Race does not determine criminality.

I can’t tell you how terrifying it is to learn that a plane flying into an airport less than 30 minutes from your apartment — on Christmas morning, no less — has been targeted by a terrorist. It’s almost as frightening as learning that the kind of man that would put on an underwear bomb is getting medical treatment at the University you attend, minutes away from your home. But none of these things scare me more than how civil liberties, of the racial variety, have become expendable in the past week. Despite my fears, I fully reject racial profiling as a means to prevent terrorist attacks on American soil.
Race and nationality are simply inadequate as deterministic factors in gauging one’s criminality. People of many different races have committed acts of domestic and international terrorism or have been guilty of possessing weapons of mass destruction. As recent as 2003, a white man plead guilty to possessing a weapon of mass destruction.

Inside the home and storage facilities of William Krar, investigators found a sodium-cyanide bomb capable of killing thousands, more than a hundred explosives, half a million rounds of ammunition, dozens of illegal weapons, and a mound of white-supremacist and antigovernment literature.

Many people probably didn’t hear about this incident. And in a vast majority of the coverage I have seen, there was no mention of the racial or religious identity of the couple involved.
Yet, the recent coverage of Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab mentions, even stresses, his Nigerian identity as if it is related to his criminality. It’s pertinent to the facts to mention his point of departure, Nigeria. However, the harping on Abdulmutallab’s Nigerian identity has made the identifier “Nigerian,” in a matter of days, synonymous with terrorist.
It’s worth noting that our mass media usually doesn’t do this when reporting on suspects that are “Caucasian,” “American,” or “Christian” who are involved in acts of domestic terrorism. Three notable mass shootings were committed this year by Michael McLendon, Robert Stewart and George Sodini. Very little was mentioned about their race or faith in relation to their crimes.
And it shouldn’t have been.


Many of the same proponents of racial profiling would think it’s ridiculous for us to observe these 3 unique cases and conclude that all white males, for example, should be subject to additional surveillance in America because whiteness and maleness are factors the cases have in common. If we acknowledge that these associations are preposterous, we have to say the same for suspects of international terrorism. Further, few have acknowledged that racial profiling may have very well misdirected our energies regarding Abdulmutallab. Let’s face it: if we have followed public sentiment on racial profiling after 9/11 and made one’s brownness a factor in terrorist targeting, it might have contributed to why someone that looked like Abdulmutallab went under the radar.
What is clear at this point is that there is no evidence that racial profiling is effective at apprehending terrorists. What’s not to be missed is that our country would fare better using numerous factors in gauging criminality — that actually have to do with criminality. Warnings to the US authorities from people’s relatives come to mind.

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34 Comments

  1. Audrey
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    But I heard on the cbc that he was not a crminal, that he had locked himself inside the bathroom because he was ill.

  2. Audrey
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    But I heard on the cbc that he was not a crminal, that he had locked himself inside the bathroom because he was ill- esentially the story was retracted. However, it is true-
    I see the association inthe news and in fiction of brown=terrorist al the time.

  3. rhowan
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    That was a second man. He just had the misfortune of falling ill on the same airline flight that had experienced an attempted bombing by a fellow Nigerian two days earlier. Because he wouldn’t (couldn’t) come out of the washroom they grounded the flight, isolated the plane, arrested him, inspected all the bags and interviewed all the passengers. Turns out gastroenteritis is not a weapon of mass destruction. :P

  4. habeas
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    While I certainly understand the problematic issues surrounding racial profiling, I remain unsure that religious profiling might not be of some use, specifically for airport screeners.
    The terrorists who were identified in the majority of the last decade’s air terrorist incidents were extremist Muslims. Does this mean all Muslims entering or travelling within the U.S. should automatically receive an additional level of screening of some sort? Doubtful. However, does it make clear why ignoring religion doesn’t help in detecting terrorism? Screening random people clearly wasn’t effective, since this man and others have made it onto their flights.
    Screening passengers is going to require looking for identifying characteristics of some sort, and since ethnicity is obviously a poor choice, what alternatives do you suggest?
    And seriously, if a family member gets angry at a child and decides to get them in trouble with the government, you think that should put someone on the no-fly list? That seems to give family members an awful lot of undue power over each other.

  5. JesiDangerously
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Off topic slightly, but I live in Tyler, TX and I had never heard about that man with the cyanide bomb until I read this article. I asked around the office, and no one else had heard about it either. My friends who work at the local news stations? Never heard of it, either. So I’d say that story was pretty successfully buried, and thank you so much for posting it here.

  6. ArtyB
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    This is very true. We,Americans, have the tendency to judge a whole race of people by the atrocities that one person commits. This, however, is not true for white men. White men who commit atrocities are seen as individuals.Their sins don’t get projected unto the whole white race.

  7. TD
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I have to disagree. Many of the deterministic things you say are also thrown around about white men, or simply about men, quite easily. This site loves to discuss how maleness determines criminality and that suspicion of all men is justified by the actions of a few men. This site talks about how men are inherently violent in the exact terms that it derides.
    While I agree that discrimination is wrong and profiling is at its heart ridiculous, and I have fought vociferously against it. When the condemnation is coming from feministing it sounds more that the objection isn’t about discrimination but that its the wrong type of discrimination.

  8. William
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    “This site talks about how men are inherently violent in the exact terms that it derides.”
    So, uh, which site were you reading? Because I seem to recall them standing up for not-so-macho men like me in the final third of this video on super bowl ads.
    http://www.feministing.com/archives/013592.html

  9. William
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    “This site talks about how men are inherently violent in the exact terms that it derides.”
    So, uh, which site were you reading? Because I seem to recall them standing up for not-so-macho men like me in the final third of this video on super bowl ads.
    http://www.feministing.com/archives/013592.html

  10. ArtyB
    Posted December 29, 2009 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    TD, while serial killers are mostly known to be white men–data says so–when I see a white man I don’t automatically think that he is the next Ted Bundy.So your claim that feministing likes to talk about how “maleness determines criminality and that suspicion of all men is justified by the actions of a few men” is specious. If it were true I would run from every white man I see.
    From my understanding of the piece, Ms Afriyie did not call for the”wrong type of discrimination” against any race. She is against discrimination of any sort. What she seem to have said is that caution should be used because we tend to cross boundaries unintentionally or intentionally.

  11. William
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Sorry. I’m not entirely sure how this happened so long after the original post.

  12. TD
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    TD, while serial killers are mostly known to be white men–data says so–when I see a white man I don’t automatically think that he is the next Ted Bundy.
    Except many on this site will suggest that looking upon every man they meet as a potential rapist is a legitimate and defensible position, one which is unique because they do not hold that position for looking at anyone else as a potential perpetrator of any other crime.
    On this site any act perpetrated by a man against a woman is immediately taken to evidence the views of all of society in the US.
    From my understanding of the piece, Ms Afriyie did not call for the”wrong type of discrimination” against any race. She is against discrimination of any sort.
    Perhaps so, certainly that is what the post states. Thing is I’ve seen the justifications for racial profiling on sites and the arguments for them, and I’ve seen the posts on this site and the exact same biases are trotted out, the same arguments, the same talking points. Simply instead of talking about the “problem with islam” the commenters talk about “the problem with masculinity/men”. But for the changed group to tar with the actions of psychopaths and radicals I have not seen one appreciable difference in the arguments.

  13. LindseyLou
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Is the author being deliberately obtuse by comparing media coverage of Michael McLendon, Robert Stewart, and George Sodini to the coverage of Abdulmutallab? Abdulmutallab was associated with Al Qaeda, a worldwide terrorist organization that doesn’t hide the fact that it wants to see Americans destroyed. As far as I can tell from quick googling, McLendon, Stewart, and Sodini had no connections to any terrorist network.
    Of course the media is going to pay more attention to Aldulmutallab’s faith and nationality because he was connected to a worldwide religious terrorist organization! Americans have an interested in knowing which countries have connections to Al Qaeda.
    And I think that saying Nigerian is now synonymous with terrorist is really stretching it to make a point. Who is saying that? Fox News? I just watched an entire segment on Rachel Maddow about all the attention Yemen is getting in the aftermath of this story, despite the fact that Aldulmutallab was Nigerian, educated in the United Kingdom, etc. This young man’s Nigerian father reported him! Any thinking person is going to understand that Nigerian is in no way synonymous with terrorist just because of this poor kid.

  14. JessWin
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    It’s unclear what people in this discussion mean by racial profiling. It’s one thing if we’re talking about passengers at the airport thinking discriminate thoughts about Muslim people, but it’s another thing if we’re talking about institutional workings that constitute racial profiling. Women’s wariness and fear of men – however unproductive or unfair it is in various contexts – is much different from entire institutions that wield the power to curtail individuals’ and groups’ rights. Some women’s adamant stance that fear of men is defensible because the fear of rape is real can rise out of feelings of powerlessness. The American government and the institutions through which its power flows are not in positions of powerlessness – that is, women can fear men in ways that do not institutionally or even personally harm men. And unlike the American government and institutions related to it, women are not in positions, and do not have the responsibility, to protect rights.
    I think your point, however, is an important one. Women and men need to avoid approaching each other as types, and any anti-sexist activism worth its salt creates spaces of fairness for both men and women. More than disagreement with this premise, my above points show what I see as understated institutional and state power in your comparison.

  15. aleks
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    There are criminals and even terrorists of all races and religions, but attacks on our airlines have been the province of a specific group for decades.
    Nobody is being honest if they claim they want to get on a plane where young Saudi or Egyptian men haven’t been scrutinized more than Indian businesswomen, Canadian grandmothers and Mexican nuns.

  16. aka spike the cat
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    You are exaggerating. Nobody here has written that men are inherently violent.
    Please check the archives on rape and violence and look where we discuss ad nauseam the cultural and institutionalized (the isms) factors that contribute to violence and a culture of violence.
    Secondly, if you are going to accuse people of having a belief, get it right. For those who truly believe that men are inherently violent they also must believe that men lack impulse control. When one truly believes these two things are true, the ONLY logical remedy is gender segregation. No need to waste time discussing any contributing factors to violence or alternative remedies, if that is one’s true belief.
    Now please point me to the feministing archives where the above position is advocated and approved by majority posters.
    And then maybe you should take up your beef with Japan, Brazil, Mexico city and every other cosmopolitan community that is at a loss for how to keep female passengers on public transportation safe. And while you’re at it, you should write to the prison system and demand that prisons be de-segregated by gender as well (ditto for detention centers and refugee camps, where applicable). All female brothels should also be closed down for advocating gender segregation to protect women. You might want to call up a few countries as well but that’s up to you.
    My guess is you’ve never considered these thing to be so problematic because you seem like a reasonable person; and you recognize that the benefits of the right to not be subject to unreasonable gendered violence outweighs the risks of resorting to segregation—which is an over-kill, band-aid solution that doesn’t address the individuals who are causing the problems.
    My guess is that when the STATE and BUSINESSES enforces gender segregation to temper male on female violence, it does not offend your sensibilities, especially when there is a potential benefit favoring men (an example would be the option to go to a legal brothel vs the status of illegal prostitution).
    So my question is then why is it when INDIVIDUAL women DISCUSS (which is what we are doing here) what actions they take in their own PERSONAL LIVES it’s taken as an affront to all of masculinity and evidence that women think all men are inherently dangerous?

  17. Toongrrl
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It’s come to this. Not only
    do you have to deal with
    people not prounouncing your
    name right, you get targeted
    by airport security because
    of your race (I have a very
    difficult spanish name)

  18. liv79
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Well put and cleverly argued. Thanks.

  19. TD
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    You are exaggerating. Nobody here has written that men are inherently violent.
    Please check the archives on rape and violence and look where we discuss ad nauseam the cultural and institutionalized (the isms) factors that contribute to violence and a culture of violence.

    I’ve read quite a bit on this site and I know hwat has been argued, perhaps instead you should read some of the arguments in favor of racial profiling, many will argue vociferously that they aren’t prejudiced and they don’t believe that its something inherent in the people they intend to profile, merely something caused by the culture which justifies their suspicion. Are you okay with that argument?

  20. TD
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    It’s unclear what people in this discussion mean by racial profiling. It’s one thing if we’re talking about passengers at the airport thinking discriminate thoughts about Muslim people, but it’s another thing if we’re talking about institutional workings that constitute racial profiling.
    I don’t think they’re different in the least, peoples fears inform those institutions, and justify some of their practices. Whats more if a person becomes convinced that someone is ‘suspicious’ that suspicion can cause the plane to be grounded. They don’t need to be a part of any institution. For example I think things like this are part of the problem not excusable because the actor wasn’t a part of an institution.
    Women’s wariness and fear of men – however unproductive or unfair it is in various contexts – is much different from entire institutions that wield the power to curtail individuals’ and groups’ rights.
    This only makes sense if you believe women hold no power. That concept is increasingly ridiculous every year. Women do have a large amount of power, this isn’t the 1950s feminism did actually succeed in quite a bit…
    Further institutions do enforce this fear. Ever have people change seats on an airline because you’re a scary man? I have for all of the intimidating acts of sitting in my seat (clean shaven and wearing a suit) and reading a book on Malaysia. Most airlines consider it too dangerous to seat men anywhere near children, because we’re all criminals don’t you know?

  21. aka spike the cat
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    First let’s compare apples to apples.
    Individual women exercising their choice to take reasonable precautions (even if you don’t agree, even if it’s over-kill) against being victimized by violence is not an appropriate comparison to profiling–a claim you seem keen on making.
    Profiling in practice is something performed by institutions, i.e., businesses, groups, agencies, etc. The closest comparison in practice today is institutionalized segregation.
    Both are premised on the same principle of using a few bad apples to justify a rather extreme position with the hope that the benefit to the whole outweighs the infringement on the rights of the individuals (or outweighs any additional inconvenience or burden) for whichever group is “suspect”.
    And no I don’t agree with racial profiling because I haven’t seen evidence that it actually works and because it ensnares innocents. Pretty simple, really.
    You claim though that many feminists here truly have a position that all men are inherently violent or dangerous yet the only thing you have to offer is what can only be a knee-jerk response to the blog’s cultural critique (sometimes hit and sometimes miss, I’ll give you that), personal anecdotes or even plain ol’ venting.
    On the other hand, institutions and business that blatantly separate men and women or restrict the movements of men and women for the sole purpose of protecting women from men (the reverse is rarer) seem to get a free pass from your analysis of what constitutes belief in inherent male violence.

  22. JessWin
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your point that passengers who aren’t part of the institution can influence the way institutions work – good point.
    My point that “women’s wariness and fear of men – however unproductive or unfair it is in various contexts – is much different from entire institutions that wield the power to curtail individuals’ and groups’ rights” does make sense without believing that women hold no power. We have to talk about what we mean by power, then – I explained that women do not have the power to protect or infringe rights (few individual men do, either). In other ways, women are powerful in certain circumstances while having relatively little power in others. The example I responded to in my last comments was women routinely fearing men because they might be rapists. When women discuss and express this fear, it regularly, but not always, involves being alone or unprotected. Rarely is there even opportunity in these examples for women to employ power from somewhere else in a way that systematically curtails men’s rights (as in your example of passengers on airplanes).
    Now, though, you’ve raised a different issue – people believing that men can’t be trusted around children. In my last comments, I never said that women’s fear of men was always fair and always defensible (I can think of a few examples – some white women’s fear of men of color, for instance). People changing seats because they don’t want to sit by a man, while illustrating your point, still doesn’t get at our larger disagreement. Systematically targeting Muslim people has much different origins from women either not wanting to be around men or not wanting their children to be around men. The outcomes might appear similar – both groups of people can feel wronged, misunderstood, and that an injustice has taken place – but their origins, and then the larger consequences, are much different. For a man to feel this way as a man, it takes being around women and children in certain circumstances. Muslim people and other people of color are likely to be negotiating institutional constraints regularly, regardless of the circumstances, and with a higher chance of having their personal protections compromised. (History has laid such a substantial groundwork for that concern.)
    Again, I never said that it’s always fair for women to fear men. I don’t think that it is, and I know that men can feel the consequences of that fear. That fear comes from a place much different from white Americans’ fear of Muslim people, and we ought to incorporate that history into our evaluation of fear. You mention that feminist movement made many gains since the 50s – that’s obvious (LOL yes, not believing that is “increasingly ridiculous,” but I never argued that). But let’s go ahead and talk history for a minute. The 1960s-70s women’s liberation movement that struggled for radical institutional changes indicates that women rarely wielded power institutionally. Some women’s liberation groups were into embracing feminism as a lifestyle, other groups were out to change the way power is wielded in the US. Many of their efforts, and both individual men’s and institutional resistance to change, indicate that women had few avenues (except if they were white) into traditional institutions. No gains of women’s liberation resulted in women obtaining the power to curtail the individual rights of men – depending on which of their goals we cite, few feminists at the time wanted to restrict men in any way that was unrelated to women’s ability to maintain and protect their own persons.
    Why women fear men, and how that fear manifests itself in movement goals, originates out of a place different from whites’ fear of Muslim people. The government has rarely submitted itself to women to be used however they like (the CIA and FBI were infiltrating feminist groups, after all), and I doubt that women would actually use power to subordinate men. Whites’ fear of Muslims, however, has a profound institutional and governmental arm.

