What Does the Boston Bombing Say About Diversity?

Individuals should be judged, not groups.

“Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects Elude Labels,” reported The Washington Post headline last week. The headline was wishful thinking because, as the first paragraph recognized, several labels could apply to the Tsarnaev brothers.

For instance, they were Caucasian in the most literal sense: from the Caucusus. They were immigrants. And they were Muslim.

That last fact has dismayed much of the Muslim community. After the bombing, but before the perpetrators’ identities were known, many hoped they would not be Muslim. They hoped so because, as the Boston Globe’s Yvonne Abraham put it, if the perpetrator “is a Muslim, thousands will be called upon to answer, by association and stereotype, for his actions.”

No kidding. A mere hour after the bombing Fox News contributor Eric Rush wrote that Muslims were “evil. Let’s kill them all.” The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) received hate mail such as this: “When it is proven to be a Muslim we will remove all of you vermin from our country. YOU are the disease.......WE are the cure.” And while he didn’t stoop to depths as vile as that, former Rep. Joe Walsh suggested last week it is time to start “profiling. . . our enemy,” namely “young Muslim men.”

Walsh’s view is shared by many, including the NYPD – which infiltrated mosques and Muslim communities after 9/11. In so doing, the AP reported, the police “put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity.”

The assumption behind Rush’s hate, Walsh’s assertion and the NYPD’s spying is that we can know something important about people based on nothing more than their membership in a demographic category. The same assumption has informed the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, in which officers overwhelmingly single out black and Hispanic individuals for pat-down searches.

Progressives, libertarians, and civil-liberties advocates all dispute that assumption – and rightly so. Lumping vastly different people into crude categories and then judging them based only on those labels is the worst sort of reductionism.

Social scientists have done good work exposing the degree to which such brutish  tribalism still taints American society. For instance, researchers from MIT and the University of Chicago have found that otherwise equivalent résumés produced a 50 percent higher chance of getting an interview when the applicant’s name sounded white (Emily, Brendan) than when the name sounded black (Lakisha, Jamal).

This is deplorable and disheartening. We all know it is wrong to judge individuals according to such superficial characteristics.

Except, evidently, when it comes to diversity. Diversity, as the term is meant in higher education and the workplace, embraces precisely the same assumption employed by Fox’s Rush, Walsh, the NYPD, and unconsciously racist employers: that superficial traits tell us something important about an individual’s essential nature.

In fact, in defense of that assumption, a number of Ivy League universities have submitted amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas, a case about the use of racial preferences in college admissions. Harvard, Yale, Brown, et al. want the court to let them “take account of race and ethnicity.”  Indeed, they contend this is not merely permissible, but that it is driven by a “compelling governmental interest.” They go so far as to insist that color-blind admissions would be “fundamentally incompatible with [our] educational missions.”

Why? Because, as another amicus brief by two Harvard law professors puts it, race is “a salient aspect of identity” – in some cases “urgently salient.” And so is religion: “It almost certainly would be mutually beneficial for students raised in Catholic schools and Yeshivas to encounter one another, because each will come away with an enlarged perspective on the law and on themselves.”

“Almost certainly.” The professors reach this conclusion about the hypothetical students based on nothing more than two small data points: their presumptively Catholic and Jewish backgrounds. But if we can know something important about someone merely because she is Catholic, then equally we can know something important about someone merely because he is Muslim. Former Rep. Walsh would certainly agree.

Perhaps, to a very limited degree, we can. Religion consists of a set of beliefs – and beliefs can influence behavior in ways race cannot. It is not irredeemably bigoted to assume, for instance, that – all other things being equal – a Muslim would be more likely than a Mormon to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. But universities do not want diversity of faith alone. They want to weight judgments about admissions by gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and so on.

The universities will say they are counting such traits as only one factor among many. But by the same token, a New York police officer could credibly claim he is doing precisely the same when he stops a Hispanic male wearing certain clothing. Like the Ivies claim to be doing, he is making an “individualized” assessment based partly on the individual’s membership in a collective class.

Perhaps they all should heed the advice of Juliette Kayyem.  “The thirst for a quick and easy explanation,” she wrote in The Boston Globe the day after the bombing, “leads everyone astray.”

This article originally appeared in The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • John||

    Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects Elude Labels

    Because Radical Islamist Terrorist is such a hard label. And if they had been in any way associated with a right wing cause, I am so sure the WAPO would say the same thing.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    It used to be amazing how those people used their pet labels. Somehow both "Muslim" and "Hispanic" meant some shade of brown to them, even though literally anybody can be a member of the Muslim faith and somewhere near half of all Hispanics are white.

    It is not amazing any more. They are morons.

    This statement from the post is a bit of a head scratcher too:


    They were immigrants. And they were Muslim.

    That last fact has dismayed much of the Muslim community.

    Dismayed? Unless the "dismay" is in the ranks of Muslims in news rooms, I don't see how this fits at all. Unless they have inside information that the Weather Underground is going back into the bomb business and these guys beat them to the first boom.

  • wareagle||

    the dismay is almost exclusively within the ranks of liberals who were hoping, often out loud, that Boston was the work of some bible-thumping bubbas from flyover country. This is the same group that, to this day, largely excuses the WU or pretends the group did not exist, but ask about non-islam inspired terror, and they shout "Tim McVeigh" practically in unison.

  • sinclairs||

    up to I looked at the draft that said $9889, I didnt believe that my father in law actualie earning money part time from there pretty old laptop.. there moms best frend has been doing this for less than 1 year and recently repayed the mortgage on their mini mansion and got themselves a Chevrolet. I went here, http://www.wow92.com

  • Jon Lester||

    I'm surprised al-Qaeda didn't send more Albanians, Bosnians, Chechens/Dagestanis and Turks our way in the first few years after 9/11. There are plenty of white Muslims in the world.

  • grey||

    I'm not convinced radicalizing is easy, otherwise, based on the Muslim population size we'd have road side bombs all over America.

  • Tman||

    Eric Rush is an outlier and people such he and those who speak in bigoted terms are rightly ignored as the fruitcakes they are.

    That being said not only is a Muslim more likely than a Mormon to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, but based on recent events a Muslim would be more likely than a Mormon to murder innocent people in the name of Jihad. This isn't being bigoted, this merely the facts.

    It would be foolish NOT to concentrate counter-terrorist investigations in areas where there are the highest potential individuals that would be likely to become like the Tsarnev brothers. If you have an Imam screaming at the top of his lungs to his flock that it is their duty to kill Americans in the name of Allah you take him at his word.

    This doesn't mean its bigoted.

  • Super Hans||

    And a Mormon would be more likely than a Muslim to murder innocent people in the name of Joseph Smith. This isn't being bigoted, it's merely the facts.

  • Tman||

    And if extremist Mormons were responsible for the recent increase in innocent people being murdered I would have no problem with the FBI investigating extremist Mormon groups.

    Based on the facts, it appears that not every terrorist attack on Americans is related to fanatic Muslim extremists, but they do occupy an overwhelmingly high percentage of said attacks, thus the additional scrutiny in justified.

  • Super Hans||

    An overwhelmingly high percentage based on an underwhelmingly small number.

  • Tman||

    Small number of what?

    Over 3000 people died on 9/11. Is this overwhelmingly small in relation to the number of Mormon-based terrorist attacks?

  • Calidissident||

    Underwhelmingly small compared to the total number of Muslims.

    And while Muslims may commit a disproportionate share of terror attacks, is their any evidence that their overall murder rate in the US is high? Does it really matter to a dead person if they did in a terror attack or an "ordinary" murder?

  • Tman||

    And while Muslims may commit a disproportionate share of terror attacks

    It's not "may". It's a statement of fact. Muslim extremists commit a disproportionate share of terror attacks both in the US and abroad. I'm not pretending to assume the reason for this, I'm just saying the numbers are what they are. And more importantly, there isn't any other group of religious extremists in the world that have anywhere near the body count that Islamists have in the last couple decades.

  • PapayaSF||

    It matters because a not-insignificant minority of Muslims in general support Islamic terror. The numbers vary by country and question and date, but results in the 10-30% range are not uncommon. In contrast, there is very little support for "ordinary murder."

  • Calidissident||

    In this country?

  • RightNut||

    Does it really matter to a dead person if they did in a terror attack or an "ordinary" murder?

    Did we not just watch the country freak out over 22 people being killed in Newtown, well that same number of young men are killed in a weekend in Chicago? The method matters to people because of the symbolism of such murders.

    Average American:
    Teens killed in Chicago - probably involved in gangs/drugs.

    Kids in Newtown - innocent, not threatening, could be their own kids.

  • Calidissident||

    RightNut, when have I ever defended the reaction to Sandy Hook?

  • RightNut||

    I'm not saying you have, I'm saying the method matters to most people.

  • carol||

    I'm not so sure that the "Average American" shrugs off the deaths of teens in Chicago. It seems more likely that we have been conditioned not to speak about inner-city problems. To "do something" about the deaths of Chicago teens requires having an honest conversation about race and nobody is willing to do that.

  • PapayaSF||

    An "underwhelmingly small number" of what? I seem to recall quite a large number of terror attacks by Muslims over the last dozen years.

  • Calidissident||

    In the US?

  • PapayaSF||

    Besides the one big one, there have been a number of others, some with death tolls, some without, and some failed plots: the Ft. Hood shooter, the guy who shot up LAX, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Brooklyn Bridge bomber, and various others I've forgotten about.

  • Calidissident||

    Compared to the millions of Muslims in the country, that's not much

  • PapayaSF||

    Compared to the millions of Christians/Jews/Buddhists/Hindus/etc., it's a lot.

  • Chris Mallory||

    A citation for the last time a person was murdered in the "name of Joseph Smith".
    You are an idiot. Merely the facts.

  • Super Hans||

    Read again. No one is stating that anyone was murdered in the name of Joseph Smith. F for reading comprehension.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    If nobody has done it, or at least it's happened so few times as to be insignificant, then the probability is 0 or close to 0 for ANY group. You can't say that about Islamists.

    F for statistical comprehension.

  • Super Hans||

    You're simply not reading what was written.

  • Super Hans||

    Or:

    And a Man would be more likely than a Woman to murder innocent people in the name of whatever. This isn't being bigoted, it's merely the facts.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    OT: I just like your handle. Super Hans is the best!

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    There are physical, biological differences that separate men and women and are cause for men to be more violent. These are biological impulses that are hard wired and are, for the most part, overcome.

    A member of a religion/ideological group are NOT driven by a different biological impulse or imperative than their counterparts in other religions/ideological groups. These are CHOICES.

    When one religion/group becomes increasingly radicalized and extreme, it's worth keeping an eye on them. If we started seeing hindu extremism on the rise and they started blowing up our people, you bet your ass we'd be more suspicious of Hindus in general.

  • Calidissident||

    The thing, Tman, is that when the people who actually have power say they want to "concentrate investigations in areas ..." they almost always mean major violations of the Bill of Rights. Not saying that's what you mean, but it is the reality, and that scares me a lot more than the 0.000000001% chance I'll die in an Islamic terror attack

  • Tman||

    I agree that defending Bill of Rights should be the priority. I also agree with you that yes, there is a very good chance that during the investigations in to these groups rights will be trampled, and no, I'm not ok with that.

    But I believe there is a way to investigate these groups WITHOUT tramping all over the BOR.

    What? Stop laughing. I'm serious.

  • Mike M.||

    "A believes in fairies. B believes in winged horses. Criticise A and you're rational. Criticise B and you're a bigoted racist Islamophobe."

    -Richard Dawkins

  • Doctor Whom||

    Why? Because, as another amicus brief by two Harvard law professors puts it, race is “a salient aspect of identity” – in some cases “urgently salient.” And so is religion: “It almost certainly would be mutually beneficial for students raised in Catholic schools and Yeshivas to encounter one another, because each will come away with an enlarged perspective on the law and on themselves.”

    So that is why admissions committees have an unerring instinct for admitting students who are diverse in terms of race, sex, geographic origin, and (nominal) religious affiliation, most of whom think exactly alike.

  • John||

    No. The admissions committee really hates to not be able to admit black and Hispanic kids who come from the right families and think the right things just because of pesky things like grades and test scores. If we go by objective factors, lots of white trash, weird Asians, evangelicals and other riff raff will get in. But if we have enforced "diversity" it won't just be the white kids from the right backgrounds who get in, but their minority friends too.

    You really can't expect kids from good liberal families to go to school with white trash or evangelicals or hicks or too many Asians. What kind of a monster are you?

  • Cosmo Punch||

  • grey||

    +2

    1 for agreement
    1 for sarcasm

  • Homple||

    Why do we only hear from the Moderate Muslims after the kaboom? The bombs go off and the whimpering about reprisals start automatically. If the Muslim community is making serious and widespread efforts to promote better assimilation and eliminate the influence of radicalizers, they're mighty quiet about it.

  • Calidissident||

    It's not the obligation of every Muslim to make sure everyone they know is aware that they don't condone terrorism.

  • SugarFree||

    I demand that every Christian apologize to me personally for Westboro Baptist Church.

  • John||

    Sure. Every Christian I know will say they are pieces of shit and in no way represent Christianity and will gladly cheer when the place burns down. Can't think of a single Christian anywhere you wouldn't tell the world that if asked.

    If the standard is Muslims must condemn Muslim terrorists as much as Christians condemn the WBC, I think Muslims have failed pretty badly.

  • $park¥||

    Who is going around asking every Muslim if they denounce Muslim terrorists?

  • John||

    I don't know. But what if they did? Is denouncing terrorists such a hard thing? If someone went around and asked you to denounce the KKK or the WBC, would you find doing so a burden? Why do you think it would be such a burden on Muslims to denounce terrorists who claim to act in their religion's name? Do you think they are all really secret terrorists?

  • $park¥||

    My point is, you say all Christians will denounce the WBC if asked. Yet you seem to be claiming that Muslims must come out and denounce all Muslim terrorists as soon as something occurs. Should they go on TV? Take out ads in magazines/newspapers?

    Is denouncing terrorists such a hard thing?

    I wouldn't think so, and I suspect many would if asked.

    Why do you think it would be such a burden on Muslims to denounce terrorists who claim to act in their religion's name?

    I don't think it would, and I bet a great many would be happy to do so if asked.

  • John||

    My point is, you say all Christians will denounce the WBC if asked.

    No, not if asked, they have. Go look yourself. The WBC has been denounced hundreds and hundreds of times by Christian organizations. Wherever they go they are met with derision and protest.

    In contrast, there were Muslims who openly celebrated after 9-11. That happened in this country after 9-11. We know for a fact that the radicals who radicalized the two guys in Boston spoke in their Mosques.

    Show me one church in America where people supporting the WBC are invited to speak. I know this is really hard for you to admit Sparky since it has apparently been beaten in your skull since you were born that no other culture could ever have anything wrong with it, but yes there are good number of Muslims in the world and at least a few in America who think setting off bombs in the name of the jihad is just fucking great.

    I don't think it is too much to ask other Muslims to take a stand and say they are not part of that. Sort of the same way after 200 years of racism, white people generally have to make it clear they are not racist.

  • $park¥||

    I know this is really hard for you to admit Sparky since it has apparently been beaten in your skull since you were born that no other culture could ever have anything wrong with it

    Sometimes it's really a shame that you have to be such a gigantic dick. I sure am glad that you have the almighty power to know what everyone has, is, and ever will think. Why haven't you set the world right with your awesome powers?

    but yes there are good number of Muslims in the world and at least a few in America who think setting off bombs in the name of the jihad is just fucking great

    I don't remember ever claiming that this was not the case.

  • ||

    We know for a fact that the radicals who radicalized the two guys in Boston spoke in their Mosques.

    We also know the older brother was booted from his mosque more than once for loudly sharing his radical views.

    I don't think it is too much to ask other Muslims to take a stand and say they are not part of that. Sort of the same way after 200 years of racism, white people generally have to make it clear they are not racist.

    This is.. stupid. If I don't "take a stand" (as defined by John) against racism, I'm a secret racist supporter?

  • John||

    If it was 1963 and white people were bombing black people in the South, and I never said shit about it as a white person, that would be okay?

  • Loki||

    If it was 1963 and white people were bombing black people in the South, and I never said shit about it as a white person, that would be okay?

    In a word, yes. You, as an individual, had nothing to do with setting off the bombs, so why should you, as an indvidual have to say anything about it? To imply otherwise is to imply some kind of fucked up guilt by association simply by virtue of you being the same race as the bombers.

    You may personally find the act of boming black people simply for the color of their skin to be horrific, but unless some reporter shoves a microphone in your face and asks you directly, you don't have to say or do shit about it if you don't want to.

  • Loki||

    If someone went around and asked you to denounce the KKK or the WBC, would you find doing so a burden?

    I might find it burdensome and annoying if people keep asking me to simply because I'm white and Christian. The implication being that because I belong to a particular group I'm somehow obligated to denounce the extreme outliers when I would really just prefer people to leave me the fuck alone. Just as it's not my "job" to denounce every white or Christian kook who does or says something stupid, it's not every non-radical muslim's "job" to loudly denounce terrorism at every turn. Especially when most would probably prefer to go about their lives and be left the fuck alone, the same as me.

  • wwhorton||

    I don't get what John et al expects the "moderate Muslim community" to do. The mosque where Tamerlan worshiped booted him out the door for being too nutty. I'm willing to bet that 99% of American Muslims you'd ask would say that blowing people up (or murder in general) is a bad thing, and that violent jihad a la al Qaeda is bad. There's already plenty of denunciation. It seems like the standard they're looking for is for Muslims to get together on their weekly conference call, contact the national media, and hold a press conference reiterating how much they don't want to kill people.

    I don't have a problem with looking at someone's faith as a factor during an investigation. After all, if an abortion clinic is bombed, I'm not going to waste too many resources investigating atheists. But the correlation between being Muslim and being a terrorist is so weak that using the one as an indicator of the other is useless. You're better off linking age and gender to terrorism, frankly. And I think it's ridiculous and presumptuous to hold every Muslim on Earth personally responsible for the actions of a few.

  • RightNut||

    . I'm willing to bet that 99% of American Muslims you'd ask would say that blowing people up (or murder in general) is a bad thing, and that violent jihad a la al Qaeda is bad.

    Sadly you would likely lose that bet.

  • Super Hans||

    That's "suicide bombings under certain conditions", not just "blowing people up".
    BTW, an even larger percentage of the overall US public supports torture. Now isn't that peachy?

  • Gorilla tactics||

    it's called al-taqiyya, lying in defense of the faith

  • SugarFree||

    If you denounced them the right way or for long enough, they'd stop. They have not stopped, therefore you have not denounced the right way or for long enough.

    John supports Westboro by not not supporting them enough.

  • John||

    Who says that anyone thinks Muslims denouncing terrorism would make it stop? No denouncing terrorism just means you are not a terrorist, just like denouncing the WBC just means you are not one of them.

    Try again SF.

  • SugarFree||

    Oh, OK. So it won't do anything to stop terrorism, you just want all Muslims that want to prove themselves to not be a terrorist by spontaneously denounce terrorism at all times for shits and giggles. Maybe they could just mutter it under their breath all day.

    You are officially unhinged. You are a couple of pressure cooker bombs away from masturbating in the street.

  • John||

    Or maybe they should not let people who advocate for such speak in their mosques?

    I am not unhinged. You people just become balless PC liberals when this subject comes up. You think nothing of making conclusions about other groups based on the actions of a few that are not condemned by the many. If this conversation were about liberals and the 1960s bombings and how liberals bend over fucking backwards to excuse it, you would agree with me. But because it is about Muslims, you just can't admit that maybe religion had something to do with it. You just can't help but be a good PC suburbanite.

  • SugarFree||

    You think nothing of making conclusions about other groups based on the actions of a few that are not condemned by the many.

    OK, I see. You are just playing around. There's no way you could possibly type that with a straight face in this discussion.

    But because it is about Muslims, you just can't admit that maybe religion had something to do with it. You just can't help but be a good PC suburbanite.

    This is some funny fucking shit right here. You'll never run out of straw.

  • Loki||

    You are a couple of pressure cooker bombs away from masturbating in the street.

    "My cousin Walter jerked off in public once. True story. He was on a plane over New Mexico when all of the sudden the hydraulics went. The plane started spinning around, going out of control, so he decides it's all over and whips it out and starts beating it right there. So all the other passengers take a cue from him and they start whipping it out and beating like mad. So all the passengers are beating off, plummeting to their certain doom, when all of the sudden, *snap* The hydraulics kick back in. The plane rights itself and it land safely and everyone puts their pieces or, whatever, you know, away and deboard. No one mentions the phenomenon to anyone else."

  • ||

    That's because most Christians have a war boner. If WBC only protested abortion doctor and gay activist funerals, there are a lot of Christians who would be all about it, even if they remained tactfully silent.

    Muslim extremists, in the large picture, don't attack us because they are Muslims. They attack us because they hate how we treat/our policy toward Muslims. In the large picture.

  • John||

    They attack us because they hate how we treat/our policy toward Muslims. In the large picture.

    That is right. They only attack us because we deserve it. They only attack us because of our policies. It is not like the radicals don't attack other Muslims whom they consider not radical enough or anything. No they are just freedom fighters. If we just reason with them and apologize enough they will leave us alone.

    Jesus fucking Christ will that dumb ass fucking meme ever fucking die.

  • $park¥||

    What do you think would happen if the US decided to get out of the Middle East and leave them to their affairs? No more meddling at all ever. The US just pulls out and stops having any business with any country there.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, no disrespect, but exactly what involvement did we have in Chechnya? Aside from protesting the Russians' excesses?

  • grey||

    I generally agree with you, but leaving people alone is no guaranty they will do likewise. A certain degree of bad natured collectivism is occuring among some Muslims. A part of the answer may be end the meddling, but there is an expanionist movement in Islam that is worth watching.

    Agree though, I'd like to see the world after the US stopped meddling.

  • ||

    Yeah, let's go back to brilliant memes such as "they hate us for our freedom!"

  • ||

    That is right. They only attack us because we deserve it.

    So, apparently, "the large picture" means "in every case".

    I wish you would quit being a fucking coward and accept that the real world involves consequences for actions.

  • John||

    Cavpitalist,

    Why don't you quit being an idiot narcissistic American and admit that not every action in the world is controlled or caused by America. Maybe some people just hate you because they have their own reasons for doing so and there is not a God damned thing you can do about it?

    It is a terrifying thought but tough shit. Sometimes life is like that.

  • ||

    Yes, I'm being a narcissist by admitting that the nation I call home, and served a decade for, is in some degree responsible for the outlash from Muslims who say they are lashing out against us because of how we treat them.

    You, meanwhile, are displaying rational thought by equating the rational acknowledgment of the artifacts of our foreign policy with "this is all our fault! if we weren't meanies, there would be no violence anywhere!", in pursuit of denying that our actions have any consequences.

    Go fuck yourself, puppet.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Except, as many of us point out, the correlation is very, very weak. Their motivation may very well be in response to U.S. soft power that they find threatening to their status within their own societies. It would certainly be a lot more consistent with their claimed criticisms.

