A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post in response to a conversation I’d had with some friends regarding the terminology and categorization of people who commit despicable acts upon their fellow human beings. If you’d like to read that post, it’s titled: Calling a Spade a Spade.
I don’t often get involved in political and social discussions online, not because I don’t care, but because I don’t have the energy or patience to deal with the eventual backlash coming from the close-minded extremes of the opposite side of any particular issue. For the record, I’m not singling out any specific side. You’ll find close-minded idiocy at the extreme ends of both the right and the left. However, as I watch the reactions some people are having over the last few days to the attacks in Paris and Beirut, I feel compelled to break out my soapbox.
First and foremost, let’s get this one thing out of the way: A group of Muslims did not attack France; rather, a group of psychopathic, extremist douche bags attacked France. That’s it. Describing the attackers as Muslim or Islamic does a disservice to the MILLIONS of peaceful followers of Islam around the world who don’t go around shooting people or blowing off bombs in the middle of a civilian population. Spare me your arguments and justifications for why it’s different in this case. If you feel you have some crack-dream justification as to why it’s alright to lump all people together because of the actions of a minuscule percentage of people who happen to share some trait or another with the rest of them, save your breath or the time it will take you to type those words. You will not be able to convince me otherwise. Also, if you are that kind of person, I’ll bet you are also the kind of person that will say, “Not all cops are bad cops…” or, “Not all men are misogynistic raping fuckwads…” or “The KKK and Westboro Baptist Church are not representative of all Christians.” Spare me. You don’t get to pick and choose which groups to distinguish “everyone one of them bad,” and “well, that’s just a small percentage of them.” If by this point you’re still tempted to arguing the point, I’ll just send you to this nifty article in the New York Times about how more people have been killed by U.S. domestic terrorists than by psychopathic, extremist douche bags who also happen to be Muslim.
To rephrase something I said in the previous post: Cultures do not commit crimes like this. People choose to commit crimes like this. In this case, a group of people did. Their choice shows that they are terrible, horrible, and somehow less-than-human. If we look closely at any culture or religion in the world, we will see examples of fucked up individuals or groups with that culture doing fucked up things to each other. If we’re going to judge all the people of that culture or religion by the behavior of those few psychopathic, extremist douche bags, then we need to judge all white Christians to the standard set by Dylann Storm Roof, Adam Peter Lanza, and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Those would be the perpetrators of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and Columbine shootings. Hell, by that logic, we have to judge all South Koreans by the choices Seung-Hui Cho made at Virginia Tech.
Still want to lump every Muslim in with those who attacked Paris and Beirut? Then you are a close-minded, prejudiced hypocrite, and we have nothing to say to each other, because rational discourse is impossible.
Now, some might try to say I’m being close-minded and hypocritical by lumping all those people who disagree with me into one category. Well, in this, those people are each making a choice to judge the entirety of some cultures by the actions of a few, while not doing the same for other. For those who are having trouble putting that all together, I suggest heading over to www.dictionary.com and looking up the word hypocrite.
Alright. I’m going to step off the soapbox for a bit. I’ve got more thoughts bouncing around inside my head over this whole thing, but they aren’t directly related to the issue of labeling and stereotyping. Until those other thoughts form enough for me to return here, I’d like to leave you all with a thought.
Those psychopathic, extremist douche bags who have declared war on western culture lump us all together and keep creaming about how they are going to come and kill us, all because we are different than they are. By equating the millions of peaceful followers of Islam around the world with those few making the choice to attack us, we are becoming the enemy. Do we have the courage to be better than the enemy?