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Domestic Violence didn't start with a boom box

So I was channel surfing Monday night and came across Bill O'Reilly discussing with two guests the saga of pop singers Rihanna and Chris Brown.

The topic was a survey of teenagers, in which nearly half the respondents blamed Rihanna for the beating Brown allegedly gave her several weeks ago.

O'Reilly then said this about why any sane person could even dream of blaming Rihanna for getting assaulted: "And I'm chalking this up to hip-hop rap music. That's what I'm chalking this up to."

He went on to blame rap and hip-hop culture as the root cause for some kids having a blame-the-victim attitude toward domestic violence.

Now, I know it makes some of you cringe when I say from time to time that I agreed with O'Reilly on something.

But relax. This definitely isn't one of those times.

Men were beating their girlfriends and wives before anyone ever heard of rap. When cavemen were pounding on stones with sticks in the first drum solos, there was probably domestic assault.

I can recall when I was a teenager in the late '80s asking my mom, who was doing laundry, if she had seen my white wife beater. I didn't mean my neighbor with the truck on cinder blocks in his front yard. I meant my ribbed, tank top T-shirt.

I didn't get that T-shirt nickname from a rhyme. I got that from a buddy, who said he got it from Mad Mag.

Country music has featured songs describing domestic abuse for decades. There hasn't been a major run on wife/girlfriend beating by country fans as a result...not that I've heard of.

O'Reilly's allegation is a dangerous one. What's next? Rock music made me wear tight jeans that cut off my blood flow? Country made me drink too much? Old Rocky movies made me want to slur my words and beat the crap out of a rival? Rambo made me want to sneak into Vietnam and shoot the place up? Watching Congress on C-Span made me want to become a crook?


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Did Alfred E. Newman wear wife beaters?

O'Reilly's a jerk.


I won't go back to see when you agreed with the enemy of goodness, and I'm glad you find his most recent claim to be ridiculous.

Did you see the Jon Stewart interview? Did you enjoy it? I've watched it repeatedly and recommend it to everyone.


Blaming wife beating on hip-hop culture is like blaming country-western for drinking and cheating on spouses. I think the closest connection you could make is that hip-hop culture seems to condone wife beating.

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So O'Reilly believes that "some" kids have a blame-the-victim attitude while living among a "culture" of people who listen to hip-hop/rap. Imagine blaming a whole culture for the beliefs of some.

Nearly 50% of teens surveyed blamed the victim. Hardly any teens listen to hip-hop/rap anyway, so the music is certain not to be a cause.

"Country music has featured songs describing domestic abuse for decades." Let's not forget that a large majority of the Country songs are about broken noses and hardy any about a broken heart.

Please see my January '06 blog entry "If you don't like it, turn it off," for my opinion.


I agree with you - you can't blame outside forces for ignorant behavior. It's lack of education, self-control and self-discipline, good parenting and morals that make people behave in a way that hurts those around them.

I hate when people make up excuses for why they can't amount to something or do stupid things.


back up there a bit..

""O'Reilly then said this about why any sane person could even dream of blaming Rihanna for getting assaulted: "And I'm chalking this up to hip-hop rap music. That's what I'm chalking this up to."""

James, that's a whole different story.

I didn't see the show, but your quote there tells me that he's not blaming the violence on hip hop... but rather THE ATTITUDES of the fans blaming Rihanna, the victim.

Karmyn R

I was going to say "Well said, James" - and then I read my mom's comment....and think...."hmmmmm, she may be on to something"

James B.

Now, now, MickySolo, let's play nice. Sometimes I do agree with the guy. I just think he was dead wrong on this one.

Jali, see I recognize ridiculous when I see it! And no, I didn't see that Stewart interview. I'll have to look it up.

BobG, you're killin' me. I'm the first to say that lots of rap music and hip-hop culture have condoned many bad things - most often, it seems, street violence as a means to an end and verbal and social disrespect to women.

But one thing I've never heard condoned in the worst rap music or seen condoned in hip-hop culture is physical violence toward women. Perhaps there are some hip-hop culture experts out there who would like to disagree with me and give examples of rappers - even the worst of 'em - promoting wife beating. Until then though, I stick to my guns.

Sarc, it is true that in traditional record sales, hip-hop has been sliding steadily in recent years, with a few rare exceptions, of course. Off the top of my head, I don't know how it's doing compared to other genres in digital/online sales. But to your point, I agree: not enough kids listen to it (at least to the violent stuff) for it to have that kind of influence over their psyches.

C, hear hear!

Pamela, I think we're on different pages altogether. I did not write that O'Reilly blamed the violence on hip-hop. I wrote that he blamed the surveyed kids' slack attitudes toward domestic violence on rap music and hip-hop culture. Two different things. If I didn't make that much clear in the post, then I apologize. But I stand by my point: He said the kids' 'tudes toward DV were caused by rap/hip-hop culture. If you'd like to see the transcript I can provide it.

Karmyn R, I'm always up for a challenge. You know that. But like I answered your mom, I thought I was careful to point out that O'Reilly blamed the kids' attitudes on rap/hip-hop culture. I don't believe I wrote or even suggested that he drew a direct correlation between the music and culture and domestic violence.


You weren't true to your point James.

A paragraph early on says: blame rap and hip-hop culture as the root cause for some kids having a blame-the-victim attitude

but, the rest of your post is very much discussing how wife beating/abuse has been going on for centuries.. and what you can't blame it on

I think you changed your subject mid stream.

Sarc was one of your comm enters who took it back to the original subject. But none of your other comments seemed to pick up on that - and were agreeing with you that that hip hop music can't cause abuse because it already existed.

BUT....I think the subject was "attitudes"
What do we expose our kids to that does effect their view of things? What would make children and teenagers believe that a woman (or man, be it so) deserved that.

James B.

Pamela, well said. I disagree with you. But well said. I don't think I strayed from my original point. I think that what followed my original point was a natural progression of speculation a la, what's next in terms of the blame game.


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