  • Gorilla tactics||

    who is the US oppressing and attacking in the Caucassus? It's true that our actions don't help the situation, but its not like as if the problem would just disappear if we would just stop. There IS a religious dimension to this and there are differences between religions.

  • Rasilio||

    "Can't think of a single Christian anywhere you wouldn't tell the world that if asked."

    I can.

    My brother would tell you that he disapproves of their methods but agrees 100% with their message

  • John||

    But that doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. If Libertarians started blowing shit up, the fact that you didn't say anything wouldn't mean you supported them. But if you think saying nothing and doing nothing to keep the actions of the few from discrediting your entire ideology would be pretty stupid.

    Beyond that, if you really did support them, wouldn't saying nothing be a rational move, considering the downsides of outright public support?

    How do you know what Muslims think? You assume they none of them condone this. But that strikes me as more wishful thinking than anything else.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Lumping vastly different people into crude categories and then judging them based only on those labels is the worst sort of reductionism"

    Except, of course, when liberals are talking about the Tea Party, conservatives, "right wing hate groups" ,etc. etc.

    Then it's all perfectly A-OK.

  • John||

    The Nazis are known as "right wing". So it is perfectly appropriate to speculate that the Boston Marathon bombing might have been done by the "right wing" because April 15 is Hitlers birthday is a big deal among the "right wing".

    But calling two guys who were Muslims and openly admitting to doing the bombing in the name of Islam, Muslim terrorist is just too much of a generalization.

  • Rhywun||

    Stop-and-frisk is indefensible not because they are supposedly targeting non-whites, but because the cops have no goddamn right to do it to anyone period.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^

    It wouldn't be any more defensible if they targeted white hipsters.

  • MichaelTurner||

    Wow. How ignorant of what Islam is. You realize it's a choice and a philosophy, not something inherent or born into?

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    I wonder why this is such a difficult concept for so many. Maybe it comes from being non-religious and having come from an extremely religious family. I don't know.

    While people are born into their religion and it can have a great influence on their life, it still remains a choice.

  • Rasilio||

    "While people are born into their religion and it can have a great influence on their life, it still remains a choice."

    Are you so sure about that?

    Seriously think about it, how much of what you believe today is something which you consciously chose to believe in?

    Lets run a little experiment, for the next 5 minutes choose to believe in the existence of leprechauns. Tell us how successful you were in actually believing that.

    The fact is that we have VERY little choice in terms of what we believe, each of us can be presented identical facts and walk away believing completely different things about them without ever choosing what to believe and while it may be possible to "fake it till you make it" with a desired belief in general we have little to no control which facts, narratives, and thought patterns our brains latch on to.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Are you daft? Did you miss that part about me being an atheist from an extremely devout family??

    I was raised with unrelenting faith in God and Jesus Christ. I CHOSE to examine that belief and replace it with non-belief. It wasn't just a switch that I threw to become an atheist, it was a transition where I made myself believe different things. I was a pagan for several years, and I believed in the rites and rituals as fervently as I believed in Jesus.

    I can't force myself to believe in leprechauns because the idea is patently ridiculous. Even as an atheist, I can fully understand how religious people can believe in God, Allah, Vishnu, whatever. I don't believe in any of them, not because I was forced to, but because I made the choice to not believe in them.

    So please, don't fucking tell me religion is not a choice.

  • tommy0302||

    Though this is true, imagine for a second you are born into an average Pashtun family in Afghanistan. You do not know how to read, write, or do simple math equations. The only thing you know is what you have been taught in your Wahabiist Madrassa about Islam. Not much of a choice really...

  • tommy0302||

    Oh...and if you denounce Islam you are stoned to death.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Not much of a choice and zero choice are two completely different things. Yes, if you have limited information, your choices are likewise limited.

    The fact remains, though, that human beings have free will and make a choice whether or not believe the established doctrine. They also have a choice as to how far to take it. It is a choice to strap on a bomb vest and blow up infidels. It is a choice to blindly follow and never question.

  • tommy0302||

    Agreed, when you are given a choice and there is information available to make a choice. Though, in many Muslim countries, choice isn't an option. You are born into it and that is the end your choices.

    You're looking at this from an American perspective. But where I have spent some time music is illegal, women aren't allowed to leave the house (mud hut) and right as I was departing from my lovely time in AFG the Taliban was beheading people for using toothbrushes because in the Quaran Mohammed uses a root to clean his teeth. Choices and free will?

    With America being about 80% identifying as "religious" and 20% Atheist it's easy to see that many of us (including myself) come from a devout family but have turned to non-belief. I had a choice and I made a good one (though my mother isn't thrilled). But I had a choice and you are making this issue way too cut and dry.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Tommy, I'm not really disagreeing with you on the lack of good options, it's still a choice. Worship Allah or be stoned to death. It's a shitty choice, and one where very few choose the latter, but still a choice.

