Comment of the Day: In Defense of Profiling

So today we talked about the firing of Juan Williams. Is he a bigot for worrying that everyone in "Muslim garb" could be a terrorist? Or is he just being realistic? That's what one commenter argued today.

From Ralph-GreNader:

Lets get right to it, which will surely enrage those who wake up every morning looking for a reason to be enraged,.....I profile every single person I see every day of my life. I judge them based solely on their appearances. I look at them and I make an assessment on whether or not I think they might try to sell me something I don't want, will they ask me for directions that I dont know, or simply whether or not they may try to lop my head of with a machete. Simple as that. I am not a bigot. I am not a racist. I am just cautious.

Do you know why women stay out of dark alleys after midnight? Of course you do. Do you know why you keep track of your children in crowded places? Of course you do. Does that make you a bigot for being skeptical of your fellow neighbor? No, it makes you fucking smart. It makes you a good parent. There are some scary looking people out there. If I see a guy running down the street with a gun in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other I would be pretty foolish to assume he late for the end of the year NRA party. Does that mean I should judge everyone who owns a gun? No. However, I'm sorry but I'm about to judge the shit out of that guy and then head the other way quickly. And for the foreseeable I'm going to give every drunk I see running down the street the once over to make sure they aren't packing heat. It isn't personal but I had a bad experience the last time I saw a drunk white guy. I can't control it, it's just natural.

That being said...

To those who look of Middle Eastern descent flying on my plane the next time I fly:

I'm sorry. I'm terribly sorry for what you have to go through. I really am. Chances are you are a peaceful, devoted parent who just wants to get to their destination as soon as possible and get back on the ground where people belong. So I'm asking you to forgive me if I take more than one glance your way during the flight. And I will forgive you when you are burning a whole through me with your eyes when I'm in the chip aisle of the gas station. You're just doing your job and making sure I'm not going to steal 12 packs of gum or rob your place of business. It's ok, I know you're judging me without knowing me, just as I judged you without ever having met you. But when that plane lands safely and you head up the jetway with your bags and when I pay for my chips and walk out the door or the 7Eleven with my receipt I hope we can both smile at each other with the understanding that it wasn't personal, it was just business. The self satisfaction of proving ourselves to be the "Good Guys" should be enough to move on from that uncomfortable moment we had a just a short while ago.

While I'd argue that seeing someone actually running down the street with a gun is a little different than someone with a skullcap quietly getting on a plane, I guess I can see his point? I mean sort of? Maybe not really?

How's about you?