Donald Trump, Bill O’Reilly, white privilege and the normalization of sexual assault
Shaun King writes in the NY Daily News:
I say this all of the time, but it’s hard to know a moment in history when you’re in it. Sometimes it takes time — decades, generations even — to be able to reflect back on a moment or an era to realize just how truly significant it was.
Right now, we live in the age of the gross normalization of sexual assault and harassment — where you can, particularly if you are a rich white man, be accused of raping, groping, threatening or harassing women and still rise to the highest levels of government or media. Because we are in this moment, we have no sincere idea how this will impact society, but it is, without a doubt, detrimental to the safety and security of women in America and around the world.
Donald Trump, our duly elected President of the United States, who has been accused of sexual harassment or assault by more than a dozen women, just went to bat for Bill O’Reilly, the most popular conservative talking head in America, after it was revealed that O’Reilly and Fox News have paid out millions and millions of dollars to settle five sexual harassment lawsuits brought by women in his workplace.
O’Reilly has denied all of the allegations, saying he’s “vulnerable to lawsuits” just like “other prominent and controversial people.”
So, here we are. Two of the most well-known, influential men in the world have been accused of harassment by numerous women. It’s sick.
And at the root of it all is wealth, yes. Influence, yes. But also at the root of this is what it means to be wealthy, influential, and white in America.
To have such a long, ugly list of accusations and settlements, and still rise to the heights of power in spite of it all, is a uniquely white experience.
Imagine Barack Obama had been recorded, as Donald Trump was, saying that he forces himself on women he just met, kisses them without permission, and grabs them by their genitals because he’s famous and can get away with it. Imagine Obama was recorded saying that before he was elected President. You know, and I know, that would mean he wouldn’t be elected President. And here’s the thing — . . .