Sunday, April 21, 2013
"Comedian and frequent O’Reilly Factor guest Adam Carolla was one of the few media voices this week to stand up and say that the Boston Marathon bombings were getting too much attention from the press. On his popular podcast Friday, Carolla said he couldn’t believe how much more the media was covering the Boston attacks than they were the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, given that the death toll appeared to be much higher in Texas.
“Boston is three people dead, and quite a few injured,” Carolla said, “but it’s three people dead. There’s that many people during the course of this podcast, that many people times ten that die out on the highways.” Meanwhile, he pointed out, the death toll in the Texas explosion was up to 15 or higher.
“That’s the whole thing” about this country, Carolla explained. “We’re not really into math, we’re into feelings. We don’t do math when it comes to solving whatever ills our society has, and we’re not really into it when it comes to body counts.”
After a brief and confusing detour about second-hand smoke and AIDS, Carolla got it his main point: “Every time we spend 10 minutes talking about something that isn’t a real problem, we take 10 minutes away from talking about something that is a problem.” Bringing it back to “the Boston thing,” he said, “that somehow struck a nerve” whereas the believes people are chalking up the Texas explosion to “shit happens.”
“But if a terrorist touched off that plant,” he concluded, “then now we’ve got an issue.” [Source]
Welcome to my world Mr. Carolla. Why is it that hundreds of black children being murdered every year doesn't cause an eyebrow to be raised, but the murder of any white child does? Why is it that when a woman of color goes missing we never hear about it from anyone other than her own family members? "Feelings"? I think not.
Anyway, now that I know that Caucasians are being profiled and that they are worried about being judged by "the actions of a few", maybe I will suspend my racism chase for awhile. Maybe.
"Since the identification and apprehension (both dead and alive) of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan Tsarnaev (reportedly shot and run over with explosives strapped to him, amid unconfirmed reports he was clutching an “ACME Co.” receipt) and Dzokhar Tsarnaev (apprehended as a result of history’s first heroic nicotine fit), there has been a rush to triumphantly point and laugh at liberal commentator David Sirota‘s preference that the bombers turn out to be like the cheese on his ham sandwich: white and American. As it happens, both of them turned out to be Caucasian, and one of them was American, but we can’t allow their actions to define all Caucasian-Americans
Lucky for white Americans, Sirota was at least half-right: when perpetrators of horrific acts turn out to be white, there is some phenomenon that causes their whiteness to become completely irrelevant, even if they are actually from the place where whiteness gets its name. Until Friday, I always thought “caucasian” was just a name that some fancy racist thought up to make white people sound better than “negroids” and “mongoloids,” but it turns out there’s a real place called Caucasia, and the Boston bombing suspects are from it.
Despite that fact, and despite the fact that their region of origin has been heavily reported as “the Caucasas,” you would never know that these guys were Caucasian, let alone white, from the way cable news has been reporting on them. With the exception of Sunday morning’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, the only cable news description of the suspects as “Caucasian” came from Massachusetts State Police Col. Tim Alben, during a press conference.
That’s because David Sirota didn’t count on the one possibility that could nullify a white American bomber: a white American Muslim bomber. Whatever you think of Sirota’s expression of his premise, or the timing of it, the results support it: white privilege means never having to say you’re sorry for what other white people did. Not now, not ever. The skin color that was so relevant early in the week disappeared like a white rabbit in a hat, replaced by a Muslim rabbit with no discernible coloration. Ta-daaa!
The flipside of the white privilege that Sirota described was discussed concisely and effectively by Melissa Harris-Perry‘s panel Sunday morning. Muslim-American researcher Zaheer Ali pointed out that “Many Muslims around the country, before the identities of the suspects were known, said ‘Please don’t let them be Muslim,’” and recalled, similarly, “growing up, we said please don’t be black, right?”
“You had a case that at the Boston Marathon where a young 20-year-old Saudi was running like everybody else from the bombing, and he was tackled because he was suspected as being one of the bombers,” he added, “so being Muslim in America post 9/11 is being both being a victim of terror, and also being afraid of being a suspect of terror.”
Sikh-American activist and film-maker Valarie Kaur pointed out another example of the double-standard that Sirota described. “Let’s remember that the Oak Creek mass shooting was actually the last incident of domestic terrorism in this country,” she said. “It was committed by a white supremacist who walked into a Sikh house of worship. We did not hear calls for white people to be profiled, we did not hear Christianity denigrated, or Christians living in fear. The way that our country diagnoses a problem when it’s a white perpetrator, it’s an individual problem.”
Professor Michael Eric Dyson summed it up best, saying that “This is what it means to be black in America, as well as many other religious minorities. The evil stuff, the bad stuff we do is seen as representative. The great stuff we do is seen as exceptional. The exceptional people can never be representative of the group, and the evil people are the only representatives, or the people who do bad things are the only representatives. White Americans don’t — if Tom Cruise goes down, you got Brad Pitt. If Denzel goes down, we’re done.” [Source]
Well Dr. Dyson, if you put it that way, I guess my racism chase will continue after all.