Previous: John Gets a Tattoo
Next: Is Poverty Necessary? Looking back at the Millennium Development Goals



View count:525,940
Last sync:2023-01-20 09:30
When I first thought maybe I would make this video I typed "Muslims Aren't Dangerous" into Google to see what other people had written on the subject, or if maybe I was imagining the need for this discussion, but all I found was article after article about how dangerous Muslims are. It was so sad, so discouraging, so angering. I would read those articles and find myself, not usually, but occasionally saying "Well, I suppose you do have a point" but, of course, they didn't. They were highlighting my own ignorances and bias...we know so little of each other...but what I have found is that the vast majority of people are good, and this debate rests wholly on the idea that that is not true of Muslims.

Many people have begun to believe that in this country and it terrifies me, because it is based on nothing except fear and prejudice.

Subscribe to our newsletter!
And join the community at
Help transcribe videos -
John's twitter -
John's tumblr -
Hank's twitter -
Hank's tumblr -
Good Morning John.

So it's a little shocking to me and like a lot of other people that a fourteen year old kid in a NASA shirt brought a clock that he built to school to show his engineering teacher and was arrested and taken to a juvenile detention center.

But then on the other hand, its not shocking because Ahmed Mohamed name is Ahmed Mohamed and he is Muslim. And many people in America are afraid of Muslims. Now I'm not going to make a video here about how the vast vast vast majority of Muslims just like any other broad diverse group of people are good people.

Two reasons for that: first, finding these statistics on the internet that make this very clear is pretty easy. Second, making a video defending Muslims would ignore the actual problem which is the bias and the fear mongering that creates suspicion and hatred and those things are our problems.

And our problems we can deal with so much more easily than trying to deal with other people's problems, especially when those problems are imagined. Now of course, its not super comfortable to recognize your own problems and it doesn't make you feel all good which is why this video is not gonna go super viral. But since it is the actual problem, and also one that we can deal with conceivably since we are the ones with the problem, that's what I want to make the video about.

So why do so many Americans, including, I'll be honest sometimes myself, fall into this fear trap? First, because its just impossible to know everything about everyone and though Muslims have been in America since America existed, they are a significant minority, less than 1%. 

So most Americans simply don't know much about Muslims or the Islamic faith. But we do hear about Muslims fairly regularly on the news, and we hear about the scariest Muslims in the world.

So if you're expected to have an idea of what Muslim people are like and this is the only input you're getting, you're gonna have a really messed up idea. It's an easy mistake for the brain to make, but it is a huge mistake, because we know nothing!

An example: What percentage of Muslims would you say live in the Middle East? 80%? 85%? That's what I would've said before starting to research this video. How about 20%? 60% of Muslims live in Asia.

The single country with the largest Muslim population? Indonesia. If we are ignorant of such a basic fact, how could we consider ourselves qualified to make sweeping generalizations about a broad and diverse group of people?

Once these negative ideas are set up in our brain, they can be easily reinforced in people who are motivated by fear and outrage. Those people watch other people on TV who professionally cultivate outrage and fear because it's good for ratings, and that fear then prevents conversations and causes the majority to isolate Muslims from their broader communities by doing thing like for example arresting a kid for bringing a clock to class.

So the fear builds on itself until what was once ignorance and became fear eventually becomes hatred. And once you hate someone, they know it. Muslims in America are certainly not ignorant of the hatred and the discrimination, but Muslims in other countries aren't ignorant of the more extreme American views, either.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that in the same way that we are mostly just about scary Muslims on American news, in other countries they hear mostly about the scariest versions of Americans. And if people in other countries are gonna put us in a little box, which they are bound to do because no one can know everything about everyone, what little box do we want to get put into? Do we want to be in the "hates Muslims" box, or do we want to be in the "values religious freedom and provides opportunities for people who seek it" box.

I think we should fight that fear. I think we can fight that fear and the only way to do it, the only place to do it is up here. It's right in here. John, I'll see you on Tuesday.