Every once in a while, I find myself on Fox News and have to admit that I’m glad I’m there. Fox is sort of like Arlington or Alexandria for me — over the river — when I spend most of my time in DC Central. It’s a good thing to hear what others are thinking and how they are framing policy challenges, and I get a feel for this when I hang out in the Fox green room where I’ve met Gary Bauer, talked with Bill Kristol, David Frum, and yes, Juan Williams.
I don’t know Williams very well — but remember when he worked hard with the Hitachi Foundation and other Japanese firms I had partnered with in the 1980s to reverse growing anti-black bigotry that was rising in Japan.
It would have been very easy to imagine Japanese business executives or regular Japanese expatriots who had moved to Southern California and were getting their first dose of street crime, petty theft, and gang violence to say something like:
I get worried and nervous when I see black people walking my direction, or in the supermarket or in my children’s school…
This was the kind of bigotry, softly deployed, that Juan Williams went to Japan to try and reverse. In Los Angeles, he spoke for me at a major forum on race, identity and understanding sponsored by the Hitachi Foundation and Japan America Society of Southern California.
That’s why his comments about Muslims are so disheartening.
— Steve Clemons