Racism rears its ugly head in subtle ways.
September 12, 2001 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Racism rears its ugly head in subtle ways. In this apparently eyewitness account of what happened aboard flight 93, the terrorists are referred to as "Arab terrorists" not once but twice. Was the second one even necessary? Was the first one necessary? And you wonder why shit like this happens...
posted by mathowie (60 comments total)
 
Honestly, I was in fear for my life as eyes turned menacing towards me. All I could think of was "mob mentality" - white collar or not. .... As described time and again in the media, the nation's shock is turning to rage ... at times misdirected for lack of a better target.
posted by JISH at 1:22 PM on September 12, 2001


They're being referred to as "Arab terrorists" because they WERE. Whether you like it or not, their race and their religious beliefs are necessary and useful identifying characteristics when reporting or investigating a crime in a country where the vast majority of citizens are white, black and Hispanic. If everyone, including the authorities and the media, had to go around referring to them only as "terrorists" in order to satisfy the Political Correctness Police, we'd all still be sitting around wondering if Fidel Castro was up to something. There hadn't been a real hijacking in the US in ten years until yesterday, so the first thing everyone would have to go in is the recollection of all those hijackings to Cuba way back when.

Said identification is a completely separate topic from that of random harrassment of anyone who happens to appear to be of Middle Eastern heritage. Those are despicable actions, and jish should think up some humiliating retort to speak at the top of his lungs anytime some dipshit approaches him like that.
posted by aaron at 1:25 PM on September 12, 2001



Let's see, the terrorist's nationalities have almost been confirmed to be 100% Arab, and, they were hi-jacking the plane...

Hmmmm... Where is the racism? They were Arab, and they were Terrorists. If the shoe fits...
posted by da5id at 1:26 PM on September 12, 2001


Even better, Jish should obtain a weapon for self-protection.
posted by aaron at 1:26 PM on September 12, 2001


The reason why shit like this happens, is because our Media has gotten irresponsible in its reporting.

No longer do they filter their stories or check facts before reporting. This goes back to the Oklahoma Bombing, and even before that.

In pursuit of the "Scoop," the media has lost its focus and has slid further and further from reporting reliable and solid facts, to reporting rumors, assumptions, and other Tabloid like practices.

Because we are a TV oriented society, the Media has a major influence in how we, the people, perceive other races, nationalities, etc...

They are as much as fault as anyone else. Instead of recognizing the influence they hold, and using the TV as a tool of change, the Media only chases the Almighty Dollar and uses it to exploit the feelings of those who watch it.
posted by da5id at 1:34 PM on September 12, 2001


It's a horrible shame that Jish should be encouraged to carry a weapon for self-protection. Wouldn't it be better to do as much as possible to spread a message of tolerance and non-hate, and educate people?

I wish the world was colorblind.
posted by phichens at 1:37 PM on September 12, 2001


It's not "racism" ... (being asian myself) it's how people go about from day to day.. in this case, one tragic day.

When a person is in a situation, and needs to describe something, he doesn't refer to me as a person of asian descent, or some politically correct thing ... he uses something that we all grasp, and grasp quickly. In my case, people say something like, that Korean, Japanese, etc etc. something that get's the point across.

Surely you can not blame him for describing these men as "arabs". How do you go about describing people? a black man is black, a white guy is white, asians are asian, or japs, or whatever slang word they want to use. Hardly anyone can pinpoint what nationality someone is from ... so the broad generalizations are used.

Honestly, I may be young and a bit naive, but how would you describe such men? He saw "darker skinned men" ... but he can't possibly know if they are indonesian, or egyptian, or even if they were arabs.
posted by a11an at 1:38 PM on September 12, 2001


Comments I overheard between two 'gentlemen' in their 60's discussing yesterdays tragedy:

idiot1: "Well, we should surround Bradford* with troops and tell them all to get out of our country and f**k off back home, or die."

idiot2: "I heard there were eight arabs at the doors of the building stopping anyone get out before the building collapsed"

*Bradford is a relatively multicultural city in Northern England.

I didn't think I could feel any sicker than i did yesterday watching the news and reading the posts on here, but that little exchange did it. I really couldn't believe the bull that these two were spouting.

My thoughts go out to all the people of New York, and to Jish, and anyone else suffering pain and anguish as a result of the blind hatred of others.
posted by scribble at 1:41 PM on September 12, 2001


The "Arab" thing is being drilled into everyone's heads by the media. Yes, they were Arab but the fact that this is being repeated over and over and over again is fueling people's fears and absolutely fueling their ignorance and racism. Remember the Oklaholma bombings? That resulted in a number of Arab businesses being vandalized, death threats, etc. An "Arab" didn't even do that one...

I agree about the identification thing, but it's starting to get out of control.

Peace.
posted by misanthropy at 1:41 PM on September 12, 2001


Yeah, uh, I must agree with most of the comments in this thread. people condemning everyone with darker skin (our own citizens and those of other nations) of collusion is one thing, but reporting that the hijackers the plane appeared arabic seems to be quite necessary (although i doubt there's much useful information to be gleaned from it. MANY people look arabic to the western world -- that sort of information doesn't place a country or an organization.)

the populist american reaction (bomb "them") is what's frightening and ugly.

love.

fisfhcuekr.
posted by fishfucker at 1:42 PM on September 12, 2001


Even better, Jish should obtain a weapon for self-protection.

That'll do the trick. So that when the angry mob comes at him they can beat him and then take his gun and shoot him and any other person with brown skin around.

My father has had 3 guns for "protection." All three have been stolen during burglaries. Burglars rarely rob people when they are at home. So now there are 3 more guns on the street which can be used to kill.

Multiply that a bunch of times and perhaps you can actually see that it is a vicious circle. People feel they need guns to protect them from the criminals who have guns, but more than likely have guns because of gun's they stole.

*sigh*
posted by terrapin at 1:43 PM on September 12, 2001


I'm not asking for political correctness, here's the eyewitness events as they were relayed via cellphone:
Jeremy told the police there were three Arab terrorists with knives and a large red box that they claimed contained a bomb. Jeremy tracked the second by second details and relayed them to the police by phone. After several minutes of describing the scene, Jeremy and several other passengers decided there was nothing to lose by rushing the hijackers. Although United Flight 93 crashed outside of Pittsburgh, with the loss of all souls. Jeremy and the other patriotic heroes saved the lives of many people on the ground that would have died if the Arab terrorists had been able to complete their heinous mission.
I'm simply saying that if the last sentence was "Jeremy and the other patriotic heroes saved the lives of many people on the ground that would have died if the terrorists had been able to complete their heinous mission." conveys just as much pertinent information, does it not?

I don't see any reason to add the second mention of Arab is what I'm saying. Make sense? I brought light to this because it sticks out so much to me. It's the type of thing that can lead to any dark-skinned american getting questioned, detained, or shook down.
posted by mathowie at 1:44 PM on September 12, 2001


Ok... Yes, that makes sense... I thought you were criticizing the people on the plane...

However, I agree with you 100%

I don't recall whether your outtake was from an actual person, or from a media outlet, but it is written in way that makes me think someone in the Media wrote it.

If that is so, then read my second post about how the media is being irresponsible.
posted by da5id at 1:49 PM on September 12, 2001


Let's just call 'em like we sees 'em. People are afraid to offend, so they water down the truth with political correctness... They were terrorists, they were ARAB.

ARAB TERRORISTS.

Play it again, sam...
posted by padinka at 1:52 PM on September 12, 2001


It's a horrible shame that Jish should be encouraged to carry a weapon for self-protection. Wouldn't it be better to do as much as possible to spread a message of tolerance and non-hate, and educate people?

You don't seem to understand the definition of "self-protection." Having a defensive weapon, especially when not worn outside your clothes in show-off mode, carries absolutely zero messages about tolerance or hate. It perhaps does educate (if not carried concealed) that "If you try to hurt me because YOU are the one filled with hate and nontolerance, you will be physically harmed."

Your bizarre belief that people like Jish, who are currently being targeted by some pissed-off people in this country with no self-control, should walk around handing out leaflets with pretty little flowers on them, is going to get people hurt and possibly killed.

I'm all for tolerance and non-hate. But given current circumstances, wouldn't it be better if you go around and spread this message, since as a non-Arab you would not be risking your safety by doing so?
posted by aaron at 1:52 PM on September 12, 2001



mathowie: I agree that the last sentence does not need the second mention of "Arab terrorists" to convey the point. However, I think the first mention is important because it is paraphrasing the actual description given by the person on the plane. Nonetheless, this whole event keeps reminding me of the movie "The Siege" where all of the Arab people living in the New York area fitting a certain description were placed into camps while terrorists were tracked down. That wouldn't be so nice.
posted by phunkone at 1:54 PM on September 12, 2001


One of my high school math teachers, and a long-time friend of my father, is from Iran. He fled the country after the Shaw murdered his parents. He left the country before the revolution fortunately, because his family was also on the hitlist of the Shiite revolutionaries.

He settled down in rural Missouri, which is not exactly known as a bastion of open-mindedness. During the hostage crisis, he worked with my dad as plainclothes security at a beergarden in Six Flags. He was accosted daily by drunks who wanted to beat up an Iranian. Each time, he diffused the situation by insisting firmly that he was not Iranian, but Persian. That confused them enough to get them out of the beergarden.

We can't physically fight all the bigots, not can we expect education to change them. But we do have to stand up to them loud and strong, wherever we encounter them. And I'm sure we'll all encounter them over the next few weeks.
posted by ewagoner at 1:58 PM on September 12, 2001


So that when the angry mob comes at him they can beat him and then take his gun and shoot him and any other person with brown skin around.

*yawn* Typical hoplophobia, and not the way things happen in the real world.

It seems that there are lots of individual incidents of Arabs being harrassed, not giant mobs of torch-wielding manaiacs going from door to door to find Arab to drag out into the street and beat to death. Perhaps if the latter ever happens, your "advice" will mean something. Until then, it's mere scaremongering.
posted by aaron at 1:59 PM on September 12, 2001



Funny. The people I know who own guns are the ones that are the most filled with hate, and paranoia. A wonderful combination.

Let's take your analogy a little further. I am walking down the street and I see a dog with a spiked collar with a beware of dog sign in the yard. I am a nice, peace-loving individual, but I am still unnerved by this site and cross the street. Perhaps the dog is a little sweetheart to, but the visual effect is one of fear.

So, if I see a person with a visible handgun, I am *not* going to think "oh, how nice. Look at that man walking down the street with a machine who's only purpose is to kill. I feel so safe around him." Bullshit. I should not have to fear for my life or safety simply because some paranoid asshole thinks everyone is out to get them.

And I wager that the people who would judge condemn a person by the color of their skin would also think that it is a good idea to be armed so they can protect themselves from the godless communist or whoever their imaginary enemies are.

Your argument is full of holes.

And you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
posted by terrapin at 2:03 PM on September 12, 2001


"Knife-wielding hijackers" is a pretty accurate description of these "arab terrorists". CNN uses it.
posted by dabitch at 2:04 PM on September 12, 2001


I wouldn't be inclined to question the passenger's use of 'Arab terrorists' so much as I would be inclined to question the letter writer's use of it. Is this not what Mathowie is referring to? 'Arab terrorists' not once but twice within the letter? The first use seems to have the potential to appeal to curiosity, since I - and perhaps others - had been curious as to whether the passengers who made contact mentioned what they presumed to be the ethnicity of the hijackers. My curiosity arose from the fact that the speculation had already been on members of the Arab community leading me to wonder what sort of information anyone had that could possibly lead them to that conclusion. I agree that the second use seemed unnecessary.
posted by Goethe at 2:05 PM on September 12, 2001


Aaron, don't you have a bridge you are expect to be under?

I won't be baited anymore :)
posted by terrapin at 2:07 PM on September 12, 2001


Arabia is a nation? I'm confused on how we can say that their nationality was Arabic ....
posted by rob at 2:08 PM on September 12, 2001


It seems that there are lots of individual incidents of Arabs being harrassed, not giant mobs of torch-wielding manaiacs going from door to door to find Arab to drag out into the street and beat to death.


Or rather, non-Arabs, given that Jish is about as "Arab" as you, aaron. And frankly, most Americans get all their information on what "Arabs" are and look like from disaster movies.
posted by holgate at 2:11 PM on September 12, 2001


Your bizarre belief that people like Jish, who are currently being targeted by some pissed-off people in this country with no self-control, should walk around handing out leaflets with pretty little flowers on them, is going to get people hurt and possibly killed.

... Maybe you're right. Maybe Jish should carry around a gun. Then, when attacked by bigots he can pop a coupla caps in some asses and end up on the evening news...

Today, in a Canadian coffee shop and Arab terroist began firing on innocent Canadian civilians while making statements about the Arab race and its place in society. The Arab Jish....

Fantastic idea.

What's the solution? How about to remember what happened in the coffee shop and balance it out with this.