    I understand, from an American view, my choice to embrace apostasy was not easy, but certainly not life or death.

    My point is this. Race is not a choice, you are born a certain race and you will die the same race. Gender is not a choice, you were born with either and X or a Y and you will die with the same genetics.

    Religion IS a choice. Someone may be born a muslim, but they won't necessarily die a muslim. I'm sure there are millions of atheists living in muslim countries where their disbelief would be met with deadly force, so they choose to keep it quiet.

  • tommy0302||

    Understood, good point. I would be interested in seeing exactly how many Atheists are in these countries...but looks like I'll be long dead before that shit happens.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    That would be very interesting to find out. We both will probably be long dead and turned to dust before secularism is accepted in muslim countries.

    Hell, it's barely tolerated in this country. I keep going back to the poll that showed that convicted rapists and murderers are more trusted in this country than atheists. And we've got a fairly sizable chunk of the population.

  • tommy0302||

    Yea, that pretty much sums it up. I'll always cherish the amount of nasty looks I got on the subway during the weeks I was reading Hitchens' "God is Not Great" on my way to work.

  • itsnotmeitsyou||

    Yeah, it's great. I have a cousin who has been in and out of jail for the past few decades. Some minor drug charges started him out, but he's since graduated to larceny, assault, etc. He's a scumbag, but my family keeps forgiving him and welcoming him back with open arms.

    I come out as an atheist and I am the most evil, terrible thing that has ever happened to the family and have several relatives that won't even sit in the same room as me. I have a house, a wife, a good job, and have never been in any sort of trouble (I got a detention once in 8th grade *gasp*). Yet, I'm the pariah.

  • MichaelTurner||

    This is all completely irrelevant. There is only one perspective that's important. There are a group of people out there, bound by a common philosophy, who continually pester every corner of the earth where they have influence by taking their beliefs to violent levels. It's a behavior and a choice, and it's consistently correlated to a common philosophy.

  • wareagle||

    along with free will, human beings also have a conscience. For most people, this means being unable to rationalize killing others for no reason beyond they are different from you. For a vocal and powerful strain of Islam, not so much.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Muslim extremists, in the large picture, don't attack us because they are Muslims. They attack us because they hate how we treat/our policy toward Muslims. In the large picture.

    If this is true, the logical responses aren't in the category 'non-interventionism.'

  • ||

    If this is true, the logical responses aren't in the category 'non-interventionism.'

    I'm listening...

  • Sidd Finch||

    If they attack us because of perceived slights against other Muslims, even when the 1st order reason is secular and the other Muslims are thousands of miles from anywhere they've ever been, it's time to treat Islam as a hostile nation instead of a religion.

    If that's the case, we need to decide if Islam could become an existential threat. If not, a degree of isolationism that would make Pat Buchannan blush is in order. Ship out the non-citizens. Burn the mosques. Ban all travel to Muslim countries. OTOH if Islam could be an existential threat, kill 'em all.

    Of course, I don't agree with that. I think crazy Muslims kill people because their religion is nuttier than most. Crazy people * nutty religion = their crazies are crazier than most other crazies.

  • ||

    This assumes too much - namely, that terrorism against this country is a big enough threat to be deporting or burning anything. It isn't. This is the anti-gun argument, churched up with a religion.

  • Sidd Finch||

    By your argument, terrorism is already a huge threat because it must affect foreign policy. What if Pakistan gets nuttier and attacks the US or our interests. Now we have to include in the calculus not just regular blowback from aggrieved parties, but every Muslim in the world since we aren't attacking Pakistan, but a southeast region of the Nation of Islam Islam Nation.

    The real-world locations and targets of Muslim terrorists doesn't seem like much evidence that their motives are "how we treat/our policy toward Muslims."

  • Bill Dalasio||

    For instance, researchers from MIT and the University of Chicago have found that otherwise equivalent résumés produced a 50 percent higher chance of getting an interview when the applicant’s name sounded white (Emily, Brendan) than when the name sounded black (Lakisha, Jamal).

    This has long been shown to be bogus. The correlation isn't with "black" names. It's with "poor" names. When you compare names like Emily or Brendan to names like Cletus or Rayanne, you get similar results.

  • Mongo||

    How about 'Methy-Mae'?

  • Sidd Finch||

    There's such huge research and publication bias on stuff like this that I think it's safe to assume any single study is bullshit.

  • XM||

    In a true libertarian society, wouldn't private businesses have the right to not hire anyone based on their personal whim?

