Racial profiling, terrorists attacks, and wingnuts August 12, 2006Posted by Evil Bender in bigotry, Terrorism, wingnuts.
There’s been some buzz on right-wing blogs recently suggesting that we should start (continue) profiling Muslims in order to fight terrorism. The argument goes that so many terrorists are Muslims that we should single them out for special attention because a muslim is much more likely to be a terrorist. But it’s not much of an argument, and there’s a lot of assumptions behind it that are not merely dangerous, but potentially fatal to a democracy.
Let’s take a look at a particularly enlightening example of this kind of thinking.
I don’t care what kind of religion Islam is “suppossed” to be, and I don’t care what percentage of Middle-Easterners are perfectly innocent hard-working law abiding citizens. And I don’t think our government should be wasting it’s time trying to find out. Middle-Eastern Muslims sure as hell aren’t wasting their time distinguishing between Americans or Brittons or Spainards or Israelis while they’re blowing up our buildings and buses and trains and airplanes.
This is the assumption that drives so much profiling nonsense. It doesn’t matter to those who propose this plan how innocent anyone might be: so long as we can identify them with a group we don’t like, assuming that they are guilty (by virtue of treating them as guilty) is perfectly acceptable.
The same argument is obviously offensive if viewed in reverse. If I suggested that because white Americans have a history of oppression of Native Americans, African Americans, etc. that they should be viewed with suspicion and singled out for extra searches, everyone would rightly point out that I’m avocating judging someone by the color of their skin and their place of origin, rather than by “the content of their character,” as King said.
It’s real simple. You cannot expect to win a game in which you allow your opponent to play by a different set of rules. In my opinion, if you’re a Middle-Eastern Muslim you don’t get to fly on a public airplane in the United States. Period. You don’t like it? Tough shit. Go complain to your fellow jihadists.
See, our poster claims that he’s opposed to terrorism, not to people, but his “solution” is to refuse to let anyone from the “Middle-East”–the borders of which he does not seem to understand–fly. And even though he claims he knows that not every Middle-Easterner is a terrorist, he assumes they must be, because their only recourse is to “complain to their fellow jihadists.”
I am proud to say I am racist against Middle Eastern Muslims. Yep, you heard me. P.R.O.U.D. If you are a Muslim from the Middle East I don’t like you, and I don’t need to know anything else about you but that. In fact, I despise you and your religion and whatever god foresaken sandy shit-hole of a country you slithered out of. As if the litany of terrorist attacks from your people over the last 5 decades I listed above aren’t enough, I can cite a dozen reasons why all Muslims should be vehmently discriminated against throughout the world without even mentioning terrorism.
So he advocates profiling as a means to stop terrorism, but “without mentioning terrorism” he wants to discriminate against Muslims anyway. Why? Because he’s a bigot using the fear of terrorists to further his bigoted cause. He wants to keep Muslims off planes, not protect us from terrorism. I know I’m shocked.
Are there peaceful hard-working innocent Muslims who wish no harm on anyone in the world? Of course. Do these types of Muslims represent the “majority” of Muslims. More than likely, yes. Does this mean all Middle Eastern Muslims should be afforded the luxury of this presumption? Hell no.
The “presumption” he speaks of is the presumption of innocence, that long-obsolete idea that it should be the duty of the state to prove someone is a criminal, not the other way around. You see, if you’re a reasonable person AND a Muslim you should have to demonstrate it, while happy little white boys can go around shouting racist comments at you.
Then he goes on to say that, because he pays large insurance premiumss, he’s being descriminated against too, and therefore this is all okay. Yeah, that’s right: he pays for insurance, so we should assume all Middle-Eastern Muslims are terrorists. That’s fantastic logic.
And in the end it is always the same with those who advocate profiling: they believe that any measures are acceptable to stop terrorists/speeders/car theives/people of color. The rest of us–those who are still sane–know that expedience, even if proved, is not a sufficent justification for racism and bigotry. It is wrong to profile, regardless of whether it is safe, because in judging people despite lack of personal wrong-doing, we give up everything that makes us different from the terrorists in the first place.
Profiling of this type is nothing less than a threat to democracy. Once we forget that society exists to support the individual, that the state has no right to assume we are guilty until it has proved it, we have lost our identities.
The poster is right that we are not fighting by the same rules as the terrorists (though we are coming closer with indefinite detentions, attacks on civilians, cover-ups, wars without accountability, etc.) and it is for precisely that reason that our values are worth fighting for. We believe–or say we believe–in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, in Democracy, in personal freedom. So long as that is true, we must reject profiling and all other forms of bigotry. If we do not, we might stop planes from getting bombed, but we will have lost that which we tried to protect.