Salon Writer Who Hoped Boston Bomber Would Be White: Bombing Awakes ‘Islamophobic Hate-O-Sphere’
The follow up is never as good as the hit – just ask “Gangnam Style” artist Psy. Such is the one-hit-wonder’s lament, and this curse of the creator is now shared by Salon’s David Sirota. Published less than 30 hours after the bombs in Boston took three lives and wounded more than 140 more, Sirota made a splash by noting that he hopes the bomber will be identified as a white American. That would, he postulated, suffice to begin to roll back “white privilege.” The column was a smash hit – not in the conventional sense, but more in the way that it provided conservatives with the moral high ground on the issue of counterterror and profiling and provided them with a caricature to serve as a foil. Today, Sirota released a follow-up article and, while the magic is still there, it’s just not the same as it was the first time around. Sirota digs into the media’s reaction to the Boston bombings and finds – brace yourself – white privilege made manifest. Or, at least, a rampant hatred of non-whites in the press and among conservatives.
“America is anything but color blind, that too many white folk are the ones obsessed with race, and that Dr. King’s dream is still just that: a distant dream,” Sirota begins. “And that’s not just a general truism that is irrelevant to this moment of national emergency — it is, on the contrary, a very specific point that must be made, right now, precisely because of that national emergency.”
That last bit was directed at the entire universe that came down on him like the Temple of Dagon came down on Samson. Defiant, Sirota continues:
He writes that the incidences of what appear to be racially-motivated episodes of misplaced rage in the immediate wake of the bombing — including the targeting of a Saudi male injured in the blast and CNN’s erroneous report that a “dark-skinned” man had been arrested in connection with the bombing – signal just how racially antediluvian America remains.
“[A]s with the Oklahoma City bombing before it, that inaccurate and unsubstantiated judgment was then unceremoniously blared all over the world, quickly becoming fodder for the Islamophobic hate-o-sphere and fueling conservative pundits’ fact-free speculation,” Sirota asserts.
The standard retort by the “I’m colorblind!” crowd to any mention of these inconvenient facts, of course, is to claim that “now is not the time” to discuss bigotry. But that’s the thing: its only “not the time” if you happen to be a member of the group (read: white people) that is never collectively demonized.
“Indeed, those episodes remind us that the most powerful form of privilege is to be part of a group that is permitted to at once obsess over the “other’s” demographic profile, while also pretending to be offended that anyone might mention that bigotry is everywhere — and is especially powerful at times of national emergency,” Sirota concludes.
In December, in the wake of the Newtown massacre, Sirota appeared on CNN and advocated for the profiling of white people who he said are more inclined to commit mass shootings than minorities. This, he says, would help to decrease the power of “white privilege.”
If there is a theme to Sirota’s punditry, I’m not seeing it. Far too subtle, if you ask me.
Read the full post via Salon
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