When Juan Became Synonymous With Boy
It’s not often I feel for Juan Williams. I think the man lives in a fantasy world where racism doesn’t exist and nobody sees the racial lineage of anyone else despite the lack or abundance of melanin in somebody’s skin. Mr. Williams gives me the impression that the only time he thinks we’re justified to notice somebody’s ethnicity, culture, race, or whatever it can be that can be used as an indication of somebody’s heritage is when we can reasonably guess that somebody comes from or follows the spiritual teaching of people from the Middle East. Then, Mr. Williams thinks it might be okay to have an issue as to whether or not we should fly on a plane with such a person without fearful fantasies of ululations of how great somebody’s vision of the Supreme Being may be before some act of terrorism. Then, we are free to wear our racism on our sleeves as a matter of self preservation. Otherwise, we are a racially homogenous collection of people.
Time and time again I thought Mr. Williams would have to be truly blind to see the racism that is so prevalent in our political, social, educational, occupational, and financial environments. But instead of admitting witness to a social injustice, Mr. Williams would explain it away as nothing more than an unfortunate incident that could happen to anybody, even though it might seem to only impact black people or significantly impact black people at a much more significant rate that is too high to dismiss as coincidence. Because of his inability to call racism out as the ugliest of monsters in our midst, I have dismissed Juan Williams as nothing more than another black person who would be more than happy to tolerate racism and acts of racism. When Mr. Williams was fired as a contributor to National Public Radio and went to work for FOX News, I thought good riddance. But when I saw the video clip of the exchange between Juan Williams and Newt Gingrich from the South Carolina debate, as one black man to another, I was truly embarrassed for him.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or unless you are truly racially insensitive, it should be no surprise that Mr. Gingrich has been making some serious racially charged accusations. Mr. Gingrich has insinuated that black people don’t want to work for a living but want to live a dependent lifestyle of entitlement by doing nothing and collecting food stamps from the government. He has accused the urban poor of not having a good work ethic. The urban poor don’t go to work every day unless it’s to perform some criminal activity. He’s spread so much racially insensitive rhetoric that it has even gotten under the skin of the otherwise racially flaccid Mr. Williams.
As one of the moderators of the South Carolina debate, Mr. Williams took it upon himself to ask Mr. Gingrich about his rhetoric. Mr. Williams asked Mr. Gingrich if he could understand, if he could see why someone would be offended by his recent statements regarding black people. Mr. Gingrich responded with a simple and indignant, “No I don’t see that”. It was said with a flair that indicated that Mr. Gingrich wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about what he said and no explanation was necessary. When Mr. Williams persisted, Mr. Gingrich responded with a dismissive “Juan”. The name “Juan” rolled off Mr. Gingrich’s tongue as if he was using the moderator’s own name to call him a boy, the way a white man would call a black man boy back in the day. It was as if Mr. Gingrich was trying to say, “Look here, boy…”
The virtually all white conservative audience loved the exchanged. Mr. Gingrich got an unprecedented standing ovation. Of course there was racism. These people are tired of paying through the nose and having their tax dollars wasted on coddling black people. If black people would just go to work and earn a living for a change they wouldn’t have to worry about somebody like Newt Gingrich telling them to get off the food stamps. And how dare that Juan boy say anything about it. This country is going to hell in a hand basket and this boy wants to worry about people telling black people to get their act together. But that wasn’t the end of it. A couple of days later during a campaign speech, a woman thanked Mr. Gingrich for putting Juan Williams in his place the way he did. That boy was out of his mind asking Mr. Gingrich such a ludicrous question.
Juan Williams was setup perfectly. He was the substitute for Barack Obama who wasn’t available for the evening. The crowd booed him as he asked his questions. Mr. Gingrich, feeling the energy in the room, gave the crowd what they were hoping for. He gave them just a sample of what they can expect to see if he wins the primary. Mr. Gingrich won’t hesitate to tap into his wealth of white superiority to put black people in their place. He said it on the campaign trail. He says it about the President. He says it in debates. And he will say it to a black man’s face.
Did Juan Williams deserve Mr. Gingrich’s ire? I hate to say it, but yes he did. Nobody set Mr. Williams up but Mr. Williams. Throughout his journalistic career he has pretended, insisted that race is not a factor in our lives. If nothing else, the exchange between Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Williams should have been a wakeup call to whatever passes as self respect within Mr. Williams conscious and help him realize that his kind, black people who might question the behavior of his or her so-called peers, aren’t tolerated here. If black people want to be a part of the conservative experience, they are going to have to remember their place. Otherwise, they become a focal point for the racial animosity that these people have been struggling to keep in check for years and are just waiting for an excuse, any excuse, to unleash.