Roland Martin and the Washington Watch roundtable discuss if there is a danger to racially profiling Muslims.
This week’s Washington Watch roundtable features Angela Rye, co-founder and principal at IMPACT Strategies; political consultant Raynard Jackson; Michelle Bernard, president and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women; and Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for Atlantic Live.
MR. MARTIN: Welcome back to “Washington Watch.”
My producer Jay put together this compilation of various comments we saw on Fox News dealing with Muslims as well as around this whole Boston bombing. Check this out.
[BEGIN FOX VIDEO MONTAGE]
MR. BOB BECKEL: Let me just say this about the access that Muslims have in this country, whether they’re American Muslims, or whether they’re here on a student visa. It is enormous the access that they have, and it is virtually all radical.
MR. NEIL CAVUTO: Senator, very quickly, there are some who are getting very leery of all the Muslim students in America.
MR. BILL O’REILLY: What other theology in this world justifies murdering innocent people? The answer is only radical Islam allows terror murder. That’s the truth.
MR. ERIC BOLLING: He’s also very dangerous. He’s kind of been like the Muslim apologist in Congress for a long time. He swore – he raised his right hand and took the oath of office on the Qur’an, if you remember, in 2007 – Keith Ellison did.
I think it’s time for profiling, though – don’t you, Ang[?]? I think it’s time for profiling, because –
MS. ANDREA TANTAROS: I do.
[END OF VIDEO MONTAGE]
MR. MARTIN: You know, it still amazes me, because we celebrated this week the eighteenth anniversary of the bombing in Oklahoma City, and if I had to use this whole profiling call to action, every white guy with a crew cut should be profiled in America, because that was Timothy McVeigh.
And so what does it say [that] anytime there’s this kind of attack, we don’t look at it as simply that individual? All of a sudden, it becomes, “Oh. Every Muslim in America, in the world should be watched.”
MR. JACKSON: I take a slightly different angle on that issue, Roland. I think we should profile our immigration policy relative to certain countries. Why would you allow someone from Chechnya to become a citizen, or even to immigrate to the U.S.? We know where radical Muslim comes from [sic]. We know were terrorists come from: Yemen, Somalia, Chechnya. Why would you even have them in the country?
So, our immigration policy is not a right to a foreigner; it is –
MR. JACKSON: — a privilege.
MR. CLEMONS: [Crosstalk] – there are good Chechens. There are brilliant Chechens.
MR. CLEMONS: There are –
MR. JACKSON: But we – we –
MR. CLEMONS: — good Somalis. There –
MR. JACKSON: — [crosstalk] – put –
MR. CLEMONS: — are good Yemenis.
MR. JACKSON: — our country at risk.
MR. CLEMONS: No, no, no. That is ridiculous. That is rid- —
OFF CAMERA: It’s absolutely –
MR. CLEMONS: — that is –
OFF CAMERA: — ridiculous.
MR. CLEMONS: — absolutely ridiculous, and –
MR. JACKSON: We profile already!
MR. CLEMONS: — no.
MR. JACKSON: It’s called being black!
MS. RYE: It’s called –
MR. CLEMONS: No, no. And that –
MS. RYE: It’s not okay to[?] –
MR. CLEMONS: — is wrong.
MS. BERNARD: Exactly.
MS. RYE: — extend that same –
MR. CLEMONS: That is actually –
MS. RYE: — type of profiling –
MR. CLEMONS: — wrong.
MS. RYE: — for other people, whether it’s based on religion, ethnicity –
MR. CLEMONS: You know –
MS. RYE: — or gender, or some –
MR. JACKSON: Being an American –
MS. RYE: — other factor.
MR. JACKSON: — is a privilege – not a right –
MS. RYE: That’s – [crosstalk] –
MR. JACKSON: — so we can put whatever st- –
MS. RYE: — get to snatch it away –
MR. JACKSON: — yes, we ca- —
MS. RYE: — [crosstalk] –
MR. JACKSON: — yeah, we can.
MS. RYE: — [crosstalk] – folks back –
MS. BERNARD: We are a –
MS. RYE: — where they come from.
MS. BERNARD: — nation of immigrants. That is how –
MR. CLEMONS: From all over the world –
MS. BERNARD: — we are a nation of immigrants –
MR. CLEMONS: — the poorest –
MS. BERNARD: — from all over the world.
MR. CLEMONS: — parts of the world.
