No one wants to be profiled.
New Yorkers, while condemning GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's suggestion that all Muslims be banned from entering the United States "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," are afraid that others will stereotype Americans and New Yorkers as intolerant or stupid.
Elizabeth Zalarick, 31, a wholesale beer saleswoman from Sunset Park, said Trump's comments (Tuesday he predicted "many more World Trade Centers" if Muslims weren't banned) were a betrayal both of our national identity and New York City's self pride as a diverse and welcoming "melting pot" of different immigrants.
"He's not the voice of this city! He's so out of touch with everything!" Zalarick said while standing in the shadow of the Trump International Hotel & Tower at Columbus Circle yesterday.
"I don't want to be represented as an American" by someone espousing such fear and hatred, she said.
"To have someone so high-profile saying these things is an embarrassment to me personally, and for all Americans," said Joe Sommo, 30, a school communications director from Astoria, Queens.
"Any reasonable person would conclude you can't base your opinion on a whole group of people on a small group of radicals," and Trump's prescription to increase domestic security "fuels the fire around the world for people to ridicule" the U.S., he said.
Even NYC's Republicans were shuddering. People all over the world idealize and want to emulate the U.S., but "Donald Trump kills that," said Gregory Rusek, 44, a Republican construction worker and real estate salesman originally from Poland. Rusek, who now lives in Ridgewood, Queens, described Trump's anti-immigrant rants as "stupid" and said they did his political party no favors.
Some of NYC's Muslims had more immediate concerns. "I want to get my brother out of Guinea. That's going to be difficult" if anti-Muslim sentiment such as that expressed by Trump affects immigration policy, said Ibrahim Berete, 20, who lives in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.
"I'm afraid. I don't want him to be president," Berete said.