Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fact-checking Sirota

From Salon (H.T.: Steve):

Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American

There is a double standard: White terrorists are dealt with as lone wolves, Islamists are existential threats


Every word of this is a lie.

As we now move into the official Political Aftermath period of the Boston bombing — the period that will determine the long-term legislative fallout of the atrocity — the dynamics of privilege will undoubtedly influence the nation’s collective reaction to the attacks. That’s because privilege tends to determine: 1) which groups are — and are not — collectively denigrated or targeted for the unlawful actions of individuals; and 2) how big and politically game-changing the overall reaction ends up being.

This has been most obvious in the context of recent mass shootings. In those awful episodes, a religious or ethnic minority group lacking such privilege would likely be collectively slandered and/or targeted with surveillance or profiling (or worse) if some of its individuals comprised most of the mass shooters. However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings — even though most come at the hands of white dudes.

In fact, although whites are no more likely to be mass shooters than their bare percentage of the population would predict, they are routinely and collectively blamed for all of them.

Likewise, in the context of terrorist attacks, such privilege means white non-Islamic terrorists are typically portrayed not as representative of whole groups or ideologies, but as “lone wolf” threats to be dealt with as isolated law enforcement matters.

In fact, the bodies of terror victims are barely cold before liberal politicians, usually in the teeth of the evidence, being blaming conservatives.

Meanwhile, non-white or developing-world terrorism suspects are often reflexively portrayed as representative of larger conspiracies, ideologies and religions that must be dealt with as systemic threats — the kind potentially requiring everything from law enforcement action to military operations to civil liberties legislation to foreign policy shifts.

In fact, Al Qaeda is, or was, a “larger conspiracy”, awash in Saudi money and ensconced in Islamic safe harbors, when they perpetrated the attacks on 9/11.  And all these “law enforcement actions, military operations, civil liberties legislations and foreign policy shifts” have served as a mainly temporary distraction from what our policy should have actually been:  the repatriation of all Muslims.

“White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for your group to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening or threatened with deportation,” writes author Tim Wise.

In fact, this sentence would literally be true if the the word “white” was replaced by “non-white”.

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