Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A racial double standard at the News-Gazette

OK, I don't mean to pick on the N-G and I don't want this blog to turn into a Gazoo bash-fest, but this has been rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks and wanted to get it down.

Remember way back when, like two months ago, before Sharia Law came to Oklahoma, when the Islamic community center in Manhattan was dominating the news cycle? The News-Gazette had this editorial about that time. The editorial, called "Right, not rights, is the real issue" tries to draw a false equivalence between that Florida pastors "Burn the Koran Day" and the building of the center. The editor admit that the Muslims living in New York have every right to build their community center but that, somehow, they are morally wrong to do so. It closes with:

The message sent to Muslims by burning the Quran is unmistakable to most, just as the message being sent by Muslims in building the mosque near the 9/11 ruins is equally unmistakable. One is a threat, as Jones freely conceded, while the other is a victory lap, as Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf disingenuously denies.

According to the News-Gazette, Muslims going about their lives in their hometown and building what is basically a church, is a "victory lap" celebrating the attacks 9/11.

But just a few weeks ago, the News-Gazette published this editorial about the recent racially-based (but possibly not, see below) attacks against white men in the Champaign-Urbana area. The editorial argues that cries for black community leaders to speak out against the attacks are unfair, saying:

[Leaders in the black community] didn't commit the attacks. They didn't encourage the attacks. They don't know the individuals who are committing the attacks. They are as disturbed by this senseless violence as everyone else...

Is the white president of the local chamber of commerce responsible when a white man robs a bank? If not, why would a black minister be called to account for the malicious criminality of a black assailant?

But that's the one of the dangers posed by this string of assaults. They tear at the community fiber and encourage tribal instincts. They make people forget we're all in this together, that as residents of this community we have far more that brings us together than sets us apart.

So let's get this straight: when attacks such as these are committed by black men, they are the responsibility solely of the perpetrators involved. When attacks are committed by Muslims, the worldwide Muslim community should be held collectively accountable, even nearly a decade later.

Am I the only one that sees a bit of a contradiction here?

(Like I said, this has been rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks now. I was inspired to get off my lazy ass and write this partly by Monday's article, Polar bear deconstruction by Joel Gillespie at Smile Politely.)

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