Juan Williams, the most peculiar black journalist in America, made yet another statement that has heads turning.
Williams made the argument that there's nothing wrong with people saying that young black men make them nervous.
In a conversation with Dr. Caroline Helmand, a professor at Occidental College, Williams stood the Fox News line by basically refuting Helman's assertion that it would be bigoted for a person to say that they clutch their purse every time a black man walks by. The dialogue went like this:
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 ... 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."
I've made my opinions on Juan Williams quite clear in the past, so I won't reiterate the fact that I consider him to be one of the greatest disgraces to black journalism in the 21st century (well, I guess I did just reiterate it, huh?).
The fact that Juan has admittedly publicly that he is afraid of Muslims on airplanes and now black men in the street tells us a great deal about why he is so popular on Fox News.
Fox is a network that shamelessly utilizes racial fear to fuel its corporate profitability. By feasting on the American fear of having a black man in the White House and fear that every Muslim is engaged in an insidious plot to destroy our nation, Fox News and Juan Williams become the perfect psychological cocoon that makes millions of Americans feel safe to express their dysfunctional racial animosity.
On that note, there is something to be discussed regarding whether racial profiling can be perceived to be a benign and easily overlooked phenomenon - or if it's something more serious.
As the tasering of Jonathan Zimmerman during a routine traffic violation showed us, when we preconceive black men to be criminals, we destroy lives in the process. Being involved in the criminal justice system is like being exposed to a deadly social virus that is capable of infecting every aspect of your life: You are unjustly stopped by an officer who would have walked right past you if you were white. You then talk back to the officer, legitimately asking him why he's bothering you. That's when the officer asks you to step out of the car or (as in the case of Zimmerman) tasers you to get you to comply with his instructions.
Once a man becomes involved in the system, it is nearly impossible to get out.
The fines that the system imposes on you, disproportionate conviction rates for black men, longer sentences, unaddressed violence in the prison itself, in addition to lifelong marginalization (being restricted from voting, finding jobs, etc.) lead to a wasted future.
The point here is that when we racially profile black men and presume that they are guilty without even knowing them, we end up destroying their lives by involving them in scenarios that never would have been constructed if they were white.
Juan Williams is not an intelligent man, that fact has been well-established. But one can hope that any intelligent consumer of American news would realize the dangers of a black man going on to national television and joking about the consequences of racial-profiling.
What Juan considers to be a simple, harmless form of discrimination is something that continues to undermine the fabric and integrity of the entire American criminal justice system. Mr. Williams should choose his words wisely, but I doubt that will be the case. He's got too much invested by being Fox's Negro stamp of approval.
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Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. To follow Dr. Boyce on Facebook, please click here.