The kindergarten teacher version is that ignorance engenders fear and it is this fear from which discrimination stems. True, maybe, but not okay and scary as hell.
The Burlington Coat Factory controversy in Manhattan has proven one thing for sure: that Civil Rights are a myth, that many Americans are as prejudiced and closed-minded as they were in the 40s, in the 60s, since forever.
Supposedly one could argue that this is about crowd psychology, but the fact that a crowd of protesters turned on a bystander because he looked different from them and began harassing him makes me sick. Absolutely sick. We can attribute this to the increasing radicalization of the “American Right” but there are so many others at fault. There is no question in my mind that the primary perpetrator of this discrimination is the overwhelming ignorance and sensationalistic attitudes of so many Americans. But it is also the fault of the “leftist” media for exploiting what they see as absurdity and, often, humor and giving these “radicals” air time, lending credulous credence to their off-the-deep-end views.
I am beginning to fear that I am one of a small group of people who believes it is important to learn about something before taking an active stance on it. Do these people even know what Sharia is? Who Hamas is and what it does? Do they know what a mosque is for? Maybe that’s not giving them enough credit. Certainly some of them are probably well-informed and have come to this position legitimately. But based on their attitudes, what they say, how they treat this issue, it seems that this is not the case for most.
I am saddened, I am ashamed, and I am scared.