Charitably, Brian Kilmeade shares one-third of one-third of a brain with his Fox & Friends co-hosts, making him the kind of stupid you almost feel sorry for. Kilmeade isn’t a reactionary bully like O’Reilly, a robotic talking points machine with a Phil Leotardo hairline like Sean Hannity, or even a smug prick like his partner Doocy. There’s nothing the least bit dangerous or significant about him or his viewpoints and even though he’s known for upper-decking a steaming pile of pure, unapologetic sexism and xenophobia into the Fox News toilet bowl on occasion, even the thinnest-skinned feminist studies major shouldn’t have a problem calling him an asshole and being done with it. There’s nothing inside Brian Kilmeade’s head that isn’t crowded out by the vestigial foamy-keg-beer air embolisms left over from his frat party days. Overall, he’s pretty harmless.
When he does unleash a piece of whatever he considers wisdom, it’s usually something like what came out of his mouth on his radio show on Friday afternoon. During the show — imaginatively titled Kilmeade & Friends, likely at Kilmeade’s own request so he won’t get confused — someone called in and brought up the subject of stop-and-frisk as well as a few other laws that seem to specifically target the black community. Even though studies done in various areas show that white people are more likely to actually possess drugs, the caller argued, black people wind up being searched, arrested and prosecuted more often. So why the need for these kinds of policies or at the very least why the need to direct them toward the black community?
A difficult question, certainly, but one Brian Kilmeade’s keen observational mind and unique perspective are perfectly suited to unpack. First up: It’s important to realize, says Kilmeade, that black people aren’t being stopped and frisked because they’re black — they’re being stopped and frisked because they look dangerous. Granted, you and I might say that the reason they look dangerous to some cops is because, well, they’re black, but Kilmeade says it’s actually all about how they’re dressed, and that they should — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — put away the hoodies and maybe pull up their pants, I guess. Because if they’re in a bad area and they look like that, the cops might think they look suspicious. (That bad area by the way is what’s known to them as “home,” and it’s often considered a bad area by people like Kilmeade precisely because of that fact.)
Kilmeade even wants to take it a step further and make the point less abstract and more personal. Which brings us to this gem of a comment, in which Brian Kilmeade imagines himself being a “person fitting the description of” because he’s — well, we’ll just let you read for yourself.
“If I’m in 112th – 45th Street up in Harlem and I’m walking around, you know, with ripped jeans with a hood over my head, looking kind of raunchy without, without shaving. Now I either can be a, you know, a musician, perhaps, and I’d get pulled over a few times. Those guys like to have that, that artsy look. Or I could be a guy just looking to sell drugs who might be — I might profile as somebody that’s looking to break the law in some way. Now, I would think that I’m more apt to get pulled over or to be a victim of — not a victim but be somebody, a candidate for stop-and-frisk. And I should be.”
Let me say right off the bat that nothing would bring me greater joy than seeing Brian Kilmeade test this theory of his. I invite him to put on “ripped jeans with a hood over his head, looking kind of raunchy without, without shaving” and head on up to Harlem for the first time. I say for the first time because I have no idea what the fuck address he’s talking about, since there’s no “112th, 45th street” that I know of — 112th and 45th run parallel and they’re 67 blocks apart — but if he’s expecting 112th street to be dangerous just because it’s in Harlem, that may be the most racist thing he says throughout all of this.
If Kilmeade walked down 112th street, he’d be only a block away from the north end of Central Park, strolling undisturbed along tree-lined streets in front of some stunning brownstones and within a few feet of about six Starbucks. And if he did run into anybody, they’d probably be confused as to why a 50 year old white man who obviously lives in Gramercy Park was skulking around uptown, dressed like he’s the bassist in a Puddle of Mudd cover band from Ft. Lauderdale. In fact, if the NYPD did profile him and stop him, it would be to ask, “Hey, aren’t you the bassist from Puddle of Mudd?” That’s the “artsy musician” he’d be confused for.
But wait, there’s more. And here’s where we learn something amusing about Brian Kilmeade: he is afraid of his own shadow.
“If I see a group of blacks coming at me with hoods on, I’m walking to the other side of the street. If on the other side of the street is a guy with tattoos all over, a white guy with tattoos all over him, and a nose ring, I’m going back to the other side of the street.”
While the image of Kilmeade walking back and forth across the street over and over again like a game of Douchebag Frogger to avoid people who scare him is entertaining — almost as entertaining as the thought of him being stuck in the middle of the street because he can’t decide who’s scarier — I have to kind of home in on one thing here: Brian Kilmeade is scared of me.
I realize that Kilmeade is paraphrasing something Mark Cuban once said here, but at least Cuban made the imaginary person he was encountering sound like Drax the Destroyer. Kilmeade’s avoidance threshold is apparently triggered by every single adult male in Williamsburg. I don’t live there, but I do have tattoos, and a lot of them. I also used to have a nose ring back before I got old and/or came to my senses. I have even, occasionally, been known to walk down a street or two. I don’t see myself as the kind of person who would strike fear into the heart of Brian Kilmeade, but he may see it differently.
While Kilmeade is completely full of shit when he tries to argue that race doesn’t matter to him or to the police in terms of whether each assumes that someone might be a criminal, I do get the point he’s desperately trying to make. A person can’t change his or her race or ethnicity but we can decide what we wear and whether we like it or not people will often judge us by that — by the way we choose to present ourselves to the world.
But unsurprisingly, Kilmeade automatically assumes that anyone not dressed like the finest and most upstanding person white America has to offer is a potential threat and being dressed like the aforementioned white person automatically defuses that threat. He thinks that if you’re in a neighborhood where bad things sometimes happen, it’s incumbent upon you to dress like a Mormon closet just exploded all over you to keep the cops off your back. Because Kilmeade really does believe that the NYPD chooses to stop and frisk people based on the clothes they’re wearing rather than the color of the skin underneath those clothes. Just about any black man, in particular, will tell you this is horseshit, especially if he happens to be trying to catch a cab. The stats also don’t exactly bear his theory out.
But all of this comes back, again, to one thing that’s pretty much indisputable: Brian Kilmeade is an idiot. That said, I’m off now to go stand outside Fox News HQ on 6th Ave. and wait for Kilmeade to come out. I want to see if I can make him scurry into the path of an oncoming car to get away from me.
Hey, Brian — boo!
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.