Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A response to a response to a response about NPR firing Juan Williams

Earlier today, during a break in my work schedule, I read this opinion piece on NPR's firing of Juan Williams due to his "nervous" statement about Muslims.

Interested in the idea that William's admission of an emotional reaction could get him to lose his job, I responded with this comment:

I fail to understand how Williams feeling "nervous" when he sees Muslims on airplanes shows his "distrust of an entire religion."

I am a progressive. I am conscious of my own stereotypes. I try every day to educate myself about other cultures and keep an open mind. But I still get nervous when I am walking down the street on a dark night and pass "thugged out" black men, when an overly friendly guy pushes beyond my physical comfort zone, or when I am on an airplane and see a young man of Middle Eastern descent..

Consciously I know that most likely my imagination is just getting away from me, but that doesn't make my nervousness go away. In order to deal with our own stereotypes we have to be able to have honest discussions about our emotions. It doesn't work any other way. By firing Williams for sharing his emotional reaction, NPR only encourages the ongoing inability of our public figures to discuss sensitive subjects such as race and religion in a meaningful way.

Now I have to admit that the first thing I do when I respond to a Yahoo news article is check religiously over the next hour to see if anyone responds to it. Although my response was short on the "thumbs-up" that we all covet, it did elecit one response, from an individual named JoJo Tenn, that was so great I wanted to share it here:

See there is sanity even on the left. Well said Aaron. Remember, even a broken analog clock is right twice a day. Keep thinking as you do and one day, you too will be called a "Right wing fanatic" by those who now call you friend. Wait, you shall see.

Besides the somewhat offensive statement about a "broken analog clock" (I'm still tickin' baby! EDIT: and I'm digital) I thought this response was priceless. What do you think? Does JoJo Tenn see the writing on the wall for all of us "emotionally honest" progressives out there?

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