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As I read this article, I could not believe I was reading such racist venom in this day and age. It reminded me of the man who killed the Sikh fellow in the turban after 9/11.
The author of the article is the same ethnicity as I am -- she's Jewish. One kind of Semite hating another kind. In addition to being racist, the article is religionist, calling Islam a "pan-terrorist religion".
The title, starting with "Muslim Arabs Whine:", jerked my neck around. She calls a request for their own census category "whining"? And describes this as a "sob story"?
Schlussel libels Arab-Americans, particularly those of Islamic faith, by claiming that they "lie, exaggerate, and falsify forms to overcount their population in order to get government cash", and states that "It's bad enough that the U.S. Census Bureau pays" them to be census takers.
As for the post-9/11 years, with rampant antipathy towards Arab-, Afghan- and Persian-Americans in the United States, Schlussel writes: "The last ten years in America have been the best for Muslim Arabs (the Arabs whining for a Census category) of any decade in history. They've had two Presidents, from both major parties, kiss their asses, increase their immigration to America, and give in to their every whim. Stop editorializing, Niraj Warikoo". So Warikoo is the one who's editorializing?
The author quotes a Middle Eastern girl who says "That's just weird to me" at the prospect of being classified as White, and distorts the meaning of this quote thusly: "Translation = Muslim Arabs: 'Whites are weird.'"
When she discusses the fear many Arab-Americans have that identification on the U.S. Census will lead to something similar to Japanese-American internment during World War II, Schlussel responds snarkily: "Fear? PUH-LEEZE. If only. DHS probably used the info to determine how many falafel balls to order for the Ramadan Iftar dinner or how many asses to kiss at the affirmative action Muslim agent pandering, recruitment, and infiltration party."
But the paragraph that hurt me the most was the following paragraph:
This is all about multi-culturalism and the refusal to be absorbed into American society. For centuries and to date, many groups did not see Jews as White and treated us differently. Did we demand a separate U.S. Census racial or ethnic category? No.
I am Jewish, and do not consider myself White. When the 2010 census was passed around my group home, I checked off the "Other" box and wrote in "Semitic". My people originated in the Middle East, making peripatetic excursions around Europe and the erstwhile Russia/Soviet Union. Our closest relatives, by DNA, are the Kurds, and we have the same coloring as other non-Islamic people who originated in the Levant: Syrians, Lebanese and Copts. I don't consider Finns, Estonians, Saami or Gypsies/Roma/Romani/Tziganes to be White either, the first three originating in Central Asia and the last in India.
It pisses me off that the U.S. Census Bureau will not keep track of people who mark their ethnicity as Jewish on the race question or on the ancestry question. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Jews are a religion only, not an ethnicity.
Tell me this, if Jews aren't an ethnic group, then why are Jewish surnames used by Jews from Germany, Russia, Hungary, Israel and Egypt alike? Cohen, Levine, Landau, Katz, Feldman, Goldstein and Benatar are obviously Jewish names; there's no such thing as a Catholic surname or a Buddhist surname. If Jews aren't an ethnic group, why do we share common DNA (people from centuries-long Jewish families, that is, not converts to the religion only like Whoopi Goldberg and Sammy Davis, Jr.)? Why are we next to the Kurds on the human family tree of Cavalli & Sforza, instead of German Jews being genetically indistinguishable from Germans, Russian Jews being genetically indistinguishable from Russians, Sephardim being genetically indistinguishable from Spaniards and Portuguese, etc.? Why do Jews share trends in fingerprints across the globe even after centuries of diaspora and interbreeding?
I have light, gold-colored skin, with straight dark brown hair, red beard and almond-shaped hazel eyes, and when I was a teen-ager I had freckles. My nose is not of the Semitic type, but looks like a pretty generic White person's nose. I am grossly underweight, not the "zaftig" type associated with Jews. As a result, a lot of the time I get mistaken for White (or sometimes Asian, Eurasian or Hispanic). The European features come from the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian and German admixture, but the underlying Semitic framework is still there (and manifests itself in my dark hair and almond-shaped eyes), and the Middle Eastern blood is in my DNA, which is what's really important when classifying race. There was a boy at my high school named Phil Nahas, who was Lebanese and had brown hair, blue eyes, freckles and light skin. He looked White, but he was Lebanese, so he wasn't.
Yes, Ms. Schlussel, I want my own racial category on the census. And if that's whining, I'm as whiny as Cobainian grunge.
I am also disturbed by her subalterning of multiculturalism to being "absorbed into American society". Apparently, immigrants and ethnic minorities are supposed to assimilate to Mainstream American Culture. This means Arab-Americans can't deliberately burp to show appreciation of a meal anymore. This means Hispanic-Americans can't consider a girl to have come of age when she turns 15 anymore. This means Rastafarian Jamaican-Americans can't smoke pot anymore. This means French-Americans can't drink wine before their twenty-first birthday anymore. This means Anglo-Indian-Americans can't eat goat fetus anymore. This means Mormons can't practice polygamy anymore. This means Navajo males can't wear their hair long anymore. This means Pirahã-Americans can't go naked anymore. In many ways becoming a Mainstream American is a worsening of one's valuing of personal freedom. Even though I was born in America (my great-grandparents immigrated from the Ukraine when it was part of Russia), I could never assimilate, i.e. become a "Mainstream" American. I wear long hair, I have a neckbeard, I wear sunglasses all the time (except when I'm sleeping), I hate showering, I wear the same clothes for days on end, I never dress up, I don't eat turkey and mxshed potatoes at Thanksgiving, I don't put up a tree at Christmas, I don't salute the American flag nor stand for the pledge, I purge, I speak in a loud voice in public and often yell or scream, I would sit on the floor next to my desk in high school, I sing to myself in public, I lust after both males and females, I oppose ageist restrictions on teens' behavior (and broke many when I was under 21), I do not hold the belief that minors must always obey their parents, I'll never fall into the straight-and-narrow get-married-and-have-kids route, I don't aim to fulfill a masculine social role as a family protector, I don't focus on career, I'm willing to share a restroom with another male even if there's no stall, I don't aspire to an American Dream with a white picket fence, I don't get offended when I see a naked person or topless woman in public, and the list goes on. The "You must assimilate!" meme is social conformism at its purest.
I have a good friend who's an Arab from Yemen. I don't hate him just because there have been decades of Arab-Jewish conflict, but apparently Debbie Schlussel believes that ZOMG THE ARABS ARE GOING TO PULL ANOTHER 9/11 AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL IS UNDER THREAT AND ONLY THE PROTESTOR-HATING, BUSHLICKING NEOCONS WILL SAVE US!