By Kelvin Wade
Today, National Public Radio sacked commentator Juan Williams for supposed bigoted remarks to Bill O'Reilly on O'Reilly's Fox cable show. In a discussion about O'Reilly's remarks on "The View" last week in which O'Reilly said "Muslims killed us on 9/11" Williams said, "When I get on a plane ... 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.”
That's it? Are you kidding me? When I read this story, I can't waiting for the bigoted remarks. I had to read the article twice to make sure I'd read it correctly. NPR released a statement saying, Williams' remarks "were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR." Why, because they were true?
How is this even a story? Are you trying to tell me Mr. NPR that when you get on a plane and a group of Muslim men get onboard behind you, that it never gives you a moment's pause? That's not credible.
Should Juan Williams have said Arab men? We know what he was talking about because most of us have been in his position post 9/11. It's a wariness that wasn't there pre-9/11. Should everyone be wary of Arabs or Muslims they see on public transportation? Of course not. But if someone expresses that sentiment of seeing men on a plane post-9/11, I do think that's shocking and certainly not something someone should be fired over.
Juan Williams during that same interview went on to say that the 9/11 hijackers were extremists and weren't typical of all Muslims. What more was he to say? And if there was anything else for him to say, NPR didn't give him a chance to say it before they axed him.
I've heard a lot more offensive things come out of the mouths of other talking heads yet they're on still on my radio. I don't even find what Williams said offensive. I think he was expressing how he felt on a visceral level.
Given the complete interview and his body of work, does anyone think Juan Williams is a bigot? Of course not. I don't even think the suits at NPR believe that. They just made a politically correct firing thinking they were heading off a firestorm when they were actually setting one.
Someone once said, "Look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality." Oh wait, that wasn't just 'someone,' that was Juan Williams in the same interview. NPR is proving his point.
This is silly. Will someone who wants real talk please hire Juan Williams?