I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous. [full transcript]And then NPR fired him. NPR CEO Vivian Schiller said that his firing was the result of a "series of deeply troubling incidents over several years."
We've seen the "he was just being honest" argument, as if we should reward all honesty even when it is inappropriate and violates your contract.
We've seen the "this should've been a learning experience" argument, as if it's somehow NPR's responsibility to 'educate' Juan Williams while continuing to pay him a salary for violating his contract.
We've seen the "America is too politically correct" argument, which is often just code for 'I'm upset that it's not socially acceptable for me to say the N-word anymore'.
We've seen the misguided "freedom of speech" argument which just shows a clear ignorance of what our free speech rights actually entail.
We've seen the "but ____________ does the same thing all the time" argument (with Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and even Katie Couric used as examples) which fails to recognize the differences between their individual job titles and job requirements.
And of course, we've seen the "we should fear Muslims because Muslims killed us on 9/11" type of ignorant comments. (Those are the ones that piss us off the most.) But we've never seen that argument made exactly like this... so we're going to share one particular conversation that just kind of blew our minds a bit. Below are excerpts from an actual 'fight' I had on someone's Facebook wall. We hope you're as confused and outraged by it as we were.
Idiot: If I see a bear in the woods, I get nervous. It could be the greatest bear ever. But SOME bears have been known to attack randomly. A human reaction to a POSSIBLE reality. So fire me.Now, maybe I'm just a stickler because I'm a writer... but um, doesn't anyone know what an 'analogy' is!?
Evil Slut: It would be just as POSSIBLE that a non-Muslim would commit a terrorist act, do you fear ALL people? Do you get nervous everytime you see a human being on an airplane because of the possible reality? But wait... did you just compare Muslims to wild animals? And... fuck you.
Idiot's Friend: She did not compare Muslims to wild animals. She used an analogy.
So she wasn't comparing them, she was just... comparing them. Okay!a·nal·o·gy (noun): 1. a similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based; 2. similarity or comparability [emphasis mine]
Idiot: Thanks for clarifying that Muslims are not bears and telling me to fuck myself. I think you just disqualified yourself from all future intelligent discussions. Reactionaries resort to extremist aggressive behavior when threatened. (Like she just did getting angry, like some cultural groups that get violent.) To have an opinion you must be able to comprehend the issue.You know what that means right? If you get a little mad at me because of the totally offensive thing I said, then you're no better than the terrorists!
Evil Slut: No, but a bear is a wild animal... its in their inherent nature to attack and it's a rational, reasonable fear to be nervous around them. Being nervous around Muslims on airplanes is not reasonable nor rational, nor is it in their nature to be violent. So the analogy makes no fucking sense. Unless you want to compare ALL people to bears. It's unreasonable and irrational to live in fear that ANY and ALL human being might possible kill you, but that is way more close to the actual reality than the 'Muslims might kill me' theory. Your comparing Muslims to wild animals deserves a 'fuck you'. In fact, I consider it to be extremist aggressive behavior, so um, yeah... fuck you.Ah, the whole 'if someone looks different than me, I should be suspicious of them' stance. Is she suspicoius of people with unusual haircuts? Is she suspicious of people with physical deformities? Is she suspicious of people who dress like Lady Gaga? (She certainly stands out.) Sorry, but if you're suspicious of Muslims because 'Muslim garb stands out' then... that makes you a bigot.
Idiot: I compared irrational fear to irrational fear. And I DO NOT fear ANY human. We are all capable of harm. Some MORE so than others, as history documents. Is anyone handing out clues?
Evil Slut: Yes, who is handing out clues? Fear of a wild bear in the woods = RATIONAL fear. Fear of a random Muslim on a plane = IRRATIONAL fear. We are all capable of harm, some more than others... but there is no evidence to support the claim that Muslims are more capable of harm than non-Muslims. Prove that.
Idiot's Friend: She's not saying Muslims are more capable of harm than non-Muslims...the only thing is a Muslim in Muslim garb stands out. I basically look at all people with the same suspicion, when something stands out about one in particular, I tend to focus on it, rationally or irrationally. And guess what, I bet the people on the planes that went down on 9/11 had no nervousness about the "Muslims" on their planes.
Evil Slut: I believe she is saying that Muslims are more capable of harm than others. "We are all capable of harm. Some MORE so than others, as history documents." What 'more' is she referring to? If she's not suggesting that Muslims are more capable of harm than non-Muslims, then why use the stupid bear metaphor to defend the irrational fear of Muslims? I've seen and experienced so much crime and violence at the hands of white Christian men... but I would never say "gee, when I see a white guy with a cross I get a little nervous because he's really putting it out there there he's first and foremost a Christian". Some Muslims may be more easily identifiable by the way they dress (although tell that to all the Sikh Indians who were attacked after 9/11) but it doesn't mean they are more likely to commit an act of violence. Most likely if someone really was going to try to commit a terrorist act they would dress in a way so as to NOT stand out... so the argument makes even less sense and then it just amounts to racial profiling.