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Regarding the Boston bombers, let’s not judge all white people by the actions of a few

APTOPIX Boston Marathon Explosions Suspect

Let’s play a little game with racial and religious labels, shall we?

I saw a headline on a right-wing Web site the other day that said this: “Looks Like Boston Bombing Suspects Not ‘White Americans.'”

But, of course, that’s only half right. On second thought, it’s only one-fourth right. Only one of the suspects is an American, but both are white.

Joan Walsh of Salon puts it THIS WAY:

[E]thnically in this country, we count Americans of Russian descent, as well as Chechens, as white. Dzhokhar [Tsarniev] was a naturalized American citizen; Tamarlan had applied for citizenship but reportedly didn’t get it because of FBI concerns about his possible ties to Islamic radicals.

So why are the Tsarnaev brothers not white, at least to right-wingers? Is it only because they’re Muslim? Muslim immigrants? Or is it because they’re “bad,” and whiteness must be surrendered when white people are bad?

Yes, indeed, the ethnic roots of the Tsarniev brothers are purely Caucasian. And as I recall from my experience as a police-beat reporter back in the day, the cops usually referred to white folks in their reports as “Caucasian.”

So that means we can use those terms, “white” and “Caucasian,” interchangeably, right? Even in the case of the Tsarniev brothers, right? The Tsarniev family is a white family, right?

But this little factoid raises questions about painting the Boston suspects — and people like them — with a broad brush.

As Tommy Christopher SAYS:

[W]hite privilege means never having to say you’re sorry for what other white people did. Not now, not ever. The skin color that was so relevant early in the week disappeared like a white rabbit in a hat, replaced by a Muslim rabbit with no discernible coloration.

And on behalf of the more hateful wingnuts among us,  I say damn these confusing complications!  White people are not supposed to be Muslims. They’re supposed to be Christians, or maybe even Jews, but not Muslims. White Muslims just mess up the whole meme.

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19 Comments

  1. What’s defining them isn’t their White color, its their allegiance to the country they came from, Chechnya, where it appears a very active minority hold hostile beliefs towards our country as well as Russia. These two men, appear at least at this time in our knowledge of them, to hate Americans and love their country of origin and the religion they choose to believe in more. It appears the only reason they stayed was to cause the rest of us harm.

    Many races, including Whites, Blacks and all the colors in between, can be defined not by their color but by who they are affiliated or identifying with. That’s where statistics come in handy, to determine based on population totals vs measured activities (in this case criminal activities), if such identities constitute a growing and deepening threat to general society.

  2. Craig Knauss

    Robert,

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at. What is the basis for Chechens to hold hostile beliefs toward the U.S.? It sounds more like an al Qaida influence, rather than a Chechen one. And do not confuse that with Islam. I’ve worked with and lived near a number of Muslims and I’m not aware of one who hated America. If that was the case, we should invade Dearborn, MI immediately. You seem to forget that not all Muslims are radicals like al Qaida, just like not all Jews are Hasidic, and not all Christians listen to Pat Robertson.

  3. “they came from, Chechnya, where it appears a very active minority hold hostile beliefs towards our country as well as Russia.”

    I think I covered my bases. It’s my understanding that the active minority that hates America over there in Chechnya are Muslim and may or may not have affiliations with Al Qaida. Were the Chechen’s that did numerous mass attacks on Russian targets including the killing of school children (over 200) and about 80 people in a theater, have affiliations with Al Qaida? I don’t know. Could be just a rogue group of militants from that country who may be Muslim.

  4. Craig Knauss

    Robert,

    You still haven’t explained why Chechens hate America. You just repeated the same unsupported assumption, “they came from, Chechnya, where it appears a very active minority hold hostile beliefs towards our country as well as Russia.”

    The Chechens want to break away from Russia. How does that involve the U.S.?

  5. I think we’re still trying to figure that out, why they hate us, that is. We were warned about militant Chechen’s and their ill feeling towards America as I’ve stated in the past. Why they have this animosity towards America is still relatively unknown although its been said they are angry with us because they feel we didn’t support their cause (to break away from Russia) like they wanted us to. It appears to me you want to believe these two young men were Al Qaida operatives and not militants from the Chechnyan secession movement, who cherished their Chechnyan roots more than their America citizenship, who also happened to be radical Muslim in their beliefs (as evidenced by the older one being expelled from his mosque for inappropriate activities). . When 911 occurred, Putin joined in sympathy towards what happened to the USA, as he new then that Russia and the USA had something in common, we both had a group of people, Muslim in affiliation, that wanted to destroy their nations.

    I’m not a liberal Craig. I’m willing to make some assumptions until proven otherwise. We have enemies who want to destroy us who happen to be affiliated with the Muslim religion. Are all Muslims out to get us, no they’re not. But we have enemies who align themselves with that faith and use it to justify their murderous actions towards us. It’s their radical beliefs in their faith, that is driving their actions. Whether these 2 young men are Al Qaida or just in sympathy to that organization (the enemy of my enemy is my friend), I don’t know. From my limited knowledge of the Chechnyan situation, the militants have done some very heinous crimes against the Russian people, as I noted in a past post. If you want to find a list of their activities, go ahead. If you want to defend them, I’m not in your camp.

  6. PS – I’ve never indicted the entire Chechnyan nation, just noted there’s some radicals there that want to harm us.

  7. Craig Knauss

    Robert,

    We have some radicals here that want to harm us. And they are so-called Christians. McVeigh, Nichols, Rudolf, for example.

  8. Yes, they come in many flavors. I didn’t indict every Muslim nor am I indicting every Christian.

  9. Craig Knauss

    Robert,

    The other night I got bored and purely by coincidence decided to watch again my DVD called “Charlie Wilson’s War”. Last night wifey and I sat down to watch “Zero Dark 30″. It was amazing how those two movies dovetailed together, seeing that they are both based on actual events in the Middle East. I suggest you hunt down a copy of “Charlie Wilson’s War” and watch it. It will tell you a lot about the Russians (or at least the commie Russians) and the ending sequences of the movie will give you a good understanding into what happened in Afghanistan and how al Qaida came to power.

  10. Thanks for the tip..

  11. This is from a preliminary finding in their interview with the hospitalized 19 year old bomber, “Two U.S. officials said preliminary evidence from the younger man’s interrogation suggests the brothers were motivated by religious extremism but were apparently not involved with Islamic terrorist organizations.”

    So in other words, they weren’t at least at this point in the discovery process, involved with Al Qaida.

  12. aonymous

    You can play this word-game until the cows come home, but regardless of what arbitrarily constructed categorisations you wish to employ, the fact remains that these Central Asians, North Africans, Arabs, etc. are genetically and morphologically distinct from the peoples of Europe, to whom the common man is referring when he uses the word ‘white’. I mean, they would fit right in with a bunch of Swedes, wouldn’t they? Even East Indians have, historically, been categorised as ‘Caucasian’ by physical anthropologists.

  13. Craig Knauss

    “…the brothers were motivated by religious extremism but were apparently not involved with Islamic terrorist organizations.”

    The same thing could be said about Fred Phelps’ clan and a lot of the Christian fundamentalists.

  14. Fred hasn’t killed anybody (yet). Big difference. I’m not a fan of his ilk by any means and think he’s wrong, but as long as he isn’t assaulting anybody or worse, he’s not comparable to the two brothers. I think Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have invoked the same kind of ill will as Fred Phelps, let’s not forget them or Franklin Graham for that matter.

  15. Craig Knauss

    Fred Phelps hasn’t “physically” assaulted anybody, that we know of. He has verbally assaulted a lot of people, including our war dead and their families. And we don’t know if the religious extremists that influenced the Tsarnaev brothers have killed anybody or not. Their MO might be to get someone else to do it for them. Do we know for a fact that our religious extremists have not provoked any violence against gays or abortion doctors? Someone provoked the assailants.

  16. I think the religious extremists have been the enablers of great amounts of violence and hatred towards gays and abortion doctors, and against the Blacks in the past more so than mow. The extremists views are rooted in supremacy.

    What can we do about it? It’s generational, we have to let the newer generations who are more open and tolerant grow up and replace the old fuddy duddy’s… I’m just talking about the Christian based faiths, where the younger generations don’t seem to be as susceptible to the influences of the extremists as the older generations. The Middle East, Eastern Europeans and Russia are not as modern in these regards. Putin has even cracked down gays from what I’ve read.

    As I noted, it’s all generational and that’s what scares the older power mongers in these venues. They can’t muster the wrath they used to be able to, which made them big bucks. Pimping redemption is very profitable, not to mention tax free.

    The Republican party rallied their base with gay marriage during the GW years, all the while Dick Cheney’s daughter was living with her female partner and that Mehlman guy was head of the RNC, who everybody in the know knew was gay. Hell, look at Rush Limbaugh, he demonizes gay people and then he went and hired Elton John to play at his wedding. Who are the Repubs going to demonize this coming election season because the whole gay marriage boogyman/woman just isn’t going to work anymore? The republican base is so easily suckered. I’m anxious to see what they swallow this time.

  17. Craig, there was a case that the Southern Poverty Law Center took on, trying some young White supremacists (criminal case) and the adult male and his son who lead these 3 young men into their race based hatred that ultimately killed a man (civil case) , so in a way, the older man/son was put on trial for their use of hate speech in getting the 3 younger guys to commit murder. So hate speech was used against these people in a successful law case, albeit a civil judgement instead of a criminal.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulugeta_Seraw

  18. Was listening to the news on the radio early this am. Apparently they interviewed the mother. She says her sons are only guilty of being Muslim? Really mom, where’s the contrition for what they have done and are being charged with? I feel like I’ve just been slapped in the face and being expected to take it and to expect more of this from people who have no desire to assimilate into our culture.

    I’ve read that many of the social/crime problems in Europe are the assimilation issues related to all the cultures migrating there, particularly the Muslim population which is very huge. Is this comment going to incur the wrath of the liberals on this board?

    Sometimes it looks like Americans are giving up their identity as a distinct nation of many cultural backgrounds all with one main identity they are proud of being, American… in accommodation of being politically correct to people who are hostile to our nation.

    When my grandparents generations came here from the old country, they were proud to be Americans first. The new immigrants don’t seem to have that perspective. They come here to escape oppression in their own countries only to want to remake us into their homeland and hold hostile intentions to the very nation that is giving them succor. That’s what it’s appearing more and more to be like.

    Why are so many people in our country so willing to give up the American identity to people who have no desire to become American or merge into the social customs of our country? Past immigrants were American first. Not anymore.

  19. Pat, I think you should put on your roster of stories to comment on, what the mother of those guys who bombed Boston has said. I find her comment so offensive.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/boston-bombers-mom-sons-guilty-muslim/story?id=19021562#.UXeuckqwXDk

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