Juan Williams: ‘I Get Nervous Walking Past Young Black Men’

Is there anyone he isn't afraid of?

By Jorge Rivas Mar 22, 2011

Juan Williams, the former NPR employee who was fired for saying Muslims on planes make him nervous, is at it again. This time he’s admitted that young black men make him nervous, too.

"Let me just tell you, with the amount of black on black crime in America, I get nervous and I’m a black man," said Williams, who was guest hosting "The O’Reilly Factor." He was debating with guest Caroline Helmand, a political science professor at Occidental College, about using federal funds for NPR. 

The House voted on March 17 to bar NPR from receiving federal funding. NPR does not receive any direct funding from the federal government, but rather competes for grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and other federal agencies; those grants accounts for roughly 2 percent of NPR’s funding, according to the network. Member stations, however, rely more heavily on Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants.

The discussion about funding NPR at one point moved to Williams’ dismissal and then the coversation really got heated. Helmand compared his statement about Muslims to someone like herself, a white woman, saying she clutches her purse every time she walks by a black man. That set Williams off.

"If you saw a couple of young guys walking around looking like thugs out in the street late at night, you’re saying you’re not going to think it through?" Willliams asked Helmand.

Then they just went at it.

Helmand: "There we go again, Juan. I would find that to be racial profiling, that’s a bigoted comment."

Williams: "That’s a bigoted comment?"

Helmand: "Yes it is. Just like your comment about Muslims."

Williams: "I’m the father of black young men and I’m saying that if you saw a couple guys walking around looking like thugs down the street late at night, you’re saying, ‘Oh, I’m not going to think it through.’ Caroline, I think you are way off base."

Read more at Business Insider. On Monday, Williams published an op-ed in The Hill calling for the feds to defund NPR. Adam Serwer probably tweeted it best: Is there anyone Juan Williams isn’t scared of?

This post has been updated since publication.