  23. aleks
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    This is a continuation of an argument on another thread where TD and Kandela took the position that women owe it to themselves and to men to act as if there are no rapists. Women who worry about rape apparently are pawns of rape culture, victimizing themselves, living in baseless fear and really unfair to men.
    That said, this site does frequently degenerate into childish and flagrantly false boys-against-girls critiques, for example any discussion of abortion politics where it’s those dastardly pro-life men bravely opposed by pro-choice women, as if Biden and Reid weren’t men, Palin and Pelosi weren’t women, any position categorically rejected by women was politically viable, and Roe v. Wade hadn’t been decided by men.

  24. GREGORYABUTLER10031
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a radical idea.
    America should stop meddling in the internal affairs of Muslim countries.
    And all American troops and “civilian contractors” (that is, mercenaries) should be withdrawn immediately and unconditionally from Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan?
    And America should cut off all of it’s $ 5 billion a year in military aid to Israel.
    In other words, if America wasn’t antagonizing the Muslim world, they wouldn’t want to kill us.
    So, much as you wouldn’t poke a hornet’s nest unless you want to get stung, if this country’s government left the Muslims the hell alone, we wouldn’t have a problem.

  25. GREGORYABUTLER10031
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    A Yemeni organization that claims it has ties with al-Qaeda claimed that Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab was one of their guys after he got arrested on that plane – and they have no prerecorded statement to prove he was one of their guys (most al-Qaeda guys tape pre mission video statements that are released after their attack to claim responsibility).
    That group in Yemen might have been grandstanding – taking responsibility for an attack that they had nothing to do with, and may not have even had the capacity to carry out, by claiming Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab as one of their guys.
    That group may not even have actual ties to al-Qaeda – a lot of Islamist groups claim to be al-Qaeda cells to get street cred (like “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia” an Iraqi group that had nothing to do with al-Qaeda and didn’t even exist til the US invasion of Iraq)
    Basically, claming al-Qaeda ties is a cheap and easy way of getting “street cred” in the Islamist movement.
    Operationally speaking, al-Qaeda as such pretty much exhausted it’s overseas operational capacity almost 9 years ago with the 9/11 bombings.
    But the American wars on Afghanistan and Iraq have spawned many copycats, who claim al-Qaeda’s label, but are actually individuals or tiny groups that have nothing to do with al-Qaeda as such.
    Yet another reason why America needs to end its war on the Muslim world.

  26. GREGORYABUTLER10031
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    So, basically, you are willing to deny freedom of movement to 4 million of your fellow Americans, and deny free access to America for over a billion people, just because of the acts of a few?
    That’s pretty damned racist!
    Should all White American men have been banned from entering federal buildings after the Oklahoma City bombings?
    Should all White men be banned from entering gyms because of the George Sodini incident in Pittsburgh?
    Should all White women be banned from going to lakes because of Susan Smith?
    Following your racist logic, that’s exactly what we should do – punish many innocents for the crimes of a few who happen to look like them.
    I have no problem traveling with passengers of any race, and I feel that, as per a little document called the United States Constitution no person should be subject to police scrutiny unless their is probable cause!!
    There are 60 million Egyptians and 21 million Saudi Arabians, Aleks – they are no more responsible for the acts of a dozen of their countrymen than you are responsible for Timothy McVeigh’s crimes!

  27. davenj
    Posted December 30, 2009 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Good luck with that. Insofar as the West continues to support diametrically opposed ideals like secular government and the like, though, it will remain an easy target regardless of our governmental actions. And being rich doesn’t exactly help us out, either.
    We should end our military and political actions in the Middle East only insofar as they are unjust, not because some folks who don’t like those actions would like to blow up planes full of civilians.
    And last I checked Israel wasn’t a Muslim country, so why would it fall under the domain of Muslim lands that we need back out of?

  28. aleks
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    I’m not denying anyone freedom of movement. I have no problem traveling with anyone from anywhere. Give your reading a chance to catch up with your smug perpetual outrage. I said I’m glad African American grandmothers and Filipina nuns aren’t subjected to the same airline security scrutiny as young Saudi men, mostly because that would make loading airplanes impossible.
    Al-Qaeda is targeting our airlines and Al-Qaeda is an extremist Muslim group. Of course, you would never think that when targeting a religious/ethnic based gang one could focus on people who meet the membership requirements. That’s the “racist logic” of racists like me. The Ku Klux Klan is an extremist white Protestant American group, but when (a century late) law enforcement started going after the Klan you don’t think they should have applied any more scrutiny to white Protestant American men than they could spend equally on every last black little girl or Jewish grandmother. Unless of course by your absurd “logic” you’re some kind fucking racist.
    You hear about swastika vandalism on a black church or a Jewish cemetery or a cross burning and I’m sure you lay even odds it was a black guy or a Chinese woman, right? ‘Cause to assume the people committing Aryan Nations terrorism are most likely white Christians just because they always have been would be “racist”?

  29. LindseyLou
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    It’s still terrorism (or wannabe terrorism) from Muslim extremists. And as you’ve pointed out, it’s more widespread than just al-Qaeda. So I still maintain that Abdulmutallab’s faith is more newsworthy than the faiths of the other men mentioned in the post.

  30. TD
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Society’s fear of men, especially societies fear of young men does have a strong institutional arm. In schools it translates to increased punishments and the suspicion that every male child is a potential school shooter. In society at large it the belief that only men are violent translates to increased conviction rates and increased sentencing for men, and lenient attitudes towards women. Even in the face of clear evidence of female criminality. In fact societies perceptions of this can be used as a weapon in and of themselves
    For a man to feel this way as a man, it takes being around women and children in certain circumstances.
    In any circumstance. What circumstance is safer then an airplane tbh? Surrounded by people with the possibility of air marshalls, a crew which is likely on edge in the first place. The fact that entire airlines do not trust men in that circumstance indicates the pervasiveness of the fear.
    On an airline surrounded by people and your assumed that not only are you a criminal but are going to do something awful to those around you. This leads to the paranoia which results in fathers getting the cops called on them because they took their kids to the park, the fear of persecution dissuades many men from taking a more active role in their children’s lives. The paranoia propagated about men is an institution of oppression no different then the one railed against by the OP, yet justified because the fear is merely considered more just.
    That is an institutional bias and one men do not get to leave behind at any point.
    Systematically targeting Muslim people has much different origins from women either not wanting to be around men or not wanting their children to be around men.
    Its a systemic bias based upon attributing the actions of a few to an entire group. Whether the bias is ‘all muslims are terrorists’ or ‘all men are sex offenders’ it is fundamentally the same.

  31. BitterBitch
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    A federal judge dismissed all charges Thursday against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians in a crowded Baghdad intersection in 2007.
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/12/31/us/AP-US-Blackwater-Prosecution.html?hp

  32. aleks
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to hear his excuse and justification for the Bali bombing, not to mention the steady slaughter of Muslims by Muslims.

  33. davenj
    Posted December 31, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Well, they just shouldn’t get involved with Muslim countries, now should they?
    Even if we followed every one of his suggestions how could we possibly stop what radical clerics deem blasphemy without severely curtailing individual rights? Theo Van Gogh, The Jyllands Posten, Salman Rushdie, and a slew of others in the West have committed acts which these folks deem hostile, whether they’re government approved or not.
    It just takes one guy or gal to say “Muhammad Sucks” and the government to protect his right to say that, and I guess we’re back in the crosshairs.
    The truth is that isolationism alone won’t solve this problem. There is a case to be made that the US should curtail its actions in the Middle East, but only insofar as they do not match our values, not the values of some Muslim terrorists.
    There would still be a problem even if the West ended all engagement with the Middle East in every way. To say otherwise is to ignore what terror groups themselves are saying.

  34. aleks
    Posted January 1, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The truth is that isolationism alone won’t solve this problem. There is a case to be made that the US should curtail its actions in the Middle East, but only insofar as they do not match our values, not the values of some Muslim terrorists.
    Some due regard to the values of Muslim non-terrorists might help too.

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