Friday, October 22, 2010

A Muslim Viewpoint on Why Juan Williams Should Have Been Fired

Juan Williams, a long time NPR and Fox contributor was recently fired by NPR because of a comment he made on the O'Reilly Factor.

He told O'Reilly, "When I get on a plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they're identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

The whole ignoramus establishment of pseudo-conservative opportunistic washed out Republican imitation-tea-product Fox-people has started to wail and scream so much that the US media sounds like a room full of 8 year old children whose puppy got ran over by a car.

Firstly, this is not a free speech issue. The man basically got fired for going on record for being a bigot. No one arrested him, fined him, or took any legal action against him; in fact, it was he who broke the rules of his contract with NPR through these comments as well as other offensive and bigoted comments which he made in the past in which he said that the first lady was like "Stokely Carmichael-in-a-designer-dress," as well as a long history of being smugly anti-Muslim.

Why was his comment bigoted? Why do I call him a bigot?

His comment was bigoted because it demonstrated that he was prepared to judge individuals from a very non-homogeneous group based on the actions of an overwhelming fringe minority. This is something that any ten-year old child can tell you is wrong.

To then smart off and act like its okay because he somehow believes that the "world" is at war with Islam and that is a "fact," is like me saying that:

Black people make me uncomfortable as they are mostly criminals. Black people make up a disproportionate amount of the prison population, and that is a "fact."

White people make me uncomfortable as they are probably meth addicts. White people make up a disproportionately high percentage of crystal met addicts, and that is a "fact."

Jews make me angry as they manipulate the economy to make money at the expense of regular Americans. Jews make up a disproportionately high percentage of Wall Street executives and are disproportionately richer than normal Americans, and that is a "fact."

Asian drivers make me nervous on the road because they don't know how to drive. The average Asian man will get into more accidents than the average American driver, and that is a "fact."



So fine, Juan Williams said something bigoted. Why do I believe that he is a bigot as a person? I believe he is, because these are exactly the kinds of things that people have been saying about black people, Jews, etc., for decades, and we as a nation have grown to recognize that it is wrong; however, Mr. Williams, despite knowing all of this, has not come clean and apologized for comments that were just plain mean. Note, he has made the defense of claiming that he was only expressing what he honestly felt. I say that not every feeling in your heart is something that you should be socially forgiven for expressing; knowing which feelings to suppress is a skill most people learn when they are children. This skill saves a person from many racist, bigoted, sexually inappropriate, and just plain stupid comments.

Note that most racists nowadays, before they make racist comments will say something like: "I have no problem with Black people. I'm not racist. Its not my fault that they are all drug dealers."

Had the man just apologized, I would have not been so annoyed. But no, he is riding the wave, he signed a two million dollar a year contract with FOX, and what is more, people like Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich are now trying to claim that this is somehow a free speech issue. If it were really a free speech issue, where were these big defenders of free speech when Rick Sanchez, Octavia Nasr, and Helen Thomas were fired for expressing their views? Note, I am not claiming to agree with any or all of the aforementioned people and their different views on different issues, but I will say that their gaffes, in my book, were at about the same level as Mr. Williams. The only difference between them is that they offended a politically more enfranchised, powerful, well-financed and established group, and Mr. Williams took a cheap shot at a demographic which is already down for the kicking.

The most depressing and frustrating part of the "far-right" anti-Islam frenzy is that practicing Muslims are the most socially conservative, staunchly God-believing, natural set of allies that the Republican party could have. If this was really about ideas, values, beliefs and morals, then Republicans would try to forge alliances with Muslims, the demographic, which before 9/11 was the most consistently republican voting bloc in the USA after white males, rather than try to gain cheap mob-frenzy points by exploiting the uneducated working class's lack of information about Islam, fear of terrorism, and the human tendency to act tribalistic when faced with fear.


Abū `Abdul-Raḥmān said...

Ma sha'allah. Good points!

Habib said...

I agree with you. This guy is a big bigot. I am dissappointed that many of the civil rights groups have not called him out on it.

His line of reasoning is horrible. Just because he FEELS this way in his heart actually makes him more of a bigot then if he was faking it.