Friday, October 22, 2010

Juan Williams

"Muslims on airplanes scare me, and make me nervous."

My wife is the same way, about spiders.  At some point in her past, she 'had a bad experience', with a spider.  Now she has an irrational fear of all spiders, even though the vast majority of all the spiders are completely harmless.  The spider she encountered didn't even bite her, it just wouldn't 'get off of her'.  If she encountered a spider today, she'd freak out.  And the bigger the spider the bigger her reaction would or will be, even to a point of completely disabling her.  She can't even look at a picture of a big hairy tarantula without getting creeped out.

In my head, this is a weakness of hers.  She's allowing one bad interaction, to affect all future encounters with arachnids, even though most of them are there to help rid her world of unwanted insects.

Juan Williams is also suffering from an irrational fear, and the closer to Fox News he gets, the more this irrational fear will be enforced.  O'Reilly himself has crowed that "Muslims attacked us on 9-11!", as does the rest of Fox News.  And then they herald, 'Williams is free to express his opinion here', as they just gave him a big fat contract.  Which also means that about 40% of the country is leaning in this direction, because it would seem you don't have to drink the kool-aid, to be affected by its fumes.

The problem here is 'generalizing' based on a stereotype.  "Rag-heads attacked us on 9-11."  While Juan didn't say this directly, that's what he's thinking.  We were attacked by terrorists, who seek to expel our military from their homeland.  The Muslim religion didn't attack us.  There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.  If Americas' 380 million were indeed at war with them, I'd say the odds are against us.

It is wrong to fear an entire group, based upon the sins of a few within that group.  It would be not be acceptable to treat every Catholic Priest like he was a pedophile.   Yet, Juan is now being welcomed with open arms into the Fox News family.  "Fox News, We accept broad generalizations and irrational fears!"

While I was indeed a Juan Williams supporter, I think he needs some mental health care, maybe some direct exposure therapy.  Feed him his favorite food while meeting and speaking to kind and happy Muslims.  This behavior can be overcome, but if I were to daily toss rubber spiders at my wife, while someone poked her with a sharp needle, I doubt she'd ever get over her arachnophobia.  In fact, those actions would probably make it worse.  So, Juan heading to Fox News to a full-time position may well see him bombing a mosque, in the end.

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