Why You Should Watch Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly Fight Over White Privilege

October 27th 2014

Lindsay Haskell

Earlier this week, Jon Stewart invited Fox News host Bill O'Reilly onto "The Daily Show" to debate the existence and prevalence of white privilege. While Stewart maintained that white privilege is alive and well in present day America, O'Reilly argued that white privilege, in fact, does not exist. 

In between snide comments and sarcastic banter, the two television personalities came to heads over the idea that African Americans are still subjugated in America. Bill O'Reilly stated to the audience, "That was then, this is now ... maybe you haven't figured out that there is no more slavery, there is no more Jim Crow."

Jon Stewart argued that although slavery and Jim Crow has been abolished, "the residual effects of that systemic subjugation exists today," to which Bill O'Reilly responded with what would turn out to be his mantra for the night, "America is now a place where if you work hard, get educated, and are an honest person, you can succeed. That's what should be put out there, not all this other stuff."

Jon Stewart pointed out the mass incarcerations in the United States, with black people making up 60% of the prison population, despite only constituting 30% of the total population. Specifically in terms of nonviolent drug offenses, African Americans are arrested at higher rates than white people, despite white people being more likely to abuse drugs. As Jon Stewart's guest the following night, director of the Equal Justice Initiative, law professor at NYU, and author Bryan Stevenson noted, one in three black males are expected to go prison at some point in their life.

Bill O'Reilly continued to claim that white privilege, "doesn't exist to any extent that individuals are kept back because of their color or promoted because of their color ... You think I'm sitting here because I'm white? What are you, a moron? I'm sitting here because I'm obnoxious, not because I'm white."

And while the two did not touch on the fact that there only six African-American CEO's in Fortune 500 Companies and that a recent study found that a black male with a degree has the same chance of getting a job as a white high school drop out, they certainly found plenty of other details to butt heads about.

Watch the full clip here: