On the first day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a wonderful, graceful, and intelligent speech that spoke to the long arc of American history. She, the wife of the most powerful man on Earth, lives with her black family and husband in a building that was constructed by their African slave ancestors. Whatever one thinks of the country's relative progress along the color line, Michelle Obama's statement did a wonderful job of highlighting the complicated continuities of race and history in the United States.
Of course, Fox News personality, professional bigot, and liar Bill O'Reilly chose to "educate" Michelle Obama about the history of the White House and its connections to slave labor.
According to O'Reilly the black slaves who built the White House did not have it all that hard or difficult. Plus, they were well fed!
It is not a surprise the O'Reilly, like other conservatives, would white wash American history and rewrite its narrative to fit his ignorant and myopic framework.
His ideas are likely drawn from fantasies drawn from the movie and book Gone with the Wind and from the Lost Cause ideology.
As a child, O'Reilly like many millions of Americans probably watched the documentary The Plantation System in Southern Life:
He may have also laughed at enjoyed Al Jolson's song Going to Heaven on a Mule:
Unfortunately, ignorant ideas such as O'Reilly's still have a powerful influence in America life where too many (white) folks still believe that slavery was a "benign" social system and how freedom "ruined" black people's character.
Why do these zombie ideas about race and slavery still survive in America (and elsewhere)? Do you think Bill O'Reilly actually believes these things or does he just try to be as obnoxious and bigoted as possible because that is what his audience wants?