    Muslims appear to be (not unlike Latinos and other immigrants) are nationalists. That means they fit nicely with the American left, and exult in the protected class status and victimhood mentality. Random backlash or any word of criticism against their culture against will be instantly twisted into an act of intolerance or a rise in "hate crime". They'll play asinine equivalency game by pointing out to the unabomber or the crusades.

    Just look at how the aunt and the mom of the two bombers' behaved. They engaged in typical left wing conspiracy mongering about set ups and imperialism. Hear the mom DEFIANTLY defend her sons and scream "Allah Akhbur". I don't EVER, EVER remember a prominent Muslims opening up completely and lament what the barbarians are doing to their culture. It always has to be some BS "We condemn this act, ya know" statement followed by "if you blame all of us, you're racist".

    Muslims aren't especially liked in other non white groups, and many of them roll their eyes at the things they do. No, most minorities don't like other minorities. There's no freaking "diversity" in this country, everyone becomes entrenched in their own communities. Ain't to wealthy Asian person gonna live in Harlem because they want to be close to be black people.

  • ||

    "Stop-and-frisk is indefensible not because they are supposedly targeting non-whites, but because the cops have no goddamn right to do it to anyone period."

    Correct. Terrys done consistent with the 4th amendment are perfectly groovy, but that's not what NYPD is doing.

    And again, if they are "supposedly" targeting non-whites as SOME say based on the RESULTS of who gets stopped, then let's compare the racial disparities of the stops to the NCVS and see if the racial disparities can be accounted for. Oh wait, that's already been done and surprise surprise, there's no "there there". Cops stop people disproportionately based on their disproportionate rate of crime offense as any perusal of BJS/NCVS data will show, not to mention Heather MacDonald's work.

    I note a constant failure to take NCVS stats into account. If black males make up 6% of a population, but 50% of part I crime offenders ACCORDING TO CRIME VICTIMS (CVS), then it is unsurprising that police, looking to stop people for criminally suspicious behavior disproportionately make stops of black males vs white males. Ditto for disproportion as to age and gender.

  • ||

    The problem with NYPD's program again, is that it violates the constitution. However, it's not merely understandable, but it's a likelihood that cops PROPERLY employing terry stops will disproportionately apply them to any # of demographic differences - race, gender, and age for example. Because people of different races, age, and genders don't commit crime proportionately. I know- SHOCKING. Cops also tend to be deployed disoproportionately where the crime is, same areas often being disproportionate in their populations vs. the population at large.

    Let's condemn NYPD for being unconstitutional and engaging in horribe practices. But until reason magazine takes into account NCVS stats, their racism hinting is about as disgingenuous as liberals saying we are racist because we are against affirmative action (see: disproportionate).

  • Homple||

    Here's a read on how a religious leader can help his coreligionists assimilate profitably into the society they have chosen to live in:
    "How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish"

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a2.html

    Hint, his methods did not include whinging about how alienated the citizens of his new country made him feel.

    And if Muslims or anyone else don't want to assimilate, let them go back to where they are already assimilated. I'm all for welcoming the world's wretched refuse as long as they don't drag the wretchedness of their place of origin with them and propagate it here.

  • Acosmist||

    Yes, that straw man who judges people entirely based on one label sure is a reductionist.

  • ||

    I think the only thing the Boston bombing says about diversity is that a lot of people have an obsession with the term that is fucking batshit. And I'm not just talking about racist xenophobe honkies. The apologia for Islam generally, and Islamic terrorism in particular, around here is absolutely baffling considering that even agnosticism is treated like anti-intellectual religious extremism.

  • Homple||

    Get back to me about this when white males are no longer lumped together as a group of womyn-hating homophobic racist oppressors, then we can talk.

    Until then, slide your diversity and "viewing people as individuals" into your upturned nostrils.

  • Jeff||

    It's Erik Rush, not Eric Rush. And if appearing on Fox News a few times makes him a contributor, then I guess Welch and Gillespie are also Fox News contributors.

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  • J_West||

    We all know it is wrong to judge individuals according to such superficial characteristics.

    Who is "we?"

    Judging people by superficial characteristics is national policy insofar as we have affirmative action, minority-only contracts, ethnic studies programs, hatecrime laws, and every manner of race based groups organizing and receiving funding from the government and corporate sector (ala NAACP, La Raza, etc.). Universities engage in their Orwellian term "diversity" policies in which they promote the admissions of selected minorities and suppress dissent via speech codes.

    Let's look at how white people today are held accountable for segregation-slavery. This is tribalism, and this is collectivism, but is anyone asking the NAACP etc., to end the race hustling? You might also query the Susan Sontags of the world who have declared white people to be the "cancer of humanity."

    It's easy enough to attack a Fox News commentator who made a comment in an emotional moment. But what of the deliberate race-based policies which have been national policy since the 1960s? How about taking on those rackets!

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