HANANIA: Mainstream racism only becomes an issue when it is convenient, For Immediate Release, 03-07-08

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Only Blacks, Muslims and “others” required to repudiate “their” bigots
By Ray Hanania —
When controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan endorsed Barack Obama in a three-hour speech, the outcry demanding that Obama denounce Farrakhan was deafening. And the criticism of the widerspread racism against Muslims, Blacks, Arabs and “others” only became important as a way for mainstream media and leaders to defend themselves against the truth that they are more racist and bigoted than anyone associated with Obama who has ever said anything terrible about other people.
Obama “condemned” Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic remarks made over the years, but that wasn’t enough. He had to “renounce” Farrakhan. And he did.

Then, it was pointed out that Obama’s “pastor” had given Farrakhan an award recognizing the many great things Farrakhan has done to strengthen the African American community, a community lynched, burned, beaten, brutalized and enslaved by White America.

Now, Obama is being criticized for failing to denounce and distance himself from his pastor, Jeremiah Wright Jr., who heads Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ. The church publishes a magazine, Trumpet, which gave the award to Farrakhan “last year.”

This year, televangelist John Hagee said some nasty things about Catholics. Hagee is a big supporter of John McCain. In the light of the Obama controversy, the media was forced to take notice of McCain’s racist bigoted supporters, especially after Republican fanatic and radio talkshow host Bill Cunningham, a White Christian bigot, railed against Obama’s race and lies that he is a “Muslim.”

McCain distanced himself from Cunningham, properly so.

But where is the justice?

Cunningham has been spouting racist hate on a regular basis on his radio show, and no one cared until it became a balancing act to justify the attacks against Obama.

In other words, no one would have cared about Cunningham’s routine racism except that the media and other political leaders had taken issue with Obama’s associations, as distant as they might be.

So, had Farrakhan not endorsed Obama, there would have been no pressure on McCain to denounce Cunningham.

And, no one would have cared about Hagee, who continues to spout hatred on his anti-Muslim, hate-filled television program which is welcomed in the homes of millions of Americans everyday.

The spotlight was only put on Hagee because of the Obama controversy. The reality is Hagee is much like Cunningham, a long time bigot and racist who spouts anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and hateful attacks against people often thrown into the wide classification of “other.”

No one has said anything about their bigotry before because their bigotry reflects the fundamental racism and bias that drives many Americans, especially conservative Republican extremists.

Hate is an everyday occurrence in America and the only time people raise the issue is when hate applies to the victims of mainstream hate. Blacks. Hispanics. Arabs. Muslims.

Obama is accused of being associated with someone who hates, and suddenly it becomes an American debate that the media runs with.

Some in the media raise issues about the hatred of people associated with the other candidates, like the Cunningham and Hagee venom, and the story finds some balance. For a while, anyway.

When the Obama controversy is over, the focus on the real haters in this country will disappear.

The reality is that the American debate on hate and racism and even anti-Semitism is only an important topic when the people accused of engaging in hate are minorities.

When the people who engage in hatred are mainstream Americans, it’s just not an issue.

Hagee should have been kicked off television years ago for his record of vicious hatred. But Hagee’s hatred is an acceptable form of hatred, bashing Arabs, Muslims and the “others.”

Why is Cunningham on radio when his record of hatred is so pronounced?

Hagee and Cunningham are no different than Michael Savage, a vicious hater, too, and Don Imus, a hater whose hatred slipped out from under a blanket of American hypocrisy.

Imus is a racist. But like many Americans these days, he was too clever to let his racism show so openly, until he allowed it to spill out while joking about a mostly Black girls basketball team. Imus was punished, and is now back on the airwaves with a new show. Some punishment.

I can only imagine what it was like in America in the 1940s and 1950s when racism was an open American art form. They lynched Black people every day. White Americans openly used the “n” word without fear.

These days, that racism has been pushed under the radar screen. Americans are too clever to say how much they really hate Black people. Anyway, they compensate by openly hating “alternatives” to Black people, the “other” Black people. Muslims. Arabs. Hispanic immigrants. Pakistanis. Iranians.

After the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001, some 14 people were murdered by White Americans because they “looked” like they were “Middle Eastern.” In fact, many of those killed were not Arab or Muslim at all. But who cares? They wore “turbins.” Had dark skin. Had names that sounded similar to the terrorists.

No one cared about them.

Maybe had this Obama controversy happened in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, the biased mainstream media and the biased American public would have complained about the killings, if only to justify their own actions.

Because the cry today against Hagee, Cunningham and others is only a temporary outrage intended to off-set complaints from the “others” that Americans only complain when it is about minorities they don’t like.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning author and columnist. He can be reached at www.ArabWritersGroup.com.)

 

This post has already been read 72 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com