Does Terrorism Have A Race?

When it comes to making assumptions and stereotypes, the majority of Americans take the cake. As we flip through the news stations and hear of a shooting in a rough part of a neighborhood we assume, must be black or maybe even Spanish. If theres a robbery, our minds go straight towards the “degenerate” class of foreign immigrants. When it comes to bombings and local acts of terrorism our minds immediately default to a face of someone who is of Middle Eastern decent. But, are these stereotypes necessarily wrong? Have we as a society earned the right to fall back on these stereotypes because the majority of the time they have proven right? Maybe. Maybe not. However, we must not become lazy in our assumptions and degrade a particular race because of the horrific acts done by a select few. One recent example of racism pervading the minds of the masses was immediately after the bombings that had gone off at the Boston Marathon.

On April 15th, 2013, hundreds, even thousands, of men and women of all ages traveled into the streets of Boston to watch the beloved Boston Marathon. This is generally a day of family fun, beautiful weather, enjoying the scenery, and having a sense of pride in our state’s capital. However, on that beautiful day, not only did the citizens of Boston, but also the people of the United States, experienced chaos and devastation. At 2:49 PM, two pