Speaker Says Racism is Used to Sell War

Racism didn’t die when the civil rights movement reached full steam in the 1960s. The movie Crash’s Oscar win proves that racism is still an issue at the forefront of many peoples thoughts. The stance taken by some is that racism is stronger than ever in America and is being manipulated and twisted into a means to gain support for the government’s actions. On March 22nd, Bilal Sultan, a member of the MSA, and Deepa Kumar, an author and Assistant Professor of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University, gave a speech entitled “Stop the War! How Racism is Used to Sell the War in the Middle East.” The speech was about the anti-Muslim and anti-Middle Eastern racism that is not only prevalent in our society, but also accepted as the mantra of American foreign policy. Bilal began with an interesting example of how Western views are different from those held by many Muslims. When the uproar about cartoons printed in a Danish newspaper were deemed by some as “anti-Muslim,” the West viewed the anger emanating from Muslim groups as unwarranted and unnecessary. Bilal explained that many Muslims saw the cartoons as an affront since depictions of Muhammad are strictly forbidden by Islam. The Danish cartoon riots were deeper than unrest over a breach of Muslim faith by non-Muslims. She pointed out how Muslims and Arabs have been arrested, deported, tortured and generally oppressed by Western societies since 9/11.”This is not about free speech at all,” Kumar stated in reference to the commonly made argument that “Muslims don’t understand free speech.” Kumar pointed out the hypocrisy of this Western argument in that many European nations have laws against denial of the Holocaust. In Austria and as far West as Canada, one can be arrested for claiming that the Holocaust never happened. Kumar also talked of the recent controversy about the selling of American ports to a Dubai based company. She explained the mentality of many Americans: since two out of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were from the United Arab Emerits, all citizens of that nation are terrorists as well. Ignored by many was the fact that the ports in question were previously owned by a British company and haven’t been in US hands for years.Professor Kumar made an example of how acceptable racism has become towards Muslims by using Ann Coulter as an example. The Fox News pundit has repeatedly referred to Muslims and Arabs alike as “towel-heads” and other plainly bigoted terms, as well as advising the West to simply bomb them out of existence, all without a word of protest from the general public. “We have a political climate in the US today where the bottom has fallen out on the amount of racism allowed towards Muslims and Arabs,” Kumar claimed. Her major point was that allowing racism to continue makes the wars raging in Muslim homelands much easier to swallow for Westerners. The key, she explained, is to stop the racism first and without question.