To commemorate Martin Luther King Day, a Chicago teachers union hired none other than Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who proceeded to condemn President Obama for his use of drones. The Factor debated the decision to invite Wright with magazine publisher Hermene Hartman. "You've said Reverend Wright is anti-American," Hartman protested, "but that's not true. He has pointed out 'bad America' - dropping bombs on people and slavery is 'bad America.' He's not saying anything wrong. America is a great country, but has been a bad country in some instances." The Factor insisted that Wright is a serial America-basher: "If you listen to his sermons, you come away with him saying America is a bad nation. Every country has done some bad things, but according to Reverefrond Wright it's all bad and nothing good."
Burning with questions:
Why did you go on the show?
HH: I was invited and I welcomed the opportunity to talk about Reverend Wright and I wanted to correct some misconceptions.
Were you afraid?
HH: I feel like Reverend Wright has been misinterpreted and misquoted.
Could not resist asking about her credentials compared to O'Reilly on this particular subject.
HH: I am a former sociology professor but I have been working for the newspaper for 25 years. In the past Bill O'Reilly has been invited to the church of Reverend Wright but he refused to visit.
Hermene Hartman said I welcomed the opportunity to talk about race but Bill O'Reilly should let the people actually answer the question if he wants the true value of their statement. He has got to let the person speak or he is not really understanding what they are trying to say.
Hermene Hartman wanted to talk about the perception of race and the perception of Jeremiah Wright.
She said in the show she does support President Obama and Reverend Jeremiah Wright but their statements have been misinterpreted by Mr. O'Reilly--he is missing the true value of their statements.
Reverend Wright is trying to say that America is a great country but there have been wrong acts committed by the government on the issue of race, gays, women's rights and during the time of war.
I would definitely include in this the Japanese concentration camps during World War II.
Ms. Hartman mentioned the bombing of Nagasaki as a wrong and unfortunate act along with rules of segregation which existed in the past.
I felt like Ms Hartman wanted to promote the idea that while we love our country it is okay to talk about and define acts by our government that have hurt others and particular segments of the society. She was not saying she did not like America or disagree with the policies but to acknowledge mistreatment of others by the government if it does, in fact exist, is a good thing.
In the long run it is a good thing to talk about it.
The question: Would Mr. O"Reilly agree or disagree if he had actually let her talk and receive the true value of the statement of Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
The United States has done things and made rules that are not correct for women, gays and involving race and people of color--we are making a lot of changes in our laws now.
We are in a free country and allowed to speak--that is one of the great things about the United States. This philosophy lets progress take place.
Like Nelson Mandela, Dr.Martin Luther King and Jesus, Reverend Wright would like to challenge these incorrect acts.
Everything today is not hunky dory but we are making progress according to Hermene Hartman.
I could not help but ask Ms. Hartman how she felt about Bill O'Reilly's constant angry rant on Reverend Al Sharpton.
HH: Bill O'Reilly does seem to have a problem with strong black men--it is also a matter of politics and entertainment.
I said.....do you know Reverend Wright and what would you like people to know about him?
HH: Reverend Wright is a brilliant man and a scholar and he is not afraid to challenge things that are incorrect in our country. He is not afraid to call it as he sees it. He is a very nice man.
HH: Bill is taking Reverend Wright out of context.
She also said in the past Mr. O'Reilly has indeed been invited to the church of Reverend Wright but he has not come. She went on--he is welcome to come to the church and see what is going on and find out what Reverend Wright is all about. Ms. Hartman felt like O'Reilly really did not have all of the facts to properly speak about Jeremiah Wright.
I concluded by asking her what do you think of race in America today.
HH: We have definitely made progress. We do not have laws of segregation as we did in the past--but whether we like it or not race and prejudice is ingrained in our society. In the past Dr. King spoke of total integration without prejudice but she thinks now it is more reasonable to go with the idea of Nelson Mandela--to live in a race free society by acknowledging that race exists. We have perceptions and prejudices that are going to last for a long, long time--it cannot be ignored.
She gave the example of Trayvon Martin--the rules have changed but he was killed on perception. The law is now that anyone of any color can legally go into any neighborhood or area of town. The perception has not necessarily changed and Trayvon Martin was murdered on the idea he was not really supposed to be there--even though that was his home.
Thank you to Hermene Hartman for taking time to chat with me about your very insightful interview on the Bill O'Reilly show on Fox News.
It was wonderful to see you on the The Factor and hear your take on Reverend Wright and President Obama.
Ms. Hartman said that I may also visit the church and I am very excited about that--not to mention I love Chicago.
here is a link to the newspaper of Hermene Hartman: