The Maroon

Column: Racism affects perception

KATE+WATSON
KATE WATSON

KATE WATSON

The Maroon

The Maroon

KATE WATSON

KATE WATSON

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The most tragic part about tragedies is how eager people are to politicize them. Within hours of the Boston Marathon Bombing, xenophobes, racists and Islamophobes had taken to Twitter to blame the calamity on Islam and foreigners. Even national news outlets unintentionally jumped on the bandwagon. The Saudi national who was reported to be a suspect in custody turned out to be an innocent bystander severely injured in the blast. Other news reports made mention of the FBI seeking a “dark-skinned male,” a description vague at best and racist at worst. These are the same journalists who erroneously declared twelve people to be dead when only three fatalities occurred, and then went on to wrongly report that an arrest had been made on April 17.

While the bombs used are not unheard of in South Asian Taliban-infested countries, blowing up pressure cookers is not exclusive to Islamic extremism. In fact, all clues pointed to the Boston Marathon Bombing as being an incident of domestic terrorism because of the size of the bombs, the execution of the bombing and the fact that the Pakistani Taliban has denied participation. And even though the suspected masterminds, two Chechen brothers, were not born in America, what they are alleged to have committed is an example of domestic terrorism. They had lived here for over 10 years and the younger brother, Dzokhar Tsarnaev, had even become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Bigots want a justification for their xenophobia. However, they conveniently forget the terrorist attacks that have not involved Muslims or Arab/North African immigrants. Eric Rudolph, a white American, targeted a gay nightclub and an abortion clinic. An Irish-American group bombed The Los Angeles Times in 1910. There was the Unabomber, Timothy McVeigh, and Wade Michael Page, a white supremacist who shot up a Sikh temple because he, for his own ignorant reasons, had grouped Sikhs and Muslims together as a threat to his idea of what America should be.

Bombers are extremists, murderers, criminals and cowards. They shall be remembered as such, while their victims and the first-responders will be remembered as good, innocent people.

What the country needs to remember is that a terroristic attack is only successful if it manages to incite the terror it had intended to create. If we do not let the fear mongering bring out the worst in us, the bad guys can’t win.

Kate Watson can be reached at [email protected] 

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Column: Racism affects perception