I haven't added much to this discussion in the last few days, but MeFi has been a great source for information, so let me take a moment to thank you Matt for keeping MeFi running under what I assume is tremendous traffic. This site is a reminder of what the web was built for.
posted by eyeballkid at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2001


Terapin, when that "imaginary enemy" comes crawling through the window to steal your possession and rape your wife, wouldn't it be nice to have one of us "paranoid, hate-filled" gunowners there to protect you, or would you rather just give the thief the run of the place?
posted by padinka at 2:15 PM on September 12, 2001


The sadly ironic fact about Arab nationals is that most of them are here because they want to escape brutal dictatorships. They've made big sacrifices in leaving families and loved ones to enjoy the freedoms of the west. Their reward is to be the punching bag for pissed off rednecks here in the U.S.
posted by prodigal at 2:25 PM on September 12, 2001


You're right, I feel terrible for all the poor Arabs.

Sure, innocent Americans were BURNING TO DEATH yesterday, but what about the poor Arabs! Someone should start a fund to combat this blatant bigotry!
posted by padinka at 2:31 PM on September 12, 2001


mathowie said:
I don't see any reason to add the second mention of Arab is what I'm saying. Make sense?

Actually no, it doesn't make sense. The author of that e-mail used the word "Arab" (in a case where it is factually appropriate) one too many times for your taste, and you label that person a racist? I'd say you're overreacting.

The incident Jish encountered is indeed despicable, but it is hardly in the same category as someone being a tad less delicate with their words than you would like them to be.

And I certainly don't see any sort of cause-and-effect between the two. There are people in the world who are simply racist assholes -- like the ones Jish ran into. Being frugal with the number of occurances of the word "Arab" in one's writing is not going to change that.
posted by Potsy at 2:33 PM on September 12, 2001


Looks like a case of bad editing to me...definitely repetitive and redundant. Finding more than that in it might be a bit of a reach...though not beyond the realm of the possible, certainly.
posted by rushmc at 2:33 PM on September 12, 2001


I can't BELIEVE that someone, in describing their terrorists, would not have the sensitivity to leave Race OUT OF IT. I mean, it's not like we're trying to IDENTIFY who did this.









I have never seen Political Correctness go this far. I am astounded.
posted by glenwood at 2:35 PM on September 12, 2001


Sure, innocent Americans were BURNING TO DEATH yesterday, but what about the poor Arabs! Someone should start a fund to combat this blatant bigotry!

Please explain to my in greater detail your apparent theory that one wrong somehow negates another...
posted by rushmc at 2:38 PM on September 12, 2001


This is my third post in this thread. It will contain the word ARAB. If any young children or impressionable adults might contract a virulent case of discrimination due to the frequency of the word ARAB and the recent tragedies, I suggest you sit them down and explain how the world is made up of all different types of people: ARABS, BLACKS, JEWS, WHITES, and how each race has the same capacity for HATRED and EVIL.

Even Arabs.
posted by padinka at 2:40 PM on September 12, 2001


padinka said: Sure, innocent Americans were BURNING TO DEATH yesterday, but what about the poor Arabs! Someone should start a fund to combat this blatant bigotry!

You make it sound as if every one of those Americans was white and US-born. Or that it's a greater tragedy just because AMERICANS were the target.

It's a tragedy when anyone dies senselessly. It doesn't matter what race the person is.

I don't think a fund is needed to stop blatant bigotry, but I sure wish I could pay to wipe out racial ignorance.
posted by phichens at 2:43 PM on September 12, 2001


I sure wish I could pay to wipe out racial ignorance.


That is too precious.

RushMC, someone using the word Arab 'twice' in a letter about, um, ARABS is hardly a "wrong".
posted by glenwood at 2:47 PM on September 12, 2001


Of course two wrongs don't make a right, RushMc. Let's not be trivial. The fact is: discrimination exists and runs rampant throughout the world, because people have prejudices. Of course it is wrong, of course it is terrible.

What bothers me is how the focus always shifts to those who may or may not be indirectly affected: Uh-oh! While we're not looking, a little Arab kid is going to get punched in the belly by a big WASPY bully. C'mon! I hope beyond hope that everyone gets treated fairly and respectfully, but I'm not in the mood to cry over PERCEIVED discrimination while PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED UNDER RUBBLE DYING A SLOW DEATH!
posted by padinka at 2:50 PM on September 12, 2001


try replacing the word "Arab" in the quotation Matt supplied with nearly any other word describing ethnicity and you hear how... _forced_ it sounds.

it's as if the phrase "Arab Terrorist" has taken on a life of its own, like "White Devil" or "Yellow Peril". it's a small thing but the climate of racism is made up of such small things.
posted by mjane at 2:52 PM on September 12, 2001


to most people arabs=muslims, muslims=arabs. then arabs=likely terrorists => hell, most muslims are probably terrorists, its in their religion doncha know. I advocate multi-faith RE lessons in school - ppl fear what they don't know.

and buzz-phrases abound in the media, arab terrorist being one of them, alas..
posted by Mossy at 2:56 PM on September 12, 2001


You make it sound as if every one of those Americans was white and US-born. Or that it's a greater tragedy just because AMERICANS were the target.

That's exactly what I'm not saying. I think we're getting off track. I may sound callous, but it's only an attempt to make myself understood.

As you said, it doesn't matter WHAT race someone is. That's the point. Yet, we cry all day and night cuz *this* group can't get a fair shake, *this* group can't get ahead. It makes it about RACE again and again and again... the race is always politicized.
posted by padinka at 2:57 PM on September 12, 2001


Let me ask this:

How many of you are able to look past the "stereotype" and objectively assess the situation? ALL OF YOU, RIGHT? What makes you think other people can't? Are all of us super-enlightened, above the common man?

What makes you think other people can't figure this stuff out? We don't have to protect everybody from WORDS! Of course all ARABS aren't terrorists! DUH!

It's common sense. There is no need to rush to their defense, no matter what the "social climate" is. There will always the "redneck asshole" to make the rest of us seem ignorant.
posted by padinka at 3:02 PM on September 12, 2001


Of course all ARABS aren't terrorists!

But ALL Arab Terrorists are Terrorists.

:)
posted by glenwood at 3:17 PM on September 12, 2001


The way media reports things is important. On one of the lists I run (about endo) today - someone said it was so sad that this took up such big space in the media "because of which country was hit". The poster sincerely meant that, had this happened in [insert anywhere else here], it would not have made headline news.

Why did that poster belive that so sincerely? Well, you haven't read the same newspapers she's reading.. Thats how the reports are slaneted there.

Media brainwashes people. Few realise they should read between the lines, unfortunatly. Count yourselves blessed, who do.
posted by dabitch at 3:21 PM on September 12, 2001


padinka, please chill out and stop posting for a while and read what people are saying.

I can tell there's no point in arguing reason with someone that would post an image like this on their site.
posted by mathowie at 3:27 PM on September 12, 2001


dabitch: That's a good point. We should not make excuses for those who are easily led, however. We can only voice our opinions without FEAR of reproach from those who would tell us it impolite to do so.
posted by padinka at 3:28 PM on September 12, 2001


I'm sorry Mathowie if the frequency of my posts is unnerving to you, that I feel passionate about this topic, and that there is a deep desire inside of me to see Osama Bin Laden die in a fiery blaze a thousand times.

I assure you, I'm reading everything that everyone is saying. How many times in the media, in the street, in the schools, on the radio are people going to tell us to STOP and BE NICE and GIVE THE WORLD A HUG and RELAX and BE FAIR?

When is it OK to be MAD, to take everything inside of you and throw if FULL FORCE into a DRIVING PASSION?

Nothing against you, my man... but NICE and SWEET doesn't always cut the mustard.
posted by padinka at 3:38 PM on September 12, 2001


I'm not in the mood to cry over PERCEIVED discrimination while PEOPLE ARE TRAPPED UNDER RUBBLE DYING A SLOW DEATH!

I guess I just don't see it as an either/or proposition.
posted by rushmc at 3:47 PM on September 12, 2001


I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that early on, no one was sure that it wasn't some whackos trying to pin it on Osama Bin Laden. Even now, the Taliban wants evidence.

I was watching CNN earlier and Mayor Giuliani was asking the people of NYC to stop the violence against Arabic people.

It's a shame, because just about every Arabic person I've met was a good, hard-working and honest AMERICAN CITIZEN.

Which also makes them an easy target in a city full of understandably angry people.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 3:47 PM on September 12, 2001


padinka, dude. enough with the all caps. I can tell you're angry. Today, we know hardly anything, and unfortunately, there is no place to direct your anger. I'm not saying go hug everyone, I'm saying relax during this time when no one knows much of anything.

