Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Right Brothers Offer Poignant Social Commentary

I'd posted The Right Brothers' song "Bush was Right" as an example of bad art, not of politics I disagreed with. It's a terrible song, with simple lyrics and a stolen melody.

But I don't think much of these guys' politics, neither. Take "You Can't Racial Profile," a catchy little number off their new album:

You know, I've never seen a grandma strap a bomb on, either. I have, however, seen Timothy McVeigh kill hundreds in Oklahoma City and Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris storm through their school shooting students. To the best of my recollection, none of those folk were "olive skinned." Terrorism is a philosophy, not a genetic trait of any one particular nationality.


At 4:37 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I figured you'd play the McVeigh card. ;-)

So how many terrorists that are interested in blowing up big American things white? Now how many are "olive skinned"? (I hate that descriptor as most olives I've seen are green, purple, or black.) Just askin'...

Is profiling always bad/wrong?

At 5:47 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

The McVeigh card? The one where he commits one of the largest terrorist acts in our nation's history? ;)

There's no way to quantify how many terrorists are white, or "olive skinned." My point, if I have one, is that it's absurd to claim that all terrorism that's happened in the sky is the result of "olive skinned people." It's racist shit. And when Al-Qaeda's pulling stuff like this:
it's also ineffective.

Is profiling always bad or wrong? No. Very few things in life are always bad, or wrong.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

Both good points.

Here's the deal. CodeMorse is right. On the whole, profiling is bad. For several reasons. One, it's lazy. Two, as you've noticed, it's too easy to get around (recruit white and black people). But most importantly, we do not want our government, or agents of the government, to look at the color of the person's skin. If it can be helped.

That being said, by the McVeigh card, I think he's talking about the fact that your exception sort of proves the point. I hardly think we can equate the threat faced by folk like McVeigh (as horrible as his attack was) to the proliferation of terrorist organizations and acts in the Middle East and the current threat they pose. It is fine to note that not all terrorists are Middle Eastern. Of course that's true. But to suggest that since we cannot quantify the number of terrorists that derive from the Middle East (actually, several experts have made some reasonably educated guesses), that all terrorists from all regions and races always pose the same exact threat is naive to the point of absurdity.

It was not always so, nor will it necessarily always be so, but today we clearly face a proliferation of Middle Eastern (or whatever you want to call it, Islamic fundamentalist, suicidal nihilist) terrorism, the danger of which outweighs on average terrorism from any other source.

To claim such a suggestion is "racist" forces us to ignore the prevailing socio-geolitical forces of our time. As evidenced by a recent study conducted by the leading independent scholars from the Middle East who, through no help from the Right Brothers, singled out their region as singularly backward in individual freedom and human rights. It should certainly not surprise us that terrorists are created in such places. Nor is it racist to think so.

I am no fan of simplistic overgeneralizations demonizing a group of people based on their skin color. But let's not pretend that all threats are equal because we cannot judge a book by its cover. It is nothing short of self-imposed ignorance that does nothing to advance our understanding of how to protect ourselves from such terrorism.


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