"Bill, 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."
Can we, if nothing else, agree on a working definition of "bigotry"?
It seems to me that if you get nervous because you see Muslims on a plane, it is because you have an assumption, or perhaps a fear, that these Muslims will hijack or blow up the plane, because that is what happened on 9/11.
In other words, based solely on their appearance, you attributing certain negative traits to these hypothetical "Muslims on a plane".
Juan, that is what bigotry is. I mean, maybe it is understandable that you feel nervous and worried. Maybe it is commonplace. Maybe every non-Muslim feels that way. But it is bigotry, and let's not pretend that it is not.
Now, I don't think Juan Williams should be fired for solely for saying this. And I'm not sure that he was, in fact, fired simply for saying this. I think he's had a long history of being lame — being one kind of journalist/reporter on NPR, and another kind on Fox News (the Bill O'Reilly ass-kissing kind). And I think last night was the final straw for NPR.
So so long, Juan.