Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On not getting it

In a weekend interview with the Boston Globe plugging his joint appearance with Ann Coulter on Tuesday, Bill Maher had this to say:
Q. About the only thing you two might agree on is profiling at airports. You think there should be some form.

A. All police work is profiling. No policeman would say you can do your job without profiling. It just means some people are more likely to commit a crime. In the case of the airports, a young Muslim man who is shaking and sweating is a little more likely than a toddler or a grandmother.
Of course police work involves "profiling," you twit, in exactly the same way that every human encounter involves profiling, involves making judgments about the other person. The issue is the basis on which those judgments are made.

No one would object, I expect, to a passenger who acted jumpy and nervous arousing some suspicion because that "profiling" is based on their behavior - that is, the suspicion is directed against that individual, not some category to which they belong. Even granting the arguing by extremes that "young men" are more likely to be criminals than "toddlers and grandmothers," the fact is, you didn't say "a young man who is shaking and sweating" and you sure as flaming hell didn't say "a young white man" or "a young Christian man," you said "a young Muslim man."

Which means, you moron, you just declared that being a Muslim makes you more likely to be a criminal! That being Muslim is a proper basis for arousing suspicion among and being targeted by security guards.

That is a definition of racial profiling, you jackass. It's exactly what the complaints are about.

Oh, and by the way, just how do you know this young man is a Muslim? By his clothing? Hey, maybe he's wearing a turban - even though in that case he's far more likely to be a Sikh. Or is it just the color of his skin?

What's that? No, of course I haven't forgotten that it was Muslims who carried out 9/11. Don't be stupid. But then let me ask you: Was Eric Rudolph a Muslim? Was Timothy McVeigh? Terry Nichols? William Krar? And that's without even getting into attacks not involving the US.

Bill Maher, you can be funny, but that unctious smirk of yours just lost a lot of its appeal.

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