In the wake of September 11, 2001 President Bush called for the country to unite in the fight against terrorism. He asked each citizen to stand up against those who try to do harm to our country. And unite we did. I can remember the patriotic bumper stickers; more people hung flags on their houses than ever. Overall, the atmosphere in the country was that of a cohesive unit bond together in fighting terrorism. The majority of the country felt more patriotic than ever, but another group of Americans were being excluded from this call for increased nationalism.
Americans of the Muslim faith were rejected from taking part of this patriotism; at times they were treated as lesser citizens solely on the basis of religion. Some Muslims suffered an added blow in the wake of 9/11, “in addition to coping with terror, many Muslims say they had to deal with the pain of being shunned by their fellow Americans.”
This video clips shows some extreme views held by Americans toward Muslims. The opinions shown in this video are far outside the thoughts of mainstream America and do not represent the country as a whole; but many Americans do not feel that Muslims should not be granted the same rights as citizens of other religions. Sadly, this was not the first time that in the name of connecting as a nation, people have been compelled to exclude certain groups as well.
In 1776, Thomas Paine called on the people of the United States colonies to rise up against the British crown. Much in the same way we were summoned to close ranks and band together in the fight against terrorism in the wake of 9/11. But when Paine cried out to the colonies to fight the tyranny of the British King, did he really call on all citizens? Or does he mean that white, land owning, protestant men should rise up to battle the British oppression? This question is clearly answered in the above picture of the Founding Fathers; each member belongs to one social faction, that of the upper class, white, Christian Man. So the answer is clear, both times when people answered the call to unity, large sectors of the country were cast as outsiders.
The focus of discrimination changed from 1776 to 2001, however the disenfranchisement of certain groups remained the same. Did President Bush really mean that Muslims were also supposed join in the call to Patriotism? I think not. Why did we feel the need to create outsiders in order to develop a more cohesive country? And, can exclusion of certain groups ever be justified in the name of unification? Again, I think not.