MR. JACKSON: Okay. So, why does the –
MS. BERNARD: [Crosstalk] – it’s –
MR. JACKSON: — State Department issue travel advisories telling me not to go to certain countries?
MS. BERNARD: — because it’s dangerous!
MS. RYE: [Laughs.]
MR. CLEMONS: Because there are dangers – [crosstalk] – society –
MS. BERNARD: Exactly!
MR. JACKSON: Right. So, why –
MR. CLEMONS: — just like –
MR. JACKSON: — do I want them to have the opportunity to immigrate –
MS. BERNARD: Because it’s not –
MR. JACKSON: — and become a citizen?
MS. BERNARD: — it’s not all of them.
MS. RYE: Right.
MR. CLEMONS: What you’re doing is you are engaging in the same application to a broad cross-section of people. Your concern’s about a small group of people. American society, Muslim societies in the Arab world, Muslim societies in the Asian world; Chinese society; Japanese society, even, have segments of violence. They may have people that have agendas that they want to push.
That doesn’t mean that I think the Yakuza define all of Japan; or, that, you know, narco crime in Hong Kong and China defines all Chinese. It’s not — I have been through the Middle East, and there are people who are great adherents of civil society, proponents of democracy, proponents of human rights; and I want their smartest, best people from those countries to come –
MR. JACKSON: But if – [crosstalk] –
MR. CLEMONS: — train in the United States –
MR. JACKSON: — we can –
MR. CLEMONS: — and I want the best people to come –
MR. JACKSON: — we can put whatever requirement for entry into this country. And if we know Musl- — I mean terrorists come from certain countries, why would you allow that –
MR. CLEMONS: It’s a false –
MR. JACKSON: — [crosstalk]?
MR. CLEMONS: — it’s a false correlation!
MS. BERNARD: Look, go back –
MR. CLEMONS: You’re saying that Muslims are terrorists, and that’s absolutely –
MR. JACKSON: No, no, no.
MR. CLEMONS: — not true.
MR. JACKSON: No. We know what countries most of these terrorists are coming from.
MS. RYE: That’s not true!
MS. BERNARD: No, but it’s – but look.
MS. RYE: That’s not even true!
MS. BERNARD: Here’s the deal. We have a very large Islamic population that lives in Michigan, that lives in Tennessee, that lives in South Carolina, that lives all over the country; and most of these people are law-abiding people who –
OFF CAMERA: That’s right.
MS. BERNARD: — have come to the United States because they believe in freedom, and they believe in democracy. And for them, it is no different than you, as a black man, walking down the street, and a cab driver looking at you and saying, “He’s a danger. I’m not going to pick him up.”
So, when these women go, for example, and they send their children to school, and you might have a [hijab], or an abaya that you’re wearing; or, you’re dressed a certain way, and people look at you and automatically think that you’re a jihadist, it’s wrong. And as a people, we have faced that kind of discrimination. We can’t condone it!
MR. JACKSON: So, you-all don’t accept the premise that terrorists come from certain countries: Yemen, Somalia –
MR. JACKSON: — Saudi Arabia?
MS. BERNARD: And – and the –
MS. RYE: And the United States –
MS. BERNARD: — United States!
MS. RYE: — of America.
MS. BERNARD: And the United –
MS. RYE: So, should –
MS. BERNARD: — States.
MS. RYE: — we deport everybody that we think –
MS. RYE: — might be?
MR. CLEMONS: They’re in Peru.
MR. JACKSON: No, no. Certain countries –
MR. CLEMONS: They’re in Mexico.
MR. JACKSON: — should – certain countries should be at the lowest level of –
MR. JACKSON: — immigration.
MR. CLEMONS: I disagree.
MS. RYE: So, define “homegrown terror for me.”
MR. MARTIN: Okay. So – so –
MS. RYE: Define “homegrown terror” for me. What –
MR. MARTIN: — so – [crosstalk] –
MS. RYE: — do you do with the homegrown terrorists?
MR. MARTIN: — so, if the United States consistently says that the Chinese are stealing our secrets, are you saying that the United States should not let anyone from China into America because they might then begin to cyber-terrorize America?
MR. JACKSON: Oh, I have no problem with that because, again, coming to the U.S. is a privilege – no- — you are acting like these are citizens.
MS. RYE: No! Excuse me!
MR. JACKSON: It’s a privilege to –
MR. JACKSON: — come to the U.S.
MS. RYE: Wait. Wait. Hold on!
