There’s something in the DNA of American culture that is blind to the fact that racism, sexism, homophobia and all stereotypes persist even when someone other than a White man does something wrong.
The fact that a person who is deemed to be different on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preference or cultural identity is not an excuse to fall back on bigotry when that person errs, even if the person kills.
That’s what U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. either doesn’t understand or knows it’s wrong but feels safe using it because of his comfort created by the tendency of white America to be extra fearful of the “other.”
Psychologists describe it this way: Because Blacks are overly publicized and overcharged for certain crimes, particularly violent crimes, some Whites feel justified to be wary when they pass a Black person on the street.
Because Blacks are the “other,” when a Black person commits a crime it confirms a pre-conceived stereotypical belief and therefore it must be true that Black people have criminal tendencies.
What King is doing to Muslims with his “anti-terrorism” hearing is a grand display of this kind of misguided thinking.
Because those who flew planes into the twin towers were Muslim, then it is okay to have congressional hearings on ways for government to scrutinize Muslim Americans, despite the fact that there is no evidence that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country are terrorists, sympathize with terrorists, would not report terrorist activity to authorities and refuse to denounce al-Qaida.
What if hearings were held to do the same with White Christian fundamentalists? They killed Dr. George Tiller and other doctors who performed abortions. They have a history of blowing up abortion clinics.
How about having hearings on Jews? The Mossad, Israel’s intelligence arm, spies on the U.S.
Any politician who would try to do that to either of those groups wouldn’t have to wait to be voted out, he or she would be forced to resign due to overwhelming pressure from the public. Nobody started racially profiling White men after Timothy McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma and killed more than 100 people.
To top this off, there is proof that King himself has condoned terrorism.
In the early 1980s King was a loud supporter of the Irish Republican Army. Then he was the comptroller of Nassau County, King said at a 1982 IRA rally in New York, “We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.”
Last week, King pointed out that he later denounced some of things the IRA did, but said he wasn’t wrong in his support of the organization because it did not attack America.
“You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you no sense of decency?”
Those are words King should study carefully. It is what Joe Welch said to Sen. Joe McCarthy in 1954 and was the prelude to McCarthy’s downfall.