The Renegade Rip

COLUMNAmericans should not rush to judgment

Ty Hardin

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What most people do not think about is the backlash from our own citizens, against our fellow Americans.

“Why do they even let those ragheads in our country?”

“You know they’re all in on it.”

“They should all be rounded up so we know where they are.”

These are the sentiments I have heard around Bakersfield from all types of people. Americans are angry and they will lash out against anybody who appears, even superficially, like our perceived enemies.

While in a convenience store, I overheard clerks discussing how they were going to “beat the crap” out of the “raghead” who owns the shop down the street.

Although the tragedy of the multiple attacks on the United States and its citizens escalates with every news report, there is no reason to direct our anger at those who have nothing to do with terrorist activity.

There is a great racism against Arab-Americans and those who practice Islam in response to the terrorist activity believed to be from the Middle East.

Americans see pictures of Osama bin Laden on the news and begin to form stereotypes. They see the turban, the beard and the color of his skin and remember other people who share his features and they jump to conclusions.

They strike out against any people roughly matching bin Laden’s description; meanwhile they wear their anger like a blindfold over their eyes and a badge on their chests.

German immigrants during World War I felt the blunt edge of racist anger in the form of lynch mobs, hangings, and public torture.

Americans blamed German immigrants for a war they had nothing to do with, and several daguerreotypes exist of these immigrants hanging from ropes while grown men and small children alike cheer with a sense of accomplishment.

During World War II, Americans were appalled when Pearl Harbor was attacked. They were angry that a country as strong as America could be ambushed with such a large assault from Japan. Citizens felt so violated that they lynched several Asian-Americans, Japanese or not. They struck out against the face of their enemy, rather than the hand. Later, Asian-Americans were gathered into internment camps where they were treated horribly for several months.

While this tragedy has brought the country emotionally to its knees, we should not seek retribution. Arab-Americans, and those who practice the same beliefs of those presumed responsible, are not to blame for the atrocities any more than you or I. They are people and, more importantly, they are Americans.

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani gave his citizens the best advice: “Be calm.”

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COLUMNAmericans should not rush to judgment