Back when he was a reporter for the Washington Post, Juan Williams wrote a short piece about group perceptions for a social psychology course. At issue was the question of what dangerous people look like, and when and under what circumstances -- if ever -- people are justified in being nervous around people of other races. In responding to the question, Williams wrote that, "Racism is a lazy man's substitute for using good judgment" and "common sense becomes racism when skin color becomes a formula for figuring out who is dangerous to me." In his recent controversial statements on Fox News, though, Williams said that people wearing Muslim garb on airplanes made him nervous. There is no statistical reason to be nervous around people wearing Muslim garb on airplanes, though because no terror attacks have ever been conducted in the US. by people wearing that attire, yet Williams invoked religious attire as the lone justification for his fear. When the factor being considered is skin color, Williams is more measured and circumspect in his analysis of a given situation, but when the question was about religious attire, Williams displayed a double standard that amounts to religious bigotry. Williams further invoked his own record of defending civil rights for African-Americans to justify his prejudice against Muslims. Roger Ailes and the Fox Channel, by conferring a new, multi-million dollar contract upon Williams, richly rewarded him for his role as an apparent "liberal" who sought to justify anti-Muslim bigotry, and clearly such a role will make for good ratings on Fox.
By Anne Landman on November 02, 2010