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Domestic Terrorism and the Forgiving Media

by Lena Aloumari | Appalachian State University

F Posted in: News and Politics, Voices P Posted on: August 10, 2012
headshot-lena-230x200 Lena Aloumari

From Aurora to Milwaukee, the recent overwhelming amount of tragedy hurts my heart. I couldn’t have said it better than Harsha Nahata in her recent Voices contribution. And, despite all the heartbreak, I still found myself angered.

Not at these senseless acts of murder; not at the alleged shooters, but at the media’s portrayal of said events.

These were acts of domestic terrorism by white Americans and should be treated as such. These criminals should be condemned as much as they would have been had they been anything but white.

Post-9/11, the media has consistently perpetuated the stereotype that “terrorism” is only limited to Muslims or Arabs, which infuriates me.  I am a Muslim/Arab-American, and I am proud. I am also proud to be able to live in a country that is always the ideal – a country that supports freedom and equality in the truest sense of the words.

But if the response to these horrific events is to encourage the myth that white people cannot be terrorists – and instead are “mentally ill” – then that is not the ideal. That is not the United States of America that is revered to be the top of the world.

This is not fair, and this is not right.

While I could get into a whole religious spiel (you can find me on Twitter if you’re interested), I believe there are far greater issues at play in the cases of the Aurora and Milwaukee shootings than religion. The issue should be focused on the public and political behavior and reactions. This is reflective of how our society has enabled the “US versus THEM” mindset.

We, AMERICANS, cannot be terrorists. Only they, the NON-AMERICAN/MINORITY can be.

Where is the possibility of equality if those who are at odds with the dominant society are automatically grouped as “the bad guys”?

This is an ill-conceived process that needs to change. And this is the time.

These perpetrators had the intention of harming people for a reason: terror. These were cases of hate.  And instead of highlighting that, the media chose to focus on how Sikhs are confused with Muslims or how many excuses can be made for a person just because their skin color is “normal.”

It may seem strange that I am a journalism student criticizing my soon-to-be career field, but I cannot stop thinking about this. I want to live with conviction and work towards making this country – my home, my America – what it is meant to be; what it is supposed to be.

My religion teaches me that:

“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.”

And so this is my outlet. This is my way to point out that there is bias in the media, whether we are aware of it or not. Ignorance is the culprit, and all I can do is merely voice my opinion.

Lena Aloumari Lena Aloumari After living in a variety of countries and continents, Lena Aloumari is currently living in the majestic mountains of North Carolina and studying journalism at Appalachian State University.

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