FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Racism Thrives

by SHARON SMITH

Those who worry that the world’s Arab and Muslim populations pose a threat to free speech in Western democracies need not fear. The first Amendment remains intact-particularly, it seems, when it comes to the “right” to inflict racial slurs. Indeed, the last few weeks have witnessed a spate of pundits and politicians exercising their right to freely engage in racist demagoguery against Arabs and Muslims without repercussion.

Celebrity hatemonger Ann Coulter did not disappoint the rabid crowd at the annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. last month. The highlight of Coulter’s address, sandwiched between speeches by Dick Cheney, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Newt Gingrich, was, “I think our motto should be post-9-11, ‘raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'” Journalist Max Blumenthal remarked, “This declaration prompted a boisterous ovation” from the overflow crowd.

Fifteen minutes later, Blumenthal asked Frist his opinion on the “raghead” characterization. Frist responded, “I wasn’t there so I better not comment.” No major newspaper reported on Coulter’s racial epithet to the more than 1,000 Republican Party stalwarts.

The “raghead” comment is consistent with an article Coulter posted on her website, which reads in part, “Jihad monkey talks tough; jihad monkey takes the consequences. Sorry, I realize that’s offensive. How about ‘camel jockey’? What? Now what’d I say? Boy, you tent merchants sure are touchy.”

Last week, the level of xenophobia surged on Capitol Hill when Democrats Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, along with Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whipped themselves into a (bipartisan) frenzy to block Dubai Ports World from replacing a British company in running six U.S. ports.

As the Washington Post reported, “The lawmakers said they feared that national security might be compromised by letting a Middle Eastern firm manage key U.S. ports.”

Raising the level of melodrama, Clinton argued that the port management deal would “turn over our sovereignty to another country.” New York Republican congressman Vito Fossella compared the port deal to an “announcement that Dubai was to take over security at our airports.”

Schumer told reporters, “How can we turn over one of the most vital areas in our nation to a country with a significant nexus of involvement with terrorists?”

Although Schumer argued in a February 22 USA Today op-ed piece that Congressional opposition “has nothing to do with the fact that the United Arab Emirates…is an Arab nation,” the Democrats’ media attack dogs were already cut loose.

That same day, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called for “corporate racial profiling,” quoting Jan Gadiel of 9/11 Families for a Secure America: “Our borders are wide open. We don’t know who’s in our country right now, not a clue. And now they’re giving away our ports.”

Even Dowd admitted that election-year politics played a role in the Congressional mutiny. “Lawmakers, many up for re-election, have learned well from Karl Rove. Playing the terror card works.”

Wall Street Journal columnist Dan Henninger argued, “It gave the Democrats an opportunity to get to the right of the president on a terror issue, and attack him for being soft on terror.”

It is now acceptable-indeed, commonplace-to racially stereotype and denigrate Arabs and Muslims. And there is no outcry against the curtailment of their civil liberties and rights.

A December 2004 Cornell University opinion poll showed 44 percent of Americans approved curtailing some civil liberties for all Muslim Americans-including registering with the federal government, close monitoring of mosques by law enforcement agencies and racially profiling citizens of Muslim or Middle Eastern heritage.

Interestingly, a recent Gallup World Poll of predominantly Islamic countries showed that overwhelming majorities said they favored the right to freedom of speech in their own countries.

As journalist Robert C. Koehler remarked, ” Maybe we should be careful about making common cause with born-again free speech advocates who never showed any tolerance for it until it became a handy club for bashing Muslims.” He added, in the current atmosphere, “It’s OK to torture them because they’ve already been dehumanized en masse. Anything could follow.”

SHARON SMITH’s new book is Women and Socialism. She can be reached at: sharon@internationalsocialist.org

 

February 10, 2016
Eoin Higgins
Clinton and the Democratic Establishment: the Ties That Bind
Fred Nagel
The Role of Legitimacy in Social Change
Jeffrey St. Clair
Why Bernie Still Won’t Win
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Aleppo Gamble Pays Off
Chris Martenson
The Return of Crisis: Everywhere Banks are in Deep Trouble
Ramzy Baroud
Next Onslaught in Gaza: Why the Status Quo Is a Precursor for War
Sheldon Richman
End, Don’t Extend, Draft Registration
Benjamin Willis
Obama in Havana
Jack Smith
Obama Intensifies Wars and Threats of War
Rob Hager
How Hillary Clinton Co-opted the Term “Progressive”
Mark Boothroyd
Syria: Peace Talks Collapse, Aleppo Encircled, Disaster Looms
Lawrence Ware
If You Hate Cam Newton, It’s Probably Because He’s Black
Jesse Jackson
Starving Government Creates Disasters Like Flint
Bill Laurance
A Last Chance for the World’s Forests?
Gary Corseri
ABC’s of the US Empire
Frances Madeson
The Pain of the Earth: an Interview With Duane “Chili” Yazzie
Binoy Kampmark
The New Hampshire Distortion: The Primaries Begin
Andrew Raposa
Portugal: Europe’s Weak Link?
Wahid Azal
Dugin’s Occult Fascism and the Hijacking of Left Anti-Imperialism and Muslim Anti-Salafism
February 09, 2016
Andrew Levine
Hillary Says the Darndest Things
Paul Street
Kill King Capital
Ben Burgis
Lesser Evil Voting and Hillary Clinton’s War on the Poor
Paul Craig Roberts
Are the Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements?
Fran Quigley
How Corporations Killed Medicine
Ted Rall
How Bernie Can Pay for His Agenda: Slash the Military
Neve Gordon
Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra
Kristin Kolb
The “Great” Bear Rainforest Agreement? A Love Affair, Deferred
Joseph Natoli
Politics and Techno-Consciousness
Hrishikesh Joshi
Selective Attention to Diversity: the Case of Cruz and Rubio
Stavros Mavroudeas
Why Syriza is Sinking in Greece
David Macaray
Attention Peyton Manning: Leave Football and Concentrate on Pizza
Arvin Paranjpe
Opening Your Heart
Kathleen Wallace
Boys, Hell, and the Politics of Vagina Voting
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail