Us vs. Them
Edward E. Curtis IV brought up many great points regarding the causes and effects of Islamophobia. His most compelling argument for me came when he briefly discussed American’s seemingly never-ending desire for conflict. This us vs. them mentality has been embedded in American’s heads, by our government, and elites, since our inception. This is the root cause of Islamophobia, not something Donald Trump said.
Americans have always had to have an enemy: the two most recent being communism, and then Islam. American leadership has often driven citizens towards hated of large, and vague groups in order to get populous behind a foreign conflict. Americans would not have sent their sons to Vietnam, if the Government hadn’t convinced them that Communism was a dire threat to the American way of life. Americans would not have send their sons, and daughters to Iraq, if the Government hadn’t convinced them that Islam, and Islamist nations, were a threat to the American way of life. Mainstream media today plays the narrative for the powers that be, and Americans do not hesitate to point their fingers wherever they are directed to do so.
Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery shows how easily a majority can be manipulated into doing something terrible. The people of the village do not know why they participate in the lottery, or why it still exists. Yet, they still participate in it willingly. Old Man Warner even goes as far as calling young people crazy for thinking they can get by without it: to him, they’ve been doing it for years, and it’s only fair if they keep doing it. The only reason the village stones Tessie Hutchinson is because they have always done it, and to some extent, they enjoy doing it.
U.S. foreign policy is essentially The Lottery on a much larger scale. The American populous has been manipulated in this way time, and time again. Americans are often eager to jump into conflicts if they are told it is pertinent to maintaining their way of life: even if they do not know exactly why they are doing it. Convincing American’s to fear of Islam is what allowed Bush to take Americans to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is why Americans are not upset about Obama, and Hillary Clinton partaking in the destabilization, and destruction, of the sovereign nations of Libya, and Syria.
This is why I do not blame the under educated American for being afraid of Islam; most of them probably have friends, or family, that were either killed, or severely injured fighting wars for the gain politicians, and elites, against Islamist nations. It is a problem that needs to be tackled at the root, not the surface. American leadership must discontinue its assault on Islam abroad before we can deal with Islamophobia at home. It is a problem that I fear will not be solved by education alone.
We must start with leadership that respects the lives Muslims across the world; not one that preaches tolerance at home, and drone strikes abroad.