Tuesday, August 24, 2010


This one made the rounds on Sunday, and I would've posted on it sooner, but unfortunately the day sort of got away from me. On Sunday a group of folks opposed to the Park51 community center gathered en masse to exercise their First Amendment rights. Nothing wrong with that. Of course, as we've seen with similar such protests here and here, they usually don't speak well of the participants' critical thinking and reasoning skills, as evidenced when this poor guy happened to walked by...

From Gawker:
As you can see in the video above, at some point during the rally, a dark-skinned man wearing an Under Armor skullcap and what looks like a necklace with a Puerto Rican flag walked through the anti-"Mosque" crowd. The crowd, astutely recognizing that he was on his way to build the mosque, began to chant "NO MOSQUE HERE" at him. In the video, someone says, "run away, coward." The man turns around, perturbed. "Y'all motherfuckers don't know my opinion about shit," he says. Au contraire, my friend: You are a black man wearing a skullcap, after all! You are definitely a pro-Mosque, anti-freedom Jihadist! Why, aren't you, in fact... Osama Bin Laden??
(You can read the rest of their account here.)

Of course, as Glenn Greenwald points out, beyond the obvious hilarity of stupid people acting stupidly, there is a much more serious side to this issue that's been largely ignored in most of the mediated discourse:
Obviously, not all opponents of Park51 are as overtly hateful as those in that video -- and not all opponents are themselves bigots -- but the position they've adopted is inherently bigoted, as it seeks to impose guilt and blame on a large demographic group for the aberrational acts of a small number of individual members. And one thing is certain: if this campaign succeeds, it will proliferate and the sentiments driving it will become even more potent. Hatemongers always become emboldened when they triumph.
The animosity and hatred so visible here extends far beyond the location of mosques or even how we treat American Muslims. So many of our national abuses, crimes and other excesses of the last decade -- torture, invasions, bombings, illegal surveillance, assassinations, renditions, disappearances, etc. etc. -- are grounded in endless demonization of Muslims. A citizenry will submit to such policies only if they are vested with sufficient fear of an Enemy. There are, as always, a wide array of enemies capable of producing substantial fear (the Immigrants, the Gays, and, as that video reveals, the always-reliable racial minorities), but the leading Enemy over the last decade, in American political discourse, has been, and still is, the Muslim.
More from Greenwald at the link, and it's well worth a read.

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