(I do tie all this together, just a few paragraphs down.)
But, since those terrorists think they're Muslims, it's not beyond belief that they may contact, or try to influence, Muslims in America. Which means that law enforcement agencies might want to talk with American Muslims, and encourage them to feel like part of the local society. Not everybody thinks this is a good idea. Putting it mildly.
And it's very easy, given some rather common assumptions, to cry "racial profiling," and be taken seriously - whether you've got a case, or not. I realize that it's wrong to assume that's someone is guilty, based on having a funny name, or some other irrelevant factor. That sort of "racial profiling" isn't just wrong: it's stupid, wasting time and resources.
But institutionalized, officially supported, racism is, if not completely gone, well on its way to being eliminated. The Rutherford B. Hayes administration ended a long time ago, World War II has been over for more than a half-century, and it's time for everyone to pay attention to what's happening now.
And, what's not happening.
" 'An act of violence like this brings back memories of April 16,' university President Charles Steger said. 'I have no doubt that many of us feel especially distraught.'..." (The Associated Press) That masterful understatement referred to the last acts of Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Tech student who killed 32 people before killing himself, back in 2007.
There's something missing from every news article I've read about the murder, and the mass murder at Virginia Tech in 2007. Nobody seems to think that there's some significance to the killers in both cases being Asian.
It makes sense, since there isn't any reason to think so, in what's been published.
But 'making sense' isn't a high priority for the sort of people who were worried about the "Yellow Peril" a century ago.
fundamentally racist. I would no more expect to change the opinion of someone who believes that, than I would expect to convince a white supremacist that it's okay to share a neighborhood with blacks, Jews, and Catholics.
There's a bit of truth to the idea that America is a racist country. Particularly if you ignore everything that's happened since about 1950.
For example, my ancestors faced "Irish Need Not Apply" signs. One of them, asked about the family of an utterly unsuitable person who was sniffing around her daughter replied, "he doesn't have family, he's Irish."
Quite a few Irishmen, and Chinese, built the American railroad network, back in the nineteenth century. If anything, the Chinese were treated worse than the Irish.
When a lot of people came to the American west from east Asia, after the 1849 Gold Rush, they were the target of racist attacks. I don't think it helped, that some of these immigrants were shipped east to break strikes. President Rutherford B. Hayes wrote in his diary, "I would consider with favor any suitable measures to discourage the Chinese from coming to our shores." That was in 1879.
Congress passed The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, and made the act permanent in 1904. Well, fairly permanent. Times had changed in 1943, when China was an important ally against Japan. The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed, and it didn't come back.
It took a while, but the American government finally apologized for Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 (February 1942), with Public Law 100-383 (better known as the Civil Liberties Act of 1988)- signed into law on August 10, 1988.1
And, putting money where its mouth was, started the process of paying reparations to the people who had their property and their freedom take from them. (Actually signing the checks took even longer, but it did happen.) 2
What's the Point?America isn't perfect, but it isn't the racist oppressor that some people seem to believe it is. As I've written before, I'm relieved that American courts are dealing with all those broken treaties with Indian nations. And, I can't approve of the way this country acquired Hawaii, or how the Union treated the south in the days of the Reconstruction's carpetbaggers.
But that was then. America has learned, and changed. I think it helped that people from all over the world have been coming here, and showing that you don't have to be a Yankee to be a good neighbor and citizen, but that's a whole different topic.
There will always be people with severe biases, racial and otherwise. But they aren't the ones running the country.
Wake up, everybody: It's the 21st century.
- "William Felkner vs. College Conformity: Traditional Information Gatekeepers Face Another Challenge"
(December 16, 2008)
- "United States of America: 232 Years in the Freedom Business"
(July 3, 2008)
- "A Presidential Candidate Named Hussein? Get a Grip!
(February 28, 2008)
- "WWII and Japanese Americans, the War on Terror and Muslims: Learning the Wrong Lesson"
(February 15, 2008)
- "America: Intolerant? Uncaring? Reality Check in Chicago"
(December 30, 2007)
- "Los Angeles Police Department Targets Muslims! Muslim Communities Subject to GESTAPO-STYLE TACTICS!!!!"
(November 9, 2007)
- " 'Islamo-Fascism Week' - Neo-Nazis! Commie Haters! Islamophobes! Racists!"
(October 23, 2007)
- "Empire State Building Shines Green for Eid"
(October 13, 2007)
- "Beware Hate: From Any Side"
(August 28, 2007)
- "Victim of Virginia Tech slaying was decapitated"
The Associated Press (January 22, 2009)
- "Killer decapitates Va. Tech student, police say"
CNN (January 22, 2009)
- "The End of Racism"
Dinesh D'Souza, via GoogleBooks (1996)
- Caution: the author of this book does not have politically correct ideas. Not recommended reading for people whose minds are made up.
