Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm still not tolerating intolerance

There is a big bru-ha-ha that started with Bill O'Reilly causing a ruckus at The View and sparked this exchange on The O'Reilly Factor which resulted in NPR's recent firing of Juan Williams. At first, I didn't know what to make of it but after mulling it around for a day, I have to say that I agree with their decision to terminate his contract.

You might not be able to control feeling fear when you see a Muslim dressed in traditional garb on your flight. I myself am guilty of having felt this way in the past. That being said, there is a lot you CAN do.
  1. You CAN recognize that the fear is irrational based on ignorance and limited experience with the Muslim culture/world.
  2. You CAN realize that giving voice to this fear begins to legitimize it in your mind and in others.
  3. You CAN be aware that there is a significant group of radicalized Islamophobes who try to block the construction of new mosques, vandalize existing mosques, harass people who look as if they could be Muslim, organize Koran burnings, and believe all Muslims are terrorists.
  4. Being aware of this group, you CAN realize that it is best to be careful and not use your position in the media to add fuel to their fire.
I am going to try extra hard to fight this irrational fear the next time the situation arises. I know that most Muslims are peaceful people and have more similarities with me than differences. I am going to remind myself that this discrimination is a struggle for any ethnicity added to our giant melting pot, and has gone back to way before the slaves came from Africa, the massive influx of Europeans, and the Mexicans that have been coming across our borders.

To fear any of these groups is not rational. It is based on ignorance pure and simple. I may not be the smartest person on this planet but I will do my best to rise above this mindset.