by Latoya Peterson
It was a peaceful Sunday morning. Sunlight streamed in through the windows, the sheets were clean, the pillows were fluffy. I settled into bed and got nice and comfortable – that is, until my boyfriend decided it was time for the Sunday talk show circuit.
“[Hasan] was a radical jihadist!” blared out of the television. There went my quiet morning. Atlasien has a piece in the works about Fort Hood and some of the other major headlines. Until then, here’s a relatively sane round-up of what’s been going on:
Fort Hood and the invisibility of Arab Americans – Washington Post Short Stack Blog
Arab-American history is long and deep in the United States but Arab and Muslim Americans are not part of how we imagine who we are as Americans or how we perceive what makes up the American experience. Now, in the national discussion among commentators, politicians, and others in the aftermath of Ft. Hood, we can see the dangerous effects of Arab-American invisibility; in that vacuum, acts of a single individual, Major Hasan, cast a shadow of collective guilt on millions of Americans.
Timothy McVeigh warped the interpretations of the Constitution but we easily dismissed that without pondering whether there was inherent evil in the Constitution. The same cannot be said of how we view the relationship between the Koran and violent behavior – we unfairly blame individuals’ horrific acts on the teachings of the Koran. We ignore needed discussion of evident mental health issues, which were the focus when other service people have cracked and murdered their colleagues, and instead engage in lazy analysis about ethnic predilection of violence.
How can we move the conversation forward? If we knew more about the soldiers mentioned above and other Arab Americans, if their stories were familiar to us, if the origins of their names recognizable to us, how would the conversation be different?