, Roger Ailes is gone from Fox News, chased from his post by multiple allegations of sexual harassment and predatory behavior. But let nobody tell you that culture at the network has changed all that much. Case in point: The network can still slap together a blatantly racist video segment like nobody's business. For a prime example, you need look no further than Bill O'Reilly's The O'Reilly Factor, which sent on-camera interviewer Jesse Watters into the streets of New York City. In case you'd like to skip watching it entirely (I don't blame you), here are 14 racist moments from O'Reilly's Chinatown segment.
Rest assured, there are plenty to choose from. In this day and age, for those powerful white people who nonetheless have the self-awareness, respect, and natural reluctance to behave like racist fools, this sort of thing is hard to come by. There are plenty of people who don't have that level of awareness, however, which is how you end up with stuff like this.
Following a presidential debate that saw a number of disparaging references to China, O'Reilly presumably wanted a segment with some Chinese flair. However, as you'll soon see, there's a rather thin line between cultural flavor and racist stereotypes — a line that Watters and whoever edited together the package decided to run about a mile past.
So, how about a tally? Here are all the racist things about this segment.
- The stereotypical intro music, which might as well have been sitting in a computer folder somewhere with the title "Asia.wav."
- Watters asking a street vendor if his watches were "hot" — in other words, stolen — for no apparent reason.
- Captioning the words of a man who says he's supporting Trump, despite the fact that his English was perfectly comprehensible.
- Playing an old woman's hesitation (or reluctance, or confusion?) to answer a question about Trump's anti-China rhetoric for laughs, complete with a movie clip of a woman shouting "Speak!"
- Showing another man pensively chuckle as Trump is mentioned, then playing cricket noises to suggest he's mentally vacant. Watters then asks him if it's "the year of the dragon," because hey, Chinese guy!
- Asking a young woman if she plans to vote for Hillary "so China can keep ripping us off." So, you can check off allegations of dual-loyalty on your casual racism bingo card.
- Asking that same woman to "square that circle" about Trump's proposed border wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. She looked half-confused and half-irritated by this — a reference to the Great Wall of China, maybe? It's a little hard to follow. In any case, her vexed reaction was a much kinder reaction than deserved.
- Asking that same woman if "is everything made in China right now," then playing it for laughs when she says no, but can't think of an example (complete with a film clip of a man saying "I'm explaining it to you because you look nervous," a nice condescending touch).
- Asking another woman if China is "our friend or our enemy," and then asking if China can "take out North Korea" after she answers "friend."
- "Do they call Chinese food in China, just food?" A very hacky joke, although not half as offensive as some of the stuff on this list.
- Asking a random man if he knows karate.
- Staging a karate match, in which Watters shouts performatively as he's beaten up.
- Cutting away from a shot of two women laughing on the street to a clip of two scantily-clad Asian women laughing in an Austin Powers movie.
- Asking a man how to say "this is my world" in Chinese, butchering the pronunciation, then playing the man's irritated corrections for laughs. How dare he, right?
By my count, that's at least 14 racist moments, although maybe you detected some that flew over my head. Regardless, it's a rather startling thing to see on a cable news channel, and it's a good reminder that crude Asian stereotypes are still prevalent (and sometimes tolerated or even celebrated) in American and western media.
That this came from O'Reilly and Watters shouldn't come as much surprise, either — his segments tend to aim for the stereotypes and smears, like his derogatory, mocking piece on San Francisco's Gay Pride parade from a couple years back.
Image: The O'Reilly Factor/Fox News