I found an interesting article that nicely follows up what I wrote about bigotry against Muslims creeping from the fringe to the mainstream. It is based on a study published in the American Sociological Review, written by Christopher Bail, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina.
The media bias has shaped seemingly unshakable opinions from the dinner table to social media, such that Muslims speaking out against extremism are seen to be exceptions instead of the rule. But it works both ways — the result of our society’s response to terrorism is only feeding the fire. Bail says,
The rising tide of anti-Muslim sentiment in the American media not only tests foundational principles about religious tolerance, but may also validate foreign extremists who argue that the United States is at war with Islam, since American media messages routinely travel to the Middle East.
What is concerning to me is the amount of control handed over to these extremists, perhaps beginning with bigot blogger Pamela Geller appearing as an “authority” on Islam on local major news affiliates during the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy — one that she almost single-handedly fabricated herself. Bail writes,
These fringe organizations are now so much a part of the mainstream that they have been able to recast genuinely mainstream Muslim organizations as radicals.
To editorialize a bit, I will just say that America has a choice — to be sheep that become wolves, or stop deciding what is right and wrong based on a popular sentiment moulded by the media and those who can manipulate it best. Bigotry doesn’t depend on the crowd you keep thinking this or that group is okay or not okay to engage with hate speech. It’s still hate speech, and it’s still bigotry.