Stewart kicked off the interview by pressuring O’Reilly to “admit that there is such a thing as white privilege,” referencing his guest’s longstanding assertion that the construct doesn’t exist because Asian Americans are more successful than whites. Stewart asked O’Reilly about his experience growing up in Levittown, New York, which at the time was segregated, to show how African Americans were unable to access the middle class experience. Stewart closed the interview by asking O’Reilly “why so defensive about it, why is it that white people get so defensive about this?,” and O’Reilly reluctantly acknowledged that white privilege is a “factor”.
Just a few of the countless statistics on white privilege: When it comes to political power, white men are massively overrepresented in the government; despite making up just 31 percent of the population, they represent 65 percent of politicians. White men get rewarded for pushing for workplace diversity, while women and minorities are punished. A study in May found that online buyers are less willing to do business with black people and when they do pay them between 2 to 4 percent less than they would pay white people. Minority homeowners are less likely to get approved for a mortgage; 75 percent of African Americans with low credit scores were turned away, while only half of whites with low credit scores were. And then there’s the justice system, where the inequities have gotten a surge of attention since Michael Brown’s death.
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