With the recent tragedy that was the Boston bombing, it’s no surprise the bigots have come out of the woodwork, specifically toward the people of Islam or those of Middle Eastern descent.
I am saying nothing against the families and friends of those harmed in the bombing. My deepest sympathies go to those families and friends. What I am speaking about is the blatant racism citizens of our country showed before the smoke was even clear.
Mere hours after the bombs went off, Twitter was alight with racist slander against the people of Islam and anyone of Middle Eastern descent.
Perhaps it started with the April 16 New York Post article, “FBI grills Saudi Man in Boston Bombing” by Larry Celona. No matter the catalyst for the racist slurs all over Twitter, Facebook and any other social media website, this needs to stop.
Being of Middle Eastern descent, I’ve seen this bigotry personally my entire life, starting with 9/11. At the tender age of 8, people were telling me to go home where I belong and that they didn’t want my kind in their country. Never mind that I was born and bred in Utah. Never mind that I’d had very little contact with my father, who is from Palestine.
It’s a personal matter when I see derogatory terms on my Facebook and Twitter feed. I’ve gotten requests from former Facebook friends asking me to join a “Kill the Arabs” group. I say former because after I reported the page, I deleted and blocked them without another thought.
This racism is born out of ignorance. People never think terrorist attacks can come from white Americans. Never mind the Unabomber, who mailed homemade bombs to people. Let’s forget about 2009’s “Fight Club Bomber,” who was a 17-year-old white male who set off an explosion in a Manhattan coffee shop.
Despite the many white-only terrorist groups listed on the FBI’s domestic terrorism watch list, like the Aryan Nation, Army of God or the Phineas Priesthood, if you ask a stranger on the street about terrorist attacks, he or she is going to immediately say Al-Qaeda, or rather, the Muslims.
In the case of the Boston bombing, both suspects have been identified by law enforcement officials and family members as two ethnic Chechen brothers. They were not Middle Eastern.
This blatant racism is ridiculous. For a society in the 21st century with no real reason why we should hate another culture, we sure hate a lot of people. Just because someone has a different culture, skin color or sexual orientation than us doesn’t make that person dangerous to us.
The key to overcoming this racism is to learn about a different culture. In this case, learn about Middle Eastern culture and the religion of Islam. If you did, you’d realize that most of the people who identified as Islamic and/or Middle Eastern aren’t out to harm you, just like most of the people who identify as white Americans aren’t out to hurt you. The majority of the people you label automatically as terrorists have nothing to do with bombings.
So, open your mind and learn. Stop hating people based on ignorant fears and try to understand them.