Category Archives: xenophobia

A Racial Profiling Victim on 9/11 Shares Her Story

By Arturo R. García

On Sunday, three passengers at Detroit’s Metropolitan Airport were detained after someone reported “suspicious activity on board.” Not long afterwards, one of those three passengers’ story has gained national attention after blogging about her treatment by Homeland Security officials.

According to The Associated Press, Shoshana Hebshi and two men were detained and questioned after the crew on their Frontier Airlines flight “reported suspicious activity on board.”

Hebshi, an Ohio resident who identifies as half-Jewish and half-Arab, wrote on her blog that she was sitting with two Indian men from Detroit when the flight was first diverted to a different part of the tarmac, then boarded by armed personnel. She and the two men were subsequently “pushed off the plane” and detained. Hebshi wrote that she asked, “What’s going on?” but did not get an answer.
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Are You Ready For Some College Football Racism? Fox Sports Sure Is!

By Arturo R. García

Labor Day weekend brought with it the opening strains of the college football season, and according to Deadspin, Fox Sports wasted no time in going to the bottom of the “coverage” barrel.

In a segment at which only Alexandra Wallace could’ve LOL’ed, “investigative reporter” Bob Oschack set out to give the Universities of Colorado and Utah “an All-American welcome” to the Pac-12 Conference by going to the University of Southern California. The twist being, he only talked to non-white students.

More specifically, Oschack – a comedy writer by trade, if you’re generous enough to call Mind of Mencia “comedy” – focused his mock-report on what appeared to be international students who weren’t football fans. I say “appeared to be” because the students are given a textbook Othering: they’re never identified, nor are their studies mentioned. But that’s not what Oschack is going for here, of course. As Deadspin’s Emma Carmichael put it, “in the world of misguided network television humor, foreign accents and unfamiliarity with good old-fashioned football is funny.”

As Media Matters reported, Asian students made up just over 20 percent of the USC undergraduate student body as of Fall 2010, with international students making up 11.2 percent. About the only thing Oschack got “right” was the fact that USC’s enrollment is more diverse than Utah’s (75 percent white enrollment, according to a “Fast Facts” PDF) and Colorado’s (77 percent white, per CollegeProwler).

Fox quickly pulled the video from its site (although you can still watch Oschack’s compelling – and by “compelling” I mean “creepy wanna-be Daily Show” – report on why Oregon’s cheerleaders are “so f-cking hot”) and issued an apology promising to “review the editorial process” and the usual boilerplate expressions of contrition. No response from Oschack himself, but I’m betting he won’t get the chance to deliver it on any Fox Sports shows anytime soon.

UPDATE 9/7/11: The Associated Press is reporting that Fox Sports has cancelled The College Experiment, the program that aired Oschack’s segment, “effective immediately.”

Quoted: Jeff Yang on David Sedaris’ Anti-Chinese Racism

So look, David: Chinese people eat weird food. There is a saying that “Chinese will eat anything with its back to the sky,” and another that says “Chinese will eat anything with legs but a table and anything with wings but an airplane.” These are Chinese sayings, I might point out — a sign that Chinese aren’t exactly unaware that the “delicacies” that send prim Westerners to their fainting couches are a little off the beaten path.

But Chinese are far from the only culture that eats weird food, and fuck, given that you’re from North Carolina, have you looked at what American Southerners traditionally eat? No? Chitlins! Possum! Muskrat! Bull testicles! Oh wait, you’re from suburban Raleigh, so probably not, given that most of the more exotic dishes in Southern cuisine, like in many culinary traditions, was the offspring of necessity — invention midwived by destitution. If you’re hungry enough, rodents will start to look tasty, as will chicken claws, stray innards and balls. And once you’ve eaten them long enough, all these things evolve into nostalgic signifiers — especially after you’ve pulled yourself out of poverty. They go from things you have to eat all the time to things you choose to eat once in a while, to remind yourself you don’t have to eat them all the time.

And this is what’s truly ugly about your piece, David: For someone who’s spent a lot of your career puncturing middle-class aspiration and self-delusion, your essay is unpleasantly blind to the fact that all of China is just a few generations removed from dire, desperate want, and that many people, like the peasant family you had such a bad experience sharing a meal with, continue to subsist on an annual income that’s a tiny fraction of what a sophisticated awesome American literary superstar like you loses in his sofa. And in a country of 1.3 billion people, even having braised pig’s stomach to occasionally go with your daily rice is a fucking luxury.

–From David Sedaris Thinks Chinese People (and Food) Are Repulsive, Which Makes Me Sad, Because I Used to Like David Sedaris

Excerpt: On 9/11 and the End of the Latin Music Boom

At the dawn of the Latin alt burst in 1998, a Newsweek cover story announced “Se Habla Rock and Roll? You Will Soon,” and a year later the New York Times predicted Latin alternative was “Approaching Its Final Border.” But by 2005, the Los Angeles Times’ Agustin Gurza compared the Latin boom to an exploding rocket that breaks apart halfway into orbit.

But no matter how many times Mexico’s Café Tacuba held court in front of the gentle mosh pits of Irving Plaza, or local bands such as Los Amigos Invisibles proved that funk, pop, disco, salsa, merengue and occasional bouts of thrash metal could hold everyone together on the dance floor, there was something missing. The energy that came from Latin America, which had produced most of the significant bands, was not duplicated in American cities.

Latin alternative settled back into a niche accessed by the mainstream only in a rare NPR moment, while driving to New England to see the fall foliage. [Ricky] Martin has settled into life as a father; Shakira reinvents herself as part-stripper, part-philanthropist; [Marc] Anthony got a gig playing a cop on TV; and J-Lo, well, you know where she is.

How did this happen? Certainly the immediate atmosphere after the 9/11 attacks was characterized by the mainstream’s distancing from cultures from outside its borders. Although the decade began with Barnes and Noble and other booksellers offering extensive selections of books in Spanish, by its end more and more politicians called for English to be the country’s official language. And earlier this year, the Grammy awards dropped 31 categories, including Latin jazz and traditional world music.

- From “After the Latin Bubble Burst,” by Ed Morales, New Jersey Star-Ledger

Libya: Uprising Revives Entrenched Racism Towards Black Africans

By Guest Contributor Simba Russeau

Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi’s use of African mercenaries to quell the uprising against his autocratic regime has revived a deep-rooted racism between Arabs and black Africans.

Though most will deny its existence, in Libya discrimination is common not only against migrant black Africans, but also against darker-skinned Libyans, especially from the south of the country.
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CNN and the Muslim Women Next Door

By Guest Contributor Diana, cross-posted from Muslimah Media Watch

Coming on the heels of a seemingly endless surge of anti-Muslim bigotry in the U.S., CNN picked the most opportune moment to air its special on Muslims, titled Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door with reporter Soledad O’Brien.

After having been glued to the news in the last couple of weeks, following Rep. Peter King’s hearings on Muslim extremism in the United States and the recent display of anti-Muslim bigotry to hit the community of Southern California, I cringed at the title of this documentary.

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Top Gear Goes From Zero to Racist in Under Two Minutes

By Arturo R. García

Top Gear, the long-running British auto review show, is built upon a foundation of “guy talk.” But an outburst by the show’s three hosts this week once again crossed the line from mildly boorish to positively unnerving, this time prompting a political response.

The incident occurred during Sunday’s episode, when the trio – Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May (above l-r) – turned a review of a Mexican sports car into an exercise in racist “banter” about the country and its’ people. Video and transcript are under the cut.

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