Invoking Collective Guilt

Recently, the city of Paris was rocked by a terrorist attack. The Islamic state known as ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. As expected, the right jumped on this tragedy to blame Muslims, condemn Islam and lose their conservative minds over Syrian refugees whom they try to link to the terrorist attack and terrorism in general.

I’m not a Muslim, but I am a person of color in a racist society, and I know what it’s like to be collectively blamed for the actions of a few. Whenever there’s a crime committed by a black person or when black people do something stupid, the whole race is blamed, questioned and examined as if to figure out why we’re so fucked up without blaming racism, in most cases. When it comes to Muslims, their religion and even nations and races are lumped as the face of worldwide terrorism. When a terrorist act is committed anywhere in the world, Muslims are the usual suspects, even the ones not responsible. Guilty until proven innocent.

The sad truth is that in this nation, you’d have a better chance of being killed or injured by a crazy ass, gun toting, right-wing white male jackass than an Islamic extremist. But you would certainly never know that by watching the Western media. Islamic terrorism gets hyper-coverage while white male terrorism gets individualized and excused. “He was a lonewolf with mental problems” is the narrative for those stories.

If you’re a part of “the other”, there are certain things that is expected of you. For Muslims, whenever something goes down, you are seemingly expected to condemn the actions of a particular individual or group that committed the act in the name of Islam. At least it appears that way in the mainstream media.

But what is not reasonable to do in some media circles, especially of the conservative variety, is defend yourself and your religion. If you’re a member of “the other” and you or your people have been the victims of some kind of bigotry, it is unacceptable to not only defend but also demand respect and change. Instead, you’re expected to just shut the hell up, let it go and go about your business. And if it happens again, repeat.

Right now, Muslims and Syrian refugees are being demonized because of the attacks, and if they speak up and command decency, they are further lashed out because they are guilty of association. It’s like what’s happening with black college students all over the country who are speaking out against racism. They are denounced by some media pundits for having the gall to command to be respected as human beings.

The fact that certain people have to fight to be recognized as people says a hell of a lot about a society. Such a society is far from being civilized, and pathetically, there are some people who are proud of it.


2 thoughts on “Invoking Collective Guilt

  1. May suggest reading Neely Fuller’s definition of white supremacy, it might help explain the guard dog mentality of white people forever prying,interfering, snooping, spying (well you get the point) with black peoples discussions. The poor and the so called middle class whites even though the system is crushing them feel the most need to protect it. They instinctively feel any affirmation of us is a negative for them.

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