Do Americans privilege some victims over others? Does this favoritism create a hierarchy to enable retaliation against everyone?
We recently experienced a twisted version of this phenomenon. San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson’s tirade against CAIR, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, at a public meeting last month was an earthquake for the Arab and Muslim American communities, but no one seemed to notice. The ironic silence presented for us then, and the macabre irony it presents now, remain like a sticky substance.
Anderson’s declaration went unchallenged at the meeting, though the Leon Williams Human Relations Commission later delivered a strong statement in opposition. Diversionary and well-intended tactics by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Terra Lawson-Remer created aftershocks for our communities, further sweeping Anderson’s harmful and largely unchallenged statement out of reach. Consequently, it was not deemed news from an Arab or Muslim perspective, though press releases about its effect on local Arabs and Muslims were broadly distributed.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination. Committee (ADC), the country’s largest Arab-American grassroots organization sent out a press release to a dozen local media outlets. Two responded. But one of them did not quote any Arab Americans in the article when it was published.