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Subtle Messages of Discrimination

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: December 11, 2004
Latest Update: December 11, 2004

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Index of Topics on Site Subtle Messages of Discrimination
Arnold greeted me Saturday morning as I awoke, with "Oooh, you're gonna have to put this up." So much for his fussing about the amount of time I spend at the computer and teaching. But he was right. I particularly liked the placement of the article on the Op-Ed page under the rubric: VOICES: A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES in the L.A. Times. Guilty of 'Flying While Muslim'? By Salam Al-Marayati. Backup.

The author of this article is the Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, so that after a few red-flag issues had alerted him to the potential gravity of the situation, he made his title and status known, but as he points out, someone without his experience and status might have been more completely traumatized by the incident. Our FBI issued a brochure two months ago assuring Muslims that such assaults to their dignity in public and before their children, would not happen, even in travel to and from the Middle East, never mind a vacation in Mexico.

Perhaps the most frightening part for me was the comment of Salam Al-Marayati's 12-year-old son to his father as they waited in the detention center at the airport: " 'What about the Pledge of Allegiance, where it says liberty and justice is for all. Don't they have to believe in it, too?' Apparently not."

Discussion Questions:

  1. Consider this approach to profiling in light of one of our policies in law, that it would be better to let ten guilty persons go free than to falsely punish an innocent person. How does profiling run contrary to that policy?

  2. From the mouths of children. Notice that the child does not ask what prompted these actions. He asks whether we believe what we say in our pledge of allegiance. How easy it is to say the pledge of allegiance without examining the words and their meanings. Why would jeanne insist that we need to be made more aware in dominant discourse of our pledge of allegiance?

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