NPR Juan Williams: Politically Incorrect or Prejudiced?

Julie Marsh

Juan Williams is the latest in a series of journalists who've aired their prejudices and been fired for it. NPR terminated the news commentator after he admitted to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News that fellow airline travelers in Muslim robes and headwear make him "nervous."

Not long ago, Rick Sanchez railed against Jews for holding back his career, and Helen Thomas said Jews should get out of Palestine. Sanchez was fired and Thomas resigned.

Coverage of these events has brought up the question of political correctness. Did these people deserve the fallout generated by their remarks, or are we just being too damn sensitive?

Consider this: Juan Williams is black. I wonder how he would have received a comment by Bill O'Reilly that it makes him nervous to pull up to a stoplight at night with a crowd of black teenagers congregating on the corner. Maybe other people feel the same way, but that doesn't change the fact that such a fear is based on prejudice. What have the teens done, other than be black and out at night? Likewise, Muslim airline passengers have done nothing besides wear the prescribed garb and buy a plane ticket.

Williams explained that it bothers him when people are "identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims." Really? Lots of people identify themselves first and foremost as Christians, and a great deal of cruelty and crime have been perpetrated in the name of Christianity. That doesn't mean Christians should inspire fear and loathing.

Likewise, many religions call for adherents to wear certain garments: Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Sikhs. A turban is not akin to a red or blue bandanna.

What's evident from these statements by Williams, Sanchez, and Thomas is not that Muslims or Jews are a threat, but that people are scared and angry. That fear and anger are fed by journalists like these who "share their personality and opinion" to attract viewers, which ironically resulted in their own ousting.

It's not a matter of political correctness in journalism. It's a matter of prejudice among humanity.


Photo via AP

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