1.31.2008

Xenophobia, An Incurable Disease?

Lately I have been mulling over a few comments made, usually in passing about my picture. It sparked the need to reexamine xenophobia and racism in modern day America, and why it won't seem to go away.

When the country wasn't even a country it was the Native Americans that caught our hatred of all things different. Then it was ever increasing minority groups, typically immigrants or slaves, coming here for opportunities (or because they were the opportunity). African Americans, Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Japanese...they all took their turn at the whipping post. So too, did homosexuals, and Pagans and Communists or Socialists.

Today, however, it's Muslims, or anyone who even looks like they might be from the Middle East really, who are being regularly whipped.

Think about this, look at my photo, and ask yourself what you see. Many people haven't said a word about it because to them, it probably doesn't matter. To some, I have been told that I look like a ninja, and as a joke at that. Others understand this is typical protest gear for a person of my political persuasion. Or that it is a social statement. The average person who doesn't know, but isn't a racist simply asks what it is, or what it means.

There have been a handful of people however, that immediately think "terrorist". This bothers me for a number of reasons, the fact that I'm not a terrorist is the least of all to boot. (I know what I am and what I stand for, thats not why it bothers me so). Part of it is that the association of terrorist is also typically paired with some derogatory epithet, such as "camel turd, camel jockey, towel head or sand n****r" and so on. So the association isn't one that is based only on appearance, but mainly on bias. I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with a viable explanation as to why this thought process is inherently racist, and what needs to be done about this. Because apparently, there are a great deal of folks out there who don't seem to understand that it is, in fact, racist. Tell me what you think about this for an explanation;

What you see - a covered face
What you know - some Muslims cover their face
What you're told - the majority of terrorists are Muslim

What you assume - a covered face means a Muslim person, and terrorists are Muslim therefore, you are a terrorist.

Why this is racist;

Not all Muslims cover their face, and not all covered faces are done so for cultural or religious reasons.

You're told that most terrorists are Muslims, not that most Muslims are terrorists. Yet, that connection is made anyway.

Therefore, you assume that a covered face means a person is Muslim, and therefore they must be a terrorist. Which positions all Muslims as terrorists, and starts the racist propaganda machine.


This, at least to me, is a major problem because it is perpetuating the "red scare" all over again, but this time aimed at a group of people who can be identified by ethnicity alone. Not to mention the fact that the red scare is still alive and well, at least in some folk's minds. It is doubly scary because otherwise intelligent people are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

Do we really need another group of people to hate? Furthermore, is hatred really that hard for people to see that it requires an explanation?

12 comments:

RickB said...

It's also wildly dumb, like the UK police who executed a Brazilian man, they are assigning 'turist' to ...well anyone not white and of vague resemblance to a middle eastern person. When in fact Islam is a religion and any ethnicity can believe, thus if they were hard-working informed bigots they should be afraid/prejudiced against...anyone because in their worldview muslim=turist, well anyone can be a muslim. So... do they want this 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' Reds Under The Bed scenario? Or are they happy with the vague uninformed bigotry, to find another fictional reason to assign their hatred to non-whites, who are not imperial allies and play suckers on the paranoia grift which lets the authorities get away with everything.

Scumbag politician's love a good 'fureners' threat (which in western dominant white patriarchy means anyone not of the ruling class really, domestically lefties, minorities will all feel the enmity from them). It's called misdirection, any half-way decent conjurer knows the tactic well. Plus if you want to steal someone's shit, having zero respect for your target's humanity and in fact creating hatred for the target is also a common ruse. Together they work to varying degrees at home & abroad as the kleptocrats rob everything that isn't nailed down (and even then they have crowbars).

And as for the picture, I just thought- nice eyes.

ps. the most recent (2006) European survey of terror attacks found of 498 attacks, Islamist terrorists were behind...are you ready? Big drum roll....1 and erm, no one died.

enigma4ever said...

sigh....Hatemongers are alive and well...and yes, not even all are Repugs...sad isn't it ? so sorry friend....

I wish it was soooo different..

Dave Dubya said...

To a large extent, xenophobia is culturally and socially ingrained. It is nearly always reinforced by leaders who need "others" to focus their people's fear and anxieties on in order to retain power.

Then there is the disease of false nationalistic pride that allows the masses to feel superior to everyone else.

Couple these factors with the general sense of low self esteem in most people that easily feeds into pride, prejudice, fear and bigotry.

It's rooted in the lizard brains of emotionally reactive people.

The only cure is education, exposure, and a willingness to accept reason over emotion to guide attitudes toward others.

I guess that explains why xenophobia is here to stay.

theoffendedblogger said...

So...you are not really a ninja? I am so disappointed!! :p

Larry said...

I must not pay attention as I never thought about the picture.

enigma4ever said...

I too just thought you were a ninja...and as cold and crappy as it has been here I was ready to ask where I could get the head gear....

( Larry- you are too funny- you didn't notice because she is covered up....now Ms Offendedblogger above in her "ballet "outfit , I bet you remembered her?)

theoffendedblogger said...

lol! I'm a ballerina? I never noticed. :o

Daniel Owen said...

i thought you just didn't want your face seen! though i wouldn't want to share a picture with my eyes in plain sight - they can identify eyes quite easily.

stay safe. stay private. stay the fuck away from the state...

Anok said...

LOL! Thanks for all the replies, and thanks for helping me make my point. The bloggers that I interact with on a regular basis because their socio-political stances closely reflect my own seem not to have a racist bone in their collective body, and didn't even associate my picture with the image of a terrorist.

Offended Blogger, I'm not really a ninja, but I do have a green belt in tung su do and novice experience with ninjitsus, if that makes you feel better! And um, I hadn't thought of you as a ballerina either, but maybe thats because I've been reading your blog LOL.

I thought you were a 50's era beach babe Barbie doll....

Dave, Larry, Daniel, you are all right. Enigma, you too...and you can get the cold weather gear at any local sports shop, its juts a neck warmer and hat! (In warm comfy fleece to boot).

RickB, I have a funny story about teh "nice eyes" comment. I had one of these hardcore right-wingers attacking my "turrurist" attire, but he did say I had nice eyes, until he realized that I was a full grown woman, and not a 13 year old boy!! Then he took the compliment back LMAO!!!!

No joke LOL.

Anon-Paranoid said...

anok...
Nah...Your not a terrorists. And though its true you only show your eyes don't mean your a terrorist.

In fact you don't see my face in my profile, but an avatar and very little face shown.

Also I did a post entitled I Am An Enemy Combatant for I like many others oppose Der Fuhrer Adolph Bush and his Nazi Gestapo.

Now I gotta go hide for awhile. I hear noise on the web.

God Bless.

RickB said...

A right-winger grooming a 13 yr old boy? Could never happen!

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