Juan Williams: Scared of Black Men?
Former NPR employee Juan Williams has done it again. This time while guest-hosting on The O'Reilly Factor last night, Williams said that he gets nervous when walking past black guy. He was interviewing Dr. Caroline Helmand, professor at Occidental College, at the time.
The two were initially discussing the most recent "rant" of New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, and then the conversation veered toward NPR. Helmand said that NPR is a "really important source of mainstream news," and the two argued over whether NPR deserved or needed funding. The following ensued (we'd show you the video, but it has been pulled):
Helmand: I happen to agree with Schiller that your comments were bigoted. I think that if I were to say that I clutch my purse every time I walk by a black man, that might resonate with a lot of Americans. It might be the truth, but it's a bigoted statement. I certainly wouldn't have fired you, but I do think there was some truth in that video that we don't get to talk about because we are afraid to have actual discourse in this country.
Williams: I can't believe that you just said that. You think that simply saying what you think is evidence of bigotry, that all of a sudden it's as if you were walking by a black man that would mean if you were bigoted if you were somewhat nervous? Let me just tell you, with the amount of black-on-black crime in America, I get nervous and I'm a black man. So, I mean, wait a second ...
Helmand: There we go again, Juan. I would find that to be racial profiling; that's a bigoted comment.
Williams: That's a bigoted comment?
Helmand: Yes it is. Just like your comment about Muslims.
Williams: I'm the father of black young men, and I'm saying that if you saw a couple guys walking around looking like thugs down the street late at night, you're saying, "Oh, I'm not going to think it through." Caroline, I think you are way off base.
What is the world coming to when a white woman has to tell a black man that racial profiling is bad? One only has to look at the case of Thomas Haynesworth to know the dangers of racial profiling and "walking while black." The willingness of Williams and others to depict black men as criminals as opposed to the victims that they can be, especially in cases of racial profiling, is befuddling.
Williams is nervous about Muslims and black men? What makes me nervous is a black man who throws black folks under the bus so easily. No, black people are not above critique or reproach, but in cases of racial profiling, there is definitely more than one side to the issue. Sadly, we can't depend on a black man to offer it.
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