I have no desire to see anyone else die, including Bin Laden for now. There are a million reasons why unleashing your current frustration and agression on an enemy that is unknown would be a pointless endeavor.

In all these "eye for an eye" scenarios, no one has mentioned a realistic one. This wasn't someone punching us in the face and walking away, so now we have to punch back. This was someone sucker-punching us in the dark, and fleeing before we got to see who they were. We can't do anything in retalliation for now. But soon, hopefully we'll know. Until then, it's not very productive to spread anti-arab rhetoric of any kind. The quote I posted above constitutes pointless anti-arab rhetoric in my opinion and is quite obvious (did the people on the plane view the passports of the hijackers? if they tell us how they looked, is that supposed to help us find them (reminder: they're dead now)? Why would you want the populace to know very specific ethnic information about suspected attackers?

Let's wait until we have some facts for chissakes.
posted by mathowie at 3:52 PM on September 12, 2001


Padinka: Personally, I don't think your posts are "impolite." I just find it a pain in the ass to keep having to roll past any set of rapid fire posts I see in this thread with your name under it. Merely because you spend most of the time SHOUTING through them, which does less to forward a conversation and more to break it down to an inflamed yelling match. None of us are being "nice and sweet." It is possible to be angry to the core of your being, yet still be relaxed and fair. In some cases it is necessary and this moment is one of them. Elevating this thread to a shouting match doesn't help it, it just ends it.

Also, understand that there is not a single one of us that is not angry, but many of us are waiting to be sure that our anger can be directed properly.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:52 PM on September 12, 2001


Hi. I'm writing these words from Germany and have only intermittent reports from CNN and limited web access to go on for all that has happened. I can't possibly express the shock I feel. The lives that have been lost, the stunning blow to our nation and our world.

But more importantly, I am shocked at the hatred that many Americans are giving into. Whether it's giving into the vigilante lynch mob mentality of trying to find a person or an ethnic group to blame or damning Matt Haughey for being "too politically correct," one thing is certain: as a nation and as a world, to understate the obvious, this has been an emotionally crippling blow for us. And we are all reacting without logic or trying to move forward with peace, shouting justified pain from the tower and trying to make sense of it all. But it is our duty as human beings to not stoop down to the level of those who hate, to leap to conclusions over a people simply because a few of them that do not represent the majority decided to perform a monstrous act.

The easy thing to do is to give into the hatred, to let yourself overflow with hate and let the Emperor tell your inner Luke Skywalker to be evil. But life is too short for this. Just as Bush is making sweeping generalizations, hinting that he will bomb the country in which the terrorists originated from without concern for the civilians who will be maimed as a result of this, so too are many of you allowing yourself to castigate each other, when in fact we should all be uniting together as a nation.

That over a million was raised for Amazon is a remarkable tribute to our strength as citizens, that 48 brave people decided to overtake the terrorists over Pennsylvania, that people are donating blood, that people of differing backgrounds are bonding together through the Web, and allowing the magic of love to flow into one dynamic counterstrike against this terror is a testament to who we are as a nation.

We should all be proud of what we have all respectfully contributed and how we have all preservered, whether it's offering a shoulder to cry on for somebody who has lost a loved one or something more. But to damn each other on a site that brings together community over the gut reactions is not the answer.

A hug, a kiss. We shall and will overcome.

So stop fighting and start loving. And for the love of Corey Feldman, start hugging that stranger. Be good to yourself and to others. Because this is the only way we will be able to go on.

All the best, I remain

A Metafilter Dude Cast Asunder Overseas Offering His Warmest Hugs

Ed

P.S. German keyboards, with their reversed Ys and Zs, suck.
posted by ed at 4:03 PM on September 12, 2001


*hmmm* OK, ok... I feelin' ya, folks. I am fond of the CAPS for emphasis, which I know can be annoying. I thought I made some good points mixed in there with the shouting... alas.

Is it counterproductive to spreah anti-arab rhetoric? Of course. We are in agreement. Kudos to Mathowie and Eyeballkid for disarming me in such a gentle manner. You guys are a mellow bunch.
posted by padinka at 4:03 PM on September 12, 2001


I already like you better, padinka!

I think our nerves are all a little raw right now, and anything that might come across as CONFRONTATIONAL puts us on the defensive, even if we may agree.
posted by arco at 4:19 PM on September 12, 2001


> I have never seen Political Correctness go this far.
> I am astounded.