MR. CLEMONS: You are –
MS. RYE: Let me just –
MR. CLEMONS: — you are –
MS. RYE: — let me say this, because this is extremely –
MR. JACKSON: I worked in –
MS. RYE: — powerful[?].
MR. JACKSON: — foreign policy!
MS. RYE: That’s fine. And I worked on homeland security for four years!
The problem with your argument, sir, is that you are making a hasty overgeneralization about a whole cadre of people. You cannot do that. Black man – there’s Trayvon Martin. That’s what happened, and that’s why he lost his life. There’s Rodney King. That’s why he got beat almost to a bloody –
MS. RYE: — pulp.
MR. JACKSON: [Crosstalk] –
MS. RYE: No, no, no, no, no.
MR. JACKSON: — talking about –
MS. RYE: What I’m tell- —
MR. JACKSON: — foreign countries.
MS. RYE: — what you’re missing, though, is the direct correction and the clear parallel to profiling and why it’s dangerous. You cannot just define –
MR. JACKSON: When it comes to our immigration policy –
MS. RYE: — no!
MR. JACKSON: — we should profile!
MS. RYE: No, you should not profile!
MR. JACKSON: [Crosstalk] – is a privilege – not a right!
MS. RYE: [Crosstalk] – talking point. That is ridiculous! Of course it’s privilege.
MR. JACKSON: How do you figure that?
MS. RYE: Of course it’s a privilege, but what is –
MR. JACKSON: I have a –
MS. RYE: — not okay –
MR. JACKSON: — right to invite anybody into my –
MS. RYE: — no –
MR. JACKSON: — house that I want.
MS. RYE: — that’s fine. However –
MR. JACKSON: And we have a right –
MS. RYE: — guess what?
MR. JACKSON: — to invite in our country –
MS. RYE: And that’s why I want –
MR. JACKSON: — anybody we want.
MS. RYE: — you to tell me about homegrown terror. Then what do you do?
MR. JACKSON: That has nothing to do with –
MS. RYE: It abs- –
MR. JACKSON: — my argument.
MS. RYE: — it has everything to do with that argument.
MR. JACKSON: Homegrown terrorists are –
MS. RYE: It is –
MR. JACKSON: — citizens.
MS. RYE: — fundamentally flawed.
MR. JACKSON: We could determine who comes into our country and who can’t.
MS. RYE: What I’m telling you is your argument is flawed –
MR. JACKSON: Well, where is the flaw?
MS. RYE: — if there are –
MR. CLEMONS: [Crosstalk] –
MS. RYE: — [crosstalk] –
MR. JACKSON: Where’s the flaw?
MR. MARTIN: Steve.
MR. CLEMONS: The United States is one of the greatest engines in the world for bringing the smart talent from the rest of the world, giving them an opportunity in the United States, working, or sending to U.S. universities. Some of those smart people stay here, and then part of them take our DNA back to their countries. We have five times more Saudis in the United States today in colleges and universities than we did on 9/11.
I’d like to see it ten times more, because they’re learning about culture, about liberalism, about women’s rights and going back. That is the kind of engine. If you begin wholesale blocking on a racist, or ethnic, or national dimension, you undermine –
MR. JACKSON: But when you let –
MR. CLEMONS: — what the mystique of the –
MR. JACKSON: — someone in from Yemen –
MR. CLEMONS: — nation is –
MR. JACKSON: — [crosstalk] –
MR. CLEMONS: — I would let a thousand, 10,000 –
MR. JACKSON: Oh, really?
MR. CLEMONS: — 100,000 in from Yemen.
MS. BERNARD: Let me just throw out a very simplistic stereotype.
MS. RYE: Please.
MS. BERNARD: Suppose someone says, “All white people are meth heads and eventually become Jeffrey Dahmers and eat body parts. So, let’s not allow any white people from Europe [to] come to the United States – because they might be meth heads.”
MR. JACKSON: No, but do we have a body of evidence to support that premise?
MR. MARTIN: All right. All right.
MR. MARTIN: Okay. Hold on.
MR. MARTIN: Hold on. Okay, Raynard. You’re a black man. Should we allow any white males from Germany to migrate to America, because they might be neo-Nazis?
MR. JACKSON: No, no. I’m not saying “might be.” I’m saying –
MR. MARTIN: No, no.
MR. JACKSON: — there’s a body of evidence. We –
MR. MARTIN: No, no, no. Wait. Wait. Wait –
MR. JACKSON: — know where terrorists come from.
