Saturday, August 19, 2006

Asian meaning Middle Eastern, of course

Drudge has this article linked. Two scruffy looking Asian men had the gall to terrorize British vacationers by *gasp* speaking a foreign language on an aircraft.

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand the article seems to clearly lay the blame for irrationality on the passengers with mention that political opponents blamed the government for failing to reassure people. (You'd think that the opposition could also take some initiative to reassure people but there, like here, scoring political points takes priority.) Why blame people for being scared? Is this actually an *irrational* fear? Are they responsible for the perception that scruffy looking possibly Arab men are dangerous? Or are terrorists responsible and the public response *rational*?

On the other hand, I feel a bit like rubbing the sophisticated Euro nose in this unsophisticated behavior. Europe doesn't admit it's racism, and that's on a *good* day. While I agree that airport security should include profiling I don't agree that it's okay to treat people like terrorists when they've been searched twice already.

It doesn't help that Brits of my (on-line) aquaintance have recently lectured about how terribly the US has over reacted to terrorism and how wrong are agressive attitudes and used not sending an invading army to North Ireland as an example. But this is what Brits do? They have panic attacks because someone is speaking a language that *might* be Arabic? And it doesn't help that I've experienced many a usenet conversation about how well travelled are Europeans and how much more they know about the world than Americans who seldom travel abroad.

I know that many respectable people on this side of the pond deplore the British and European attitude of appeasement toward their Muslim populations but it seems to me that it exists as a Jeckel and Hyde sort of paradox despite or maybe even *because* of an existing racism. We Americans get taken to task constantly about how racist we are but not admiting racism in Europe doesn't mean it goes away. Maybe I'm completely wrong but I've heard so much that makes me think that the appeasement there is mostly about trying hard to pretend that Muslims in Europe aren't discriminated against when they really are.

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