In anticipation of some upcoming travel and stimulated by Sidney Rittenberg’s mention of the British strategy of “muddling through” in India, yesterday I had a short dream. Standing on some kind of tarmac, I was among a group of travelers; the weather was dry, and a wind swished among us, unsettling our caps.
Then some functionary arrived (perhaps I was in India), making giant motions with his two hands and arms above his head, pushing half of us from the other half. “Muslims!” he stated, just one word, but so clearly (and because it was a dream, he simultaneously said “Musselmans”).
I watched as my fellow travelers moved off to the side. No one said anything. The wind continued to push through our now-haggard ranks. And then I woke up to the blue/green/grey rain of Puget Sound.
The reason I share the image of this non-academic episode, is that it made me wonder just how far we have actually gone under Obama’s administration toward eliminating such things as racial/religious profiling, much less rooting out soft toleration among we, the public, of anti-Islamic feeling and practice. Perhaps the President is content with a few broad statements in Ankara without talking to the American people about equality or prejudice?
This gets to an issue near and dear to my heart and that of my 单位: complicity.
In other words, very little resistance is currently being offered against state security policies toward Muslims (and among this population, the target most often seems to be South Asians, southwest Asians, and north and east Africans). Thus, is anti-Islamic sentiment really defused? And does such sentiment continue to function as an implicit war mobilization tactic? And, most ominously, is it an implement that can be picked up and wielded again, in the modified style of George W. Bush, by a future President?
I have been selected for “special screening” by Department of Homeland Security but once in my many travels in the past several years. Perhaps it was because I was traveling with a companion of captivating looks and Chinese nationality who might, to an untrained eye, be Uighur ?
We had a nice chat that day and were on our way. But I think such screenings are more regular for some other friends of mine.
And of late, I have seen several gleaming new white SUVs from DHS driving around on the I-5 and in Chinatown in Seattle. That’s just dandy, but I wonder what kind of wonders the Department of Homeland Security [美国祖国安全部, or was it Motherland Security?] budget could do if it were all routed to Afghan farmers who don’t travel in airports.