A reader writes:
Dude, I'm not defending Juan Williams, but you are not making an apples-to-apples comparison when you equate being black with "wearing Muslim garb." Being black is not a choice. Wearing a hijab (or a yarmulke or a crucifix) most certainly is. Feeling uncomfortable in the company of people who are demonstrative about their religion may indeed qualify as bias, but it's just not the same as racial bigotry.
I'm basically with you on Juan Williams and his hypocrisy. But I'm surprised to see you so comfortable tossing around the notion of "anti-Muslim bigotry."
Unlike our skin color, say, or our sexual orientation, we get to choose which religion we follow, which by my lights - and I thought yours - frees up other people to disapprove of that choice, and to judge us for it, without being called "bigots." This, surely, is why the anti-gay right is so insistent that homosexuality is a choice, and why the gay-rights movement spends so much of its energy publicizing the fact that it isn't. Because in our society we're allowed to condemn and discriminate against people for their voluntary behavior and for the ideas to which they publicly subscribe. Surely if I'm allowed to look askance at neo-conservatives, or supply-siders, or 9/11 truthers or people with "Fuck" tattooed across their foreheads, I should also allowed to look askance at people who choose to be Muslims, or even Catholics.