IN AN astounding interview on Fox News Channel, Valeria Jarrett sat across from Bill O’Reilly who pontificated that President Obama needs to get to the “gangsta rappers” like Jay-Z, claimed kids don’t know who Colin Powell is in the next breath, then made a request for First Lady Michelle Obama to come on his show and tell girls, “You teenage girls, you stop having sex. You stop getting pregnant.”
Valerie Jarrett couldn’t keep a straight face on that one. “It’s a great pitch to have her come on Fox,” was her comment after she chuckled.
President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative was the impetus for Jarrett talking with O’Reilly. The message that the President sent in this amazing outreach, which is intended to last well beyond his presidency, was important because Barack Obama shared where he came from and how lives change as we each learn.
From the transcript of yesterday’s event announcing My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama:
And when it was my turn, I explained to them when I was their age, I was a lot like them. I didn’t have a dad in the house. And I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realized at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.
And I remember when I was saying this, Christian, you may remember this — after I was finished, the guy sitting next to me said, “Are you talking about you?” I said, “yes.”
Yet Bill O’Reilly thought he had more to say about young disadvantaged males than Barack Obama.
“Get down to them,” O’Reilly urged, saying “you’re not getting gritty enough.”
O’Reilly’s concern about teenage girls and sex leaves out a lot, including the boys who are equally responsible for having unprotected sex.
The other proven fact that has come out in studies recently is that teenage girls feel the boys they’re involved with aren’t worth gambling their future on. That divorce is very likely if they marry a boy who doesn’t have a financial foundation. Many young teen girls feeling they’re actually better off without irresponsible boys.
Another issue with female teens is that they don’t see a future for themselves, with motherhood a way of garnering respect they wouldn’t otherwise engender.
Bill O’Reilly’s passion about teen pregnancy ignores so many factors, but blaming Jay-Z, who is married to Beyonce, a female artist who has been at the forefront of telling girls don’t have sex or children until you’re married. O’Reilly giving no credit to Kanye West either for being engaged to Kim Kardashian, as he provides for his daughter as well.
Never has Bill O’Reilly sounded more out of touch or in a generation that could never reach kids.
Which brings us to the one important and very obvious point Bill O’Reilly never once considered: The teens that need to be reached are not watching his show.
The Task Force will work across executive departments and agencies to:
Assess and suggest improvements to Federal policies, regulations, and programs that apply to boys and young men of color.
Create an Administration-wide “What Works” online portal to disseminate programs and practices that improve outcomes for boys and young men of color, while promoting incentives for private and public entities to develop and adopt strategies that have been proven to be effective.
Develop a comprehensive public website, to be maintained by the Department of Education, that will assess, on an ongoing basis, critical indicators of life outcomes for boys and young men of color in absolute and relative terms.
Recommend to the President means for ensuring this effort is sustained for years to come within government and across public and private sectors.