Amen.

And, FWIW, I'd NEVER expect anything on Jerry Pournelle's site (or, for that matter, anything coming out of Jerry's mouth) to be even remotely politically correct. Any liberal excoriation of anything associated with Jerry Pournelle is . . . well, like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel.
posted by Big Dave at 5:22 PM on September 12, 2001


History will judge the people who did this attack. It is likely that war or justice (these two, legally, are mutually exclusive) will deal with them in the coming months and years.

Just as much, though, History will judge us - all of us - on how we treat everyone in our society, in the immediate, and how we safeguard and promote civil liberties, freedoms, and tolerance (a word I hate - it's such a low bar to surpass) throughout society in the longer term.

This is a test. The stakes are very high. But make no mistake, we will all, individually and collectively, be judged on the aftermath.

Running off half cocked may feel good in the immediate. But it will be the death of us all, perhaps literally, in the long term. Sobriety, caring, and careful deliberation are the only things that will get us out of this intact.
posted by mikel at 5:38 PM on September 12, 2001


Terrorists belong to no race; not even to the human. Calling them Arabs is dignifying them.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:05 PM on September 12, 2001


mathowie said:
it's not very productive to spread anti-arab rhetoric

I agree with that. I just don't agree the quote you linked to qualifies as such.
posted by Potsy at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2001


Miguel,

You are right. In every way.

BTW happen'd to Jish makes me so mad ... i have run into it, repeatedly and on numerous occasions myself as only an adolescent ... there are racists in the world, and pricks who will never learn ...

But just to restate something said a long while ago, his reference to arab terrorists in this case was most likely founded on his prime source phone call ... and the classification of the terrorist as arab was a quick one (in my opinion) for description purposes only.

He looked like an arab man.

It would have been the same if he looked like a black man. or looked like a white man, or a asian/(stereotypical slang here) man (which i am damn proud to be).
posted by a11an at 6:38 PM on September 12, 2001


Aaron, the point right now is that NOBODY knows who did this. even though everything's pointing towards bin Laden, it's NOT confirmed. The knee jerk reaction you demonstrate when you say, "They're being referred to as 'Arab terrorists' because they WERE" is the same breed of conclusion that is drawn right before a hate crime is committed. Even if people are ultimately right by blaming Islamic fundamentalists, we need to follow facts, not blind, racist assumptions.

Also, I implore everyone to speak up for and help defend your fellow Middle Eastern Americans/Canadians/whatever, and all people of color for that matter. That is, if you're ever witness to an 'incident' like Jish's, SPEAK UP. Don't let it happen. If it requires fighting, then, I say, fight. Because that intolerance is precisely what almost killed my little sister yesterday, as well as too many of our friends and family.

Racism should now be YOUR business. A racist attack on another person should be considered a racist attack on yourself.
posted by prozaction at 7:42 PM on September 12, 2001


It's a horrible shame that Jish should be encouraged to carry a weapon for self-protection. Wouldn't it be better to do as much as possible to spread a message of tolerance and non-hate, and educate people?

At the risk of sounding facetious, I do not understand why these are mutually exclusive. Personally, if I had a concealed-carry permit and carried a handgun, you bet your ass I would preach peace, love, and understanding. What kind of person wants to actually have to shoot someone?

Granted, a few "rednecks" (a dehumanizing term I find as offensive as any other racial or ethnic slur) or other psychopaths might actually enjoy scarring people with their big bad gun. However, if we abolished every freedom or privilege we enjoy in the US (e.g. , beer, political debate, sex and bearing children) by the actions of a few jackasses, we would be really, really screwed.

I wish the world was colorblind.

I wish that I had a 12' penis and could play ball and make money like Jordan, but it is not in the cards. Somehow I go on living and, in my own little ways, fighting against racism.

BTW- My favorite quote of the day:

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said the United States had a message for those behind the attacks: ``We are coming after you. God may have mercy on you, but we won't.''

I'm a sucker for Old Testament-style rhetoric.
posted by estopped at 8:20 PM on September 12, 2001


bwg says to jish: "are you from canada?"

so am i.

all day yesterday when i was out on the street here in hong kong, people were staring at me more than usual. my guess is they assumed i was american.

but then, no one was pointing a finger at me in an accusatory manner.

peace, jish!
posted by bwg at 10:35 PM on September 12, 2001


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