When news recently broke of NSA spying on prominent Muslim Americans, most people were far from shocked. If anything, it was expected. After all, these individuals have Muslim names, either advocate on behalf of the Muslim community or speak on Islamic-related issues, and have some sort of connection to “that part of the world.”
Unlike previous NSA spying revelations that generated extreme outrage across the board, this latest development appeared to impact only, you know, “those people” (though the larger implications are much greater).
Similarly, when continuous images of dead Palestinian children have emerged following Israel’s current military assault on Gaza, a large and troubling sentiment appears to be that these innocents were simply collateral damage, or — even worse still — that they somehow deserved it because of the actions of their own family members.
Make no mistake about it: the dehumanization of Muslims didn’t just happen overnight. On the contrary, it’s part of a long process of failed imaging, stereotyping, misrepresentation and flat out bias in the press, entertainment industry and society in general.
And unlike many other challenges, this isn’t a right vs. left issue; apparently, disparaging Muslims is universally acceptable…