- "JAPANESE LATIN AMERICANS TO RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR INTERNMENT DURING WORLD WAR II"
United States Department of Justice (June 12, 1998)
- "JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY OF JAPANESE AMERICANS WHO LIVED IN PHOENIX AREA FOR REDRESS PAYMENTS"
United States Department of Justice (August 3, 1994)
- "Teaching With Documents: Documents and Photographs Related to Japanese Relocation During World War II"
The National Archives
- "Japanese-American Internment and Redress: Petition and Coalition Building"
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- "Race and Ethnicity: Life in the Melting Pot"
- "Exploring the Japanese American Internment through Film & the Internet"
Center for Asian American Media
- "The Chinese Exclusion Act: A Black Legacy"
- Despite that "A Black Legacy" in the title, the article does mention Chinese in America quite a bit.
Updated (January 23, 2009)
Speculation about the recent murder being "racist" has begun (in a poker forum's 'off topic' area).
The idea that this disgusting murder has something to do with "racism" seems to be spreading, judging from this blog post: "My thoughts on Virgina Tech, Asians, Condolescences,[!] Racism and etc[!]"
I see that the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) had some pretty good advice, dating back to the 2007 mass murder at Virginia Tech:
"Media Advisory: Coverage on Virginia Tech Shooting Incident"
AAJA (April 16, 2007)
"As coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting continues to unfold, AAJA urges all media to avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason. There is no evidence at this early point that the race or ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident, and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people.
"The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful. It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color and heritage.
"We further remind members of the media that the standards of news reporting should be universal and applied equally no matter the platform or medium, including blogs.
I see that I was following the AAJA's 2007 advice, since "there is a compelling or germane reason" for mentioning race and ethnicity in this post.
I'm not at all surprised. There are people who believe that Asians are 'those people,' and 'not us.' And, who don't like anybody who is not 'us.' But, as I said, they're not running the country.
1 Curiously, two of America's better-known presidents were involved in taking property from Japanese Americans and locking them up. Franklin Roosevelt gave the order, Ronald Reagan signed the act that apologized for it, and got the ball rolling on at least a token restitution.
2 Eventually, someone's going to figure out what I think about racial reparations, from what I wrote (December 18, 2008) about "...'social justice' - which seems to involve taking money away from one set of people and giving it to another, because of what a third set of people did over a century ago...."
I don't think race reparations, American style, are a good idea, since there are no people alive today, who actually experienced slavery in the Old South. And, if we're going to start rewarding people damages because of what happened to their ancestors, there's almost no end to it.
For example, since I'm half Irish, I could claim that I should be given reparations from England, for the way Henry VII and others treated my ancestors. And, I could join the English in demanding reparations from Norway, and Denmark, based on what the Vikings did, about a thousand years ago.
I'm half Norwegian, and the odds are pretty good that I've got ancestors who were involved in the Viking raids: so I'd better start looking for someone else to demand money from.
The Irish, English, and Norwegians could, collectively, as northern Europeans, demand reparations from Italy, since their ancestors were more-or-less directly oppressed by the Romans. And Rome is in Italy.
It doesn't need to stop there. All Europeans, Italians included, could demand reparations from Ukraine, since the Scythians (people who lived where Ukraine is now, more or less) harassed the Romans (and practically everyone else they could reach). And Ancient Rome, after all, laid the foundation for Western Civilization. (Inconsistent? Sure, why not? We're talking Rights and Social Justice here.)
Ukrainians, in turn, could demand reparations from Iran, since the Persians oppressed them. Well, Darius I tried to invade their territory. Unsuccessfully.
Iran? My guess is that, digging back far enough, I'd find someone who 'oppressed' Persia.
The point? Bad as slavery was, that was then. This is now.
The individuals around back in the days of slavery are dead: slaves and slave owners alike. I don't see the point in rewarding one ethnic group, based on what happened to (many of) their ancestors, at the expense of other people who had nothing to do with the offense.
The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 is, really, different.
It involved an official apology - long overdue - and payment to individuals whose property was taken, and who were imprisoned during WWII. The reparations were not to all Japanese Americans. Just, as far as I can tell, to the individuals who were hurt. It's been expensive: As of August, 1994, the Civil Rights Division's Office of Redress Administration (ORA) had paid about $1,590,000,000 to 79,943 Japanese Americans. But, I think, worth it.