Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Juan Williams Gets Nervous Around Muslims

Islamophobia is commonly expressed in the media everyday; 9/11 is used to justify the bigotry.  What happened on that day was absolutely terrible, but it was not representative of all Muslims, nor was the U.S. completely an innocent victim.  Go ahead and take a big huge gasp.  Conservatives have a tendency to claim that liberals are forcing PC speech on them by demanding that they qualify their statements, because of the harmful stereotyping.  The only truth conservatives are interested in promoting, is that which marginalizes people.  If truth were really issue, they would spend time investigating why there is so much anti-American sentiment throughout the world.  Not everyone cried when the towers fell and there is a good reason for that.  The American empire has been cruel and oppressive and as it begins its decay, this has only multiplied.

The Muslim terrorist has become a common image presented to the media.  We are taught to fear Muslims wearing obvious expressions of their religion, particularly in places like airports, for example:




Transcript:
Political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality.  I mean look Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kinds of books that I have written about the civil rights movement in this country.  But when I get on a plane, I gotta tell you if I see people who are in Muslims garb and I think they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.  Now I remember also that when that Times Square bomber was in court, I think this was just last week he said, "The war with Muslims, Americas war with Muslims is just beginning - first drop of blood." I don't think that there's anyway to get away from these facts."
And Juan isn't a bigot, so we should take his commentary seriously.  The idea that Muslim and American are two mutually exclusive identities is patently untrue.  Islam does not stop at the borders of the United States.  There are people practicing Islam in each and every state, because Muslims are Americans.  The creation of Muslims as foreigners is specifically to "other" them and support the idea that they are a threat to the American way of life.  So much for the melting pot and freedom of religion I suppose. 

No matter how many times it has been made clear that the issue is radicalism or fundamentalism, universalizing those who practice Islam continues to be a common occurrence.  Christian fundamentalism though it has proven to be harmful repeatedly, is not seen the same way.  Christian fundamentalism is couched in pretty words like family values, though it really means the oppression of those who are not cisgender and straight and quite often it also serves to support patriarchy.  What's not to love; it's Christian? Fundamentalism leads to social decay and it is a problem no matter what group practices it, but Islam in and of itself should not equal terrorist or anti-American, unless you are committed to propping up a hierarchy of bodies.

Juan may feel unnecessary terror getting on a plane, but I wonder about how many experience fear when they enter a mosque because of the many attacks.  That's right, good ole fashioned Americans are committing terrorist acts when they attack mosques.  And certainly Americans shouldn't be afraid to enter federal buildings, because it was only a good ole fashioned, red white and blue White American man that was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.  What about Waco and Ruby Ridge?  I suppose stockpiling weapons doesn't count when Christian Americans are doing it. 

Personally, I think that as a Black man, that Juan Williams should be ashamed of what he said.  Considering that racism  is very much a part of American society, I find it hard to believe that he has not been subject to some sort of racial profiling.  To encourage this for other groups speaks of man who is looking to find someone lower on the hierarchical pyramid structure than himself to attack, to gain some sort of power.  Divide and conquer is exactly how the dominant bodies work and we are labouring for their benefit when marginalized groups attack each other. 

Finally, if you have to preface what you are saying with "I'm not a bigot," that should be a clear signal that you need to rethink what you are about to say.