A new Salon article by Qasim Rashid cites a few passages from my recent piece titled “Muslims Aren’t A Race, So I Can’t Be Racist. Right? Wrong.” Rashid wrote the following:
Some are quick to argue, “Muslims aren’t a race, so I can’t be racist.” Rice University sociologist Dr. Craig Considine repudiates this simplistic understanding of racism, writing,
Race is a “floating signifier,” meaning that it is a fluid concept which has specific connotations during certain moments in history. Racism is no longer [only] about race (skin color) but culture.
Nazis believed their race and culture was superior those of all other races. What culminated in the Holocaust began with the demonization of minorities, selective activism and a public who bought into the lie that their race was superior to others.
As Dr. Considine elaborates,
Cultural racism, therefore, happens when certain people perceive their beliefs and customs as being culturally superior to the beliefs and customs of other groups of people. Cultural racism, in-turn, reproduces the idea of “the hierarchy of cultures,” meaning, in the context of current affairs, that “our” Western culture is superior to “their” Islamic culture.
This cancerous cultural racism is the culprit behind Western apathy towards acts of terrorism that happen in Ankara or Nigeria or Syria, but outrage at acts of terrorism that happen in Paris, Brussels or San Bernardino. Likewise, cultural racism empowers racists to dismiss white terrorists who murder dozens of children in Newtown, Conn., as “simply crazy,” but demand collective punishment of all American Muslims with apartheid treatment after Brussels.