yesterday another mass shooting happened. this time a sikh temple. even before reading or listening to the mainstream media’s coverage of the event, i knew what would be said. it is the same thing i’ve heard ever since the 9/11 attacks. because sikhs wear turbans and beards, as per their religious culture, they were “unfairly” associated with muslims.
this sort of statement, used countless times when sikhs have been attacked since 2001, implies that it is ‘okay’ to attack muslims. that it is at least ‘understandable’ to habour hatred towards muslims, and therefore since the latest redneck racist thought he was attacking muslims, it is only a shame that his ignorance prevented him from knowing the difference between a muslim and a sikh.
“unfairly associated with muslims”, a case of mistaken identity. the implication of even the terminology used makes it clear that while murdering muslims, or those that look like muslims isn’t legal, isn’t justifiable under the law, it is at least “understandable” somehow.
it is the same thing we hear in the news when some homophobic psychopath murders or attacks a gay man, (he was coming on to me) or a transgender woman (the he-she deceived me!) [“i thought it was the real thing” shades of ‘rocky horror picture show]
it isn’t that we, as a culture, absolve the perpetrators of their crimes, but they are given a slight nod…a bit of a pass. because after all, the victim looked like someone who had it coming.
vilifying a whole group of people as nearly ‘fair game’ is way worse than blaming the victim for the murder or assault against them. and when we as a society can be manipulated into feeling less horror at such things simply on the basis of the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity we have already become monsters. we have already declared the horrific as something understandable. we have lost our way
“unfairly associated” with muslims, as if that should matter.
“the he/she came onto me”, as if that made it right.