MR. MARTIN: — wait. But here’s the deal, though. So, you’re saying that anybody and everybody from Yemen is a terrorist.
MR. JACKSON: No, no. I’m saying –
MR. MARTIN: Wait. Wait.
MR. JACKSON: — we know that they produce –
MR. MARTIN: No, no. No, no.
MR. JACKSON: — a lot of terrorists.
MR. MARTIN: No, no.
MR. JACKSON: So, since being an American is a privilege –
MR. CLEMONS: Are they the Indonesians? Are they the Vietnamese? Are they Mexicans? Are they –
MS. RYE: Talk about Somalia[?] –
MR. CLEMONS: — Peruvians? All of these –
MS. RYE: — [crosstalk].
MR. CLEMONS: — have active and international – I mean in the –
MS. RYE: Nigerians.
MR. CLEMONS: — case of Peru and –
MS. RYE: Right.
MR. CLEMONS: — Mexico and Venezuela, we’ve got active cases of extraterritorial terrorism in the U.S. Would you –
MR. JACKSON: [Crosstalk] –
MR. CLEMONS: — block all of those people?
MR. JACKSON: — we[’ve] got to have a strategy –
MR. CLEMONS: Why are you targeting –
MR. JACKSON: — we have to have a pecking order, because being an American citizen is a privilege –
MR. CLEMONS: — that’s a – [crosstalk] – comment.
MR. JACKSON: — not a right.
MR. CLEMONS: That’s –
MS. RYE: You need to find –
MR. CLEMONS: — a silly comment.
MS. RYE: — another talking point. Like, don’t keep saying that –
MR. JACKSON: Because, obviously, you’re –
MS. RYE: — “being an American” –
MR. JACKSON: — not getting the point!
MS. RYE: No! Obviously, you’re not getting –
MR. CLEMONS: [Crosstalk] – assertion –
MS. RYE: — the point. Your argument –
MR. CLEMONS: — [crosstalk] – make any sense.
MS. RYE: — is flawed. We —
MR. JACKSON: You don’t agree that –
MS. RYE: — should move on!
MR. JACKSON: — Saudi Arabia produces a lot of terrorists? Yemen –
MS. RYE: There are a lot of countries –
MR. JACKSON: — Somalia –
MS. RYE: — sir, that you don’t even know that produce terrorists.
MR. JACKSON: — name ’em.
MS. RYE: What I’m –
MR. JACKSON: Name ’em.
MS. RYE: — what I’m telling you is –
MR. JACKSON: Name ’em.
MS. RYE: — what I’m telling you – I’m in the middle of my point. You said –
MR. JACKSON: Name ’em.
MS. RYE: — the same thing five times. I got this.
My point is that if you just wholeheartedly dismiss entire countries based on their ability to produce terrorists, you have a huge problem. America is known as a “melting pot” – I like to call it jambalaya – for a reason. We are a bunch of different people with a bunch of different experiences, whether they’re religious, racial, ethnic – whatever. And we don’t get to just summarily dismiss people –
MR. JACKSON: Yes, we –
MS. RYE: — based on the –
MR. JACKSON: — do.
MS. RYE: — no, we don’t –
MR. JACKSON: Yes –
MS. RYE: — based on –
MR. JACKSON: — we do.
MS. RYE: — the fact that you think terrorism exists there. They may not have touched terrorism in their lifetime – [crosstalk] –
MR. JACKSON: I’m not willing to expose my family –
MS. RYE: That is crazy!
MR. JACKSON: — to the possibility of –
MS. RYE: [Crosstalk.]
MR. JACKSON: — someone who has a body of work of being a terrorist.
MS. RYE: You –
MR. MARTIN: Michelle.
MS. RYE: — don’t have that.
MR. MARTIN: Michelle, final point.
MS. BERNARD: Final point: you – your argument opens the floodgates for any person that has any kind of racist sentiment –
MS. RYE: That’s right.
MS. BERNARD: — whatsoever in this country to openly discriminate against you and to say, “It’s okay to do so, because the black man I saw on ‘Washington Watch’ said it’s okay.”
MR. JACKSON: Naw[?].
MR. MARTIN: Angela, Raynard, Michelle, Steve, we appreciate it. Thanks a bunch.
MR. CLEMONS: Thank you.
MR. MARTIN: See? I didn’t need to talk on the panel. I have no voice, so keep y’all talkin’.