The Juan Williams moment, prompted by Bill O'Reilly, who just a few days earlier, had this immensely more dramatic-looking moment on "The View":
I got to the Juan Williams video via Donald Sensing (via Instapundit). Sensing has old quotes from Jesse Jackson and Susan Estrich, who both conceded that black men make them anxious in some situations. Jackson's painful admission was that he feels "relieved" when he's walking down the street, hears someone behind him, and looks back and sees that they're white. Estrich said:
Every woman I know, black, white, green or yellow, gets a little bit nervous, if she’s being honest, when she sees an 18-25 year-old black guy dressed in gang attire, walking behind her on the street. I’m not afraid of old black men. I’m not afraid of old white men.She purports to speak for all women, but limits the nervousness to encounters with "an 18-25 year-old black guy dressed in gang attire, walking behind her on the street." It's funny to see those 2 quotes together. Jackson describes the realistic situation of hearing someone behind you and looking back to see who it is. Estrich too has the person walking behind her, but somehow the nervousness is restricted to the young black man in gang clothes. Her political correctness made her layer in extra details, but if the guy is behind you, you don't see him yet. Were you not nervous just to have someone following you? The supposed revelation of feelings doesn't really add up, which makes the phrase "if she’s being honest" particularly telling.
Now, if Jackson and Estrich could say that, how was Williams different? Actually, there are a lot of differences. I won't try to list them all. But I don't assume that Jackson and Estrich got a free pass for saying what they said. And Williams has gotten a ton of support. It's not all about treating Muslims with more delicacy than black people receive. One thing about Williams is that he made himself available to Bill O'Reilly and gave him support and comfort. I think many people wanted to use that "View" fracas to demonize O'Reilly for good. And then Williams sat down on camera to shine a glow of humanity on the man the good people would have us see as monstrous. And so it became necessary to demonize Williams too.