The soft bigotry of low expectations
March 12, 2015 by Thomas Wictor
One of the legacies of President George W. Bush is his quotability. He has a natural wit, and he hired great speech writers. The phrase that instantly and permanently entered my memory banks is from a speech that Bush gave to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP, pronounced “N-Double-A-C-P”) at their ninety-first convention, July 10, 2000. The phrase is “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
We see this soft bigotry all the time in regard to Muslims. A certain kind of westerner isn’t bothered by horrendous savagery, as long as it’s committed by Muslims.
From January 2 to January 7, 2015—five days—Boko Haram carried out a series of attacks on the town of Baga and surrounding villages, killing over 2000 people.
This nightmarish atrocity got so little news coverage that the Guardian published a guilt-laden piece titled “Why did the world ignore Boko Haram’s Baga attacks?”
France spent the weekend coming to terms with last week’s terror attacks in Paris that left 17 dead. The country mourned, and global leaders joined an estimated 3.7 million people on its streets to march in a show of unity.
In Nigeria, another crisis was unfolding, as reports came through of an estimated 2,000 casualties after an attack by Boko Haram militants on the town of Baga in the north-eastern state of Borno. Amnesty International described it as the terror group’s “deadliest massacre” to date, and local defence groups said they had given up counting the bodies left lying on the streets…
On Twitter, Max Abrahms, a terrorism analyst, tweeted: “It’s shameful how the 2K people killed in Boko Haram’s biggest massacre gets almost no media coverage.”
Musician Nitin Sawhney said: “Very moving watching events in Paris – wish the world media felt equally outraged by this recent news too.”
“Mom Blogger” @Mom101 asked: “How is this not the lead story on every single news network, every Twitter newsfeed right now?” That sentiment was echoed by a number of Guardian readers over the weekend.
Speaking for myself, I was as enraged by the Baga attacks as I was by 9/11. I felt the same way about the al-Shabaab attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which lasted from September 21 to September 24, 2013.
Pundits often say that the reason that attacks such as these get only a fraction of the coverage as the Charlie Hebdo massacre, for example, is that the victims are considered less newsworthy because of their race. This is wrong. One look at the unending madness in Ferguson, Missouri, disproves that notion. What’s actually happening is that a certain kind of westerner lumps the victims and the attackers into one group and dismisses them as “the sort of people who do that sort of thing.”
When “that sort of person” commits an atrocity in the west, it’s newsworthy because of the rarity. In the First World, we don’t often see suicide bombers and bullet-spraying manics wiping out the defenseless in the name of religion. Recently a Twitter user began demanding that I explain my support for the terrorist nation of Israel. It was very tedious because she has no factual knowledge. Then she said what I’ve heard so often before.
There’s no need to discuss the Islamic State, because everyone already knows it’s evil. Ms. Handelong is on a mission to expose the evil of Israel, since the world has been hoodwinked by the Jew-controlled press.
Well, as I posted before, Jew-hate has become a global pandemic.
A Google search on the Iraq ISIS war—which is in its fourth year and has killed 28,000 people—produces this.
About 70 million results.
If you do a Google search on Operation Protective Edge—which lasted fifty days and killed about 2100 Palestinians—here’s what you get.
About 288 million results.
When we search Boko Haram attacks, we see this.
About 16.5 million results. The Baga atrocity killed over 2000; Operation Protective Edge killed about 2100 Palestinians. However, there’s absolutely no doubt that the 2000 people murdered by Boko Haram were all civilians. As for the Palestinians?
Nobody will ever know for sure, but at least half were combatants. Of the supposed 504 Palestinian children killed, I estimate that at least 30 percent were combatants. The number may be much higher.
In the case of Operation Protective Edge, the combination of Jew-hate and the soft bigotry felt toward Muslims resulted in a media and general-public orgy of catastrophic stupidity. We have campfire tales about massacres, “banned weapons,” indiscriminate fire, disproportional force, and all the other bumper-sticker slogans that have nearly destroyed the art of discourse.
Speaking again for myself, I hold Muslims to the same standards of behavior to which I hold white American Southern Baptists. A certain type of person is willing to excuse behavior, based on the perpetrator’s race, ethnicity, or religion. I’m not. Both the Baga and Westgate Mall atrocities went on for several days. People were butchered like farm animals. It haunts me and fills me with rage. But I’m not typical.
“Everybody knows they’re evil, so there’s no need to talk about it.”
No. What they’re really saying is, “Everybody knows they’re savages, so we can’t demand that they behave in a civilized manner.”
Of course we can. Not only that, we can blow the hell out of them until they stop behaving like savages. Either we oppose terrorism or we don’t. If we oppose it, the only thing that will stop Boko Haram and al-Shabaab is Colonel Richard Kemp’s blueprint: “to inflict repeated crushing and humiliating defeats on them—and to be seen to do so.”
Since I began defending Israel, I’ve discovered that the overwhelming majority of those who oppose her are utterly indifferent to the fate of the Palestinians and the rest of the Muslim world. Even Muslims don’t care that Boko Haram murdered 2000 defenseless civilians in a frenzied, demonic ritual straight out of Satan’s playbook.
The flip side of holding all people to the same standards of behavior is that you automatically see everyone as your brothers and sisters. You care about them. When they suffer, you suffer.
I suffer, and I want revenge. It doesn’t matter to me that the victims are Africans or Middle Easterners. Their agony is no different than that of Frenchmen or Americans. It cries out for vengeance.
The avengers have been trained, and the payback is underway.
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