“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. But as A. Barton Hinkle observes, lumping vastly different people into crude categories and then judging them based only on those labels is the worst sort of reductionism.
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