Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cutting through the bull

I didn't know you were allowed to say anything this sensible on TV. But Campbell Brown, who looks just like the sort of professionally attractive straight woman I have a bias against, nails some of the racism in our attitudes toward Senator Obama and the wide world of the Others we involuntarily live among. It's only 2:25 and well worth watching

If you couldn't make yourself view the YouTube, here's part of the transcript:

So what if Obama was Arab or Muslim? So what if John McCain was Arab or Muslim? Would it matter? When did that become a disqualifier for higher office in our country? When did Arab and Muslim being dirty words, the equivalent of dishonorable or radical?

Whenever this gets raised, the implication is that there's something wrong with being an Arab-American or a Muslim. And the media is complicit here, too. We have been all way too quick to accept the idea that calling someone Muslim is a slur.

I feel like I'm stating the obvious here, but, apparently, it needs to be said. There is a difference between radical Muslims who support jihad against America and Muslims who want to practice their religion freely and have normal lives, like everybody else.

There are more than 1.2 million Arab-Americans and about 7 million Muslim Americans, former Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, successful business people, normal, average Americans from all walks of life. These are the people that are being maligned here every time this happens. And we can only imagine how this conversation plays out in the Muslim world.

We can't tolerate this ignorance, not in the media, not on the campaign trail. Of course he's not an Arab. Of course he's not a Muslim, but, honestly, it shouldn't matter.

Tough stuff. We still have to redeem the label "radical" because we do need some going-to-the-root radicalism of imagination if we're to enhance democracy and keep the planet from frying. But Campbell Brown is doing good work here.

2 comments:

Darlene said...

Tolerance is sadly lacking in all societies. If someone is 'different' we view them with suspicion. Why do we continue to subscribe to the herd instinct? This is what Hitler did with his talk of cleansing the German race and of white supremacy. We all know the horror that followed.

That is why it is so disgusting when NcCain tries to imply that Obama is 'different.'

Kay Dennison said...

I'd seen this video without Campbell Brfown's commentary it outraged me. At our candidates night I actually heard a member of my association say that she still was afraid that Obama was an Arab. My contempt must have shown because before I could answer, a friend grabbed me and said, "I need you to come with me, Kay. As my hero, Jack Cafferty says: It's getting ugly out there . . .

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