First, let me begin by congratulating Nancy for this powerful public awareness piece addressing the temptation some agenda-driven media outlets run into by engaging in deceptive yellow journalism practices of fabricating "exciting" marketable stories aimed at targeting Muslim and middle-eastern foreigners in a convenient move to justify the macabre act of terrorism in Boston. In a multicultural and multiracial nation like ours where countless immigrants, including those from Middle East latitudes live and work it is of paramount importance that we refrain from rushing to stereotyping and scapegoating practices as a means of finding quick fixes to emerging problems. Verified facts (not rumors, speculations, and sensationalism) must be the basis of reliable news. History has repeatedly proven that tactical approaches that rely on stereotyping people based on their origin, nationality, and status is not just counterproductive and harmful to a country's national security, but can also obstruct and derail established processes and mechanisms of pinpointing perpetrators and holding them accountable.
Past historical events are replete with such practices, including the persecution and stereotyping of the Jews and Japanese people during WWII. This is by no means an attempt to compare the current sociopolitical context to the ideological doctrine responsible for the decimation of countless Jews people but a simply a political exercise to refresh our collective memory of past events and draw conclusions. As an educator, I entirely concur with Nancy that in this highly charged political environment we must be extra cautious about actions and practices that can be misconstructed as targeting Muslin and middle-eastern students in our diverse schools. We need to be mindful about the fact that schools reflect communities and as such are political and ideological arenas where social contestations frequently occur.
Far from minimizing the heinous and cowardly act recently perpetrated against innocent civilians in Boston, the reality is that the post 9/11 world has been characterized by similar occurrences elsewhere in the world (e.g., Spain, Great Britain, Turkey, Russia, etc.). Therefore, rather than rushing to prejudgments, scaremongering and racially scapegoating based on people's their physical characteristics, nationality, and status we must focus our actions on working with all members of our community, including Muslim and middle eastern nationals to combat terrorism, strengthen our national security, and bring those responsible for this ghoulish act to justice.
As an educator and resident of Massachusetts, I would like to express my sincere solidarity with all Bostonians and praise them for their heroism and bravery during these difficult times. We must forge long-lasting and meaningful alliances with all races and nationalities to ensure our country continues to be a bulwark of our ideals of freedom and democracy.
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