I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts on the recent explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon on April 15. Almost a hundred people were injured and a few people were killed. Among them was a little girl who ran on behalf of the victims and the families of the Sandy Hook massacre that happened last year.
So, what happened afterwards? The usual. The news jumped on this story immediately implying terrorism. Reports came that describe the horror, some have even had the audacity to sensationalize and dramatize it purely for ratings. But the clincher was when certain reports referenced other attacks done by Muslim extremists. Hence – if not done already- influenced the public that the person or group behind it was a militant Islamic extremist(s) part of a network hellbent on America’s destruction. Once again, the American people are stung by fear and uncertainly.
There were hardly any mention of the acts of terror committed by white males such as Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber, or Ted Kacynski, the Unabomber, for examples. The usual suspects were Arab or Muslim terrorists.
As such, social networks were swarming with anti-Muslim, racist comments calling for blood. Most of the people were more pissed because they suspected Muslims and Middle-Easterners were responsible, then they were mourning the lives affected by the tragedy. (This is especially true on Twitter courtesy of Yes You’re Racist.) Keep in mind that were were no reports of any suspects soon after the explosion and the articles came rolling in. Yet, the image of an Islamic terrorist sprang up much faster than their synapse of intelligence.
President Obama has already pledged to hunt down and punish those responsible, but will this lead us into another senseless war for revenge if the threat was indeed foreign? Will this have harsh consequences here in the form of Draconian laws against people here in America? Online alone, we’ve seen the anger and hatred directed towards Muslim and Arab communities by those jumping to conclusions. Muslims are already dreading and hoping that the suspect(s) are anyone but. People of color in a racialized nation know that stigmas and policies are placed on whole communities due to the crimes of a few. So, if the suspects are indeed Middle Eastern or Muslim (not saying they are, but in just in case), guess who will be afflicted, especially in Boston?
The Boston bombing opened up a can of worms this society wanted to ignore. It reminded us that not only is this a vulnerable nation, but also a suspicious, paranoid and racially resentful nation. People of color who commit violent acts promotes America’s oppressive tactics to punish whole communities, or even nations. It will only invite more distrust and paranoia, and of course, the usual response would be that “they” brought it on themselves. Strange that society doesn’t feel that way if the criminal was white and just as – or more – destructive.