Am I a racist?

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 24, 2002

I would have to say no. But then again, I could be wrong.

My good, old (we're both "old" now aren't we?) friend Tom Davis criticized my post suggesting that we prohibit the issuance of visas to "any male between the ages of 18-50 from any Arab nation during wartime." Tom said that my suggestion "This smacks of racist, xenophobic pap. I understand the frustration, but geez man."

Now, Tom is an extremely intelligent guy (his wife says he's not bad-looking either -- I would't know) and I respect his opinion. After re-reading my post and poking around the Immigration and Naturalization Service's Web site, I would like to revise and extend my remarks. These clarifications may or may not assuage some of Davis' concerns, but are unlikely lower Hauser's blood pressure. (I am seriously concerned about this guy. That much angst and outrage can't be healthy.)

We need to use our brains and common sense. In an effort not to appear racist, security personnel at airport terminals have taken to strip-searching a congressman, threatened to confiscate a war hero's Medal of Honor because it might be used as a weapon, and tossed former Vice President Al Gore's luggage. While security is worried about a disgruntled former presidential candidate, they're not necessarily checking that 22-year-old Arab Muslim wearing the "I love al Qaeda" T-shirt, because that would be racial profiling (aka racism).

I'm sorry, but if you look at the pictures of the Sept. 11 hijackers, they don't look like they popped out of Benneton ad. They're all young, Arab men. I didn't choose them. Asking airport screeners, or those who issue visas, to be willfully ignorant of the dangers some of these men pose is dangerous.

Tom referred to Timothy McVeigh as an example of why my proposed visa ban was wrong. After all, McVeigh was an American terrorist (a visa ban wouldn't have stopped him, but that's beside the point). Tom suggested that we need to worry about white males between the ages of 18-50. Well, if someone who looks like me goes out and buys a couple of tons of fertilizer -- and doesn't own a farm -- then I think someone should tip off the FBI. Once again, I think we need to use common sense.

However, I will disagree with Tom on one point. White supremacist militias are a very small, but violent, minority in America. Hatred of America (and Israel) in most Arab countries is rampant.

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, a San Diego State University student overheard some Saudi students at the school praising the attacks in Arabic. He challenged them on it -- and was subsequently censured by the campus for "hate speech." Remember, 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudis.

Are there Arabs out there that are peaceful, America-loving (or at least America-neutral) people? Sure. My contention is that it is much too difficult to separate them from the ones that want to kill Americans.

You can disagree with me, but I think that a ban is a relatively minor step. I'm not talking about locking up every Arab or Muslim in the United States, like we did with the Japanese during World War II. I think that that was wrong then and would be wrong today. But I think it is fiction that most Arabs Muslims are good people. Is that racist? You could argue that it is, but I don't think that they're any less human than whites or blacks or asians. According to the American Heritage Dictionary racism is: "The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others." I don't believe that.

In fact, I pray for the day that many of these Arab countries become functioning democracies that respect the rights of all of their people. I look forward to the day that intelligent, moderate Muslims teach love and respect in the mosques. I hope for the day when Arab government-owned/run papers don't sell papers by inciting hatred.

As a result of my research at the INS, I would revise my ban. The ban would still apply to men from Arab countries aged 18-50, but I think it would be fine to allow them to come in if they had the intention of eventually becoming citizens (as confirmed by a reasonably exhaustive interview.) I would halt the issuance of tourist or student visas since those seem to be how most of the terrorists entered the United States.

And then there was Hauser: According to Hauser I'm the worst sort of person there is. I'm a racist, a bigot and worse -- a conservative.

Hoy advocates discriminating on the basis of an odd (more on that later) combination of ethnicity and nationality. Many bigots stop at bigotry based on only one characteristic -- say, race or orientation. Hoy does them one better. Maybe when he gets truly advanced he can attack another group also (how about instant death for gay Arabs from Arab countries?).

This was funny and ironic. You see, I don't advocate (and never have) " instant death for gay Arabs from Arab countries." However, all of the Arab countries do advocate this. Saudi Arabia beheads them. Headline: "Hoy more tolerant than Arab regimes."

What the hell does "from an Arab nation" mean? During law school I was friendly with a classmate who had spent substantial chunks of his youth in Saudi Arabia as the son of a Western businessman. Would he count as someone "from an Arab nation?"

Everyone knows what I mean, including Hauser. This is called a "word game." That depends on what the meaning of "is" is. I grew out of this phase in high school.

And what of the retaliation by those countries against Americans there? Before expulsion, isn't it likely that thousands will be taking [sic] hostage, ala 1979???? (more re Iran below)

Wow! I never said anything about kicking anyone out of the country that was already here legally. Hauser's taken what I said and embellished it. As far as hostage-taking goes: maybe. But then that would just further illustrate my point that there's a big difference between the United States and these thugocracies.

"In the end, any benefits from having those men from the Middle East in our nation don't outweigh the risks of another Sept. 11." Yup, because it's not like any of the 9/11 terrorists had visas from, say, EUROPE!!! Can you IMAGINE the international crisis if the US refused to accept visas for Europeans of Arab descent?

So, what does Hoy mean? Is it Arab ethnicity -- which it cannot be or, if he is to allow European Arabs to travel here. It cannot be Arab nationality, unless we wish to incur all the problems laid out above. No, Hoy cannot be serious. But he sures seems to be. Which is scary.

Where their visas were from is irrelevant. It's where they're from. Anyway, the Europeans already look down their noses at us. I don't trust the EU to put take the United States' national security seriously, so my attitude is: who cares what the European intelligentsia thinks.

Hoy indicates absolutely NO awareness that Iran and Afghanistan are NOT ARAB COUNTRIES!!! So an AFGHAN passport would be fine, but not a Jordanian one. . . . And how do we characterize good old Sudan??? Of course, expecting the angrily ignorant Hoy to have wrestled with these issues before posting is, well, too much.

Hauser calls me ignorant because, well, he's got reading comprehension problems -- again. In my original piece I did not address Iran or Afghanistan -- or any other country by name. Because I didn't -- this means that I don't know that Iranians are Persian and not Arab? Well, if it makes Hauser feel better about himself -- fine. I love it.

Let's try this.

In Hauser's piece he shows NO awareness that the North Korean government, part of the axis of evil, is run by godless communists. He's SO ignorant.

Oh. Hauser didn't talk about North Korea in his piece? That's OK, I'm all-knowing -- he didn't know that and I chose to call him on it.


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July 2002



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