Appearing as a panel member on the Sunday, July 28, Melissa Harris-Perry show, MSNBC political analyst Michael Eric Dyson declared that, when FNC host Bill O'Reilly dined at Sylvia's restaurant in 2007, he was "surprised that black people don't throw bananas at each other or swing from trees."
His attack on O'Reilly was the latest example of MSNBC personalities reviving a 2007 smear against O'Reilly claiming that the FNC host was surprised that patrons at a predominantly black restaurant in Harlem behaved in a civilized manner when, in reality, O'Reilly was criticizing the media for its negative portrayal of African-Americans, and was using his visit to the restaurant to contrast the media characterization with the reality he had observed.
After host Harris-Perry showed a clip of O'Reilly's commentary on race issues from last week, Dyson began his response:
You know, what's interesting to me, why is it that when we say we want to have a conversation on race, you want to have a conversation on blackness? You don't want to have a conversation on race. You don't want to have a conversation on white privilege, on conscious bias. You don't want to talk about the collective world we've made black, brown, red, yellow, and white people. You want to lecture black people. And, by the way, Mr. O'Reilly, did you not hear, even though a lot of us disagree, did you not hear President Obama tell Morehouse College, "No excuse-making"?
The MSNBC analyst soon added:
The point is, how can white Americans, like Mr. O'Reilly, ignore the context when Mr. Obama has lectured endlessly and tirelessly for African-American people? And, beyond that, Jesse Jackson and Alvin Poussaint in the 1970s had a book called Why Blacks Kill Blacks. So please don't pretend that African-American people have not been on this case.
But this is what we know: White on white crime is a devastation in America like so-called black on black crime. It's not black or white on white crime. It's proximity murder. People are killed where they live. So we have to talk about that in a broader sense. And guess what. The cameras don't show up in Chicago like they show up in Newtown and Aurora. All we're asking for is equal attention paid to crises at a time of enormous distress for our vulnerable children to be assisted.
So, Mr. O'Reilly, I'd love to have that conversation about protecting yourself behind white picket fences and Fox News and having digital courage. Come in the streets where you went to Sylvia's and you were surprised that black people don't throw bananas at each other or swing from trees.