America: No. 1 scapegoater

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

Americans have a bad history with finding scapegoats.

If Americans agree on something they fear, they will unite against it. Throughout history, America has made it look easy when pointing a finger.

Just shy of 80 years ago, the United States entered World War II. With that came internment camps. These camps were created in response to the bombings on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. The camps were primarily for American-born citizens of Japanese descent.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt and other Americans felt they should just lock up all enemy combatants right then and there in the internment camps. Anyone with any type of Japanese heritage was blamed for Japan’s actions – and herded together to be watched with suspicion.

Shortly after World War II, Communism became a huge threat during the Cold War. You can guess what America did – they kept “eyes,” or government surveillance, on Americans of Chinese descent for fear that they would try and implement Communism in America.

They were even stopped by police an attempt to uncover a nationwide Chinese immigration fraud, according to the New York-based Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

However long ago those examples may be, the fear of a “something” always is lurking in the shadow of America. The terrorist attack of 9/11 was one of the most tragic events to happen on U.S. soil, but it also showed how America scapegoats a culture.

Citizens initially lost some privacy in return for increased security measures and protection when flying. However, the attack also sparked a new scapegoat, the Islamic community, that is still going strong to this day.

If there was one thing to change this sort of opposition, it’s education. The most powerful tool for young Americans to be successful in America also can be used to get rid of the stigma. However, many Americans refuse this sort of education and remain ignorant to what is fact.

One such American is Laura Loomer, investigative journalist and proud American Jew, as described by her Twitter account.

Loomer constantly tweets, defaming U.S. citizens attempting to walk across the street near the location of the latest NYC terrorist attack on Oct. 31.

According to the NYPD, a man crashed into a school bus, then into a bike path and got out of his car screaming “Allahu Akbar.” He then fired a gun into the crowd.

Loomer’s response to this was to head to the scene and photograph the first people she saw wearing hijabs and to state: “Muslims are out in full force at the scene of NYC #ISIS attack today rubbing it in everyone’s face. Aimlessly walking around in hijabs.”

Shortly after her tweet, fans of Loomer tweeted out slurs and hatred in unison: “They shouldn’t be here” or “Send them back!”

Loomer isn’t the only offender. Time and time again we see people with the same mindset. It’s racism: It isn’t inherited; it is taught.

Umer Shahid, a local spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, contacted the Aztec Press soon after the attack in New York.

“We need to stand united and stay calm,” Shahid said. “Education is the main key. We need to educate these people that these are not the teachings of Islam.”

Although these aren’t teachings of Islam, people like Shahid have to be careful about where they go in public to not get prosecuted by others. Even in Tucson, Shahid has been confronted about what he wears when he runs errands like grocery shopping.

“Me and my wife were together and a lady just said, this was right after the San Bernardino attack, ‘Oh my God,  another San Bernardino is going to happen here,’ ” Shahid said. “It was a very heartbreaking situation.”

If Shahid, an American citizen, can’t even go to the store to buy groceries, then what kind of country are we? If we are the land of the free, then it’s time to start acting like it. Education is free. The time it takes to educate ourselves and others will mean a lifetime, and even more, of change.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community even holds an occasional event called “Meet a Muslim Campaign” to educate Tucsonans. They hold up a sign that says “Meet a Muslim” and they answer any questions you have.

Those that choose not to educate themselves are ignorant to what is actually taking place.

Scapegoating may be easier, but it leads to a darker future for America. Accepting the so-called harsh truths might be tough, but the future will be brighter.

illustration by Katelyn Roberts

Filed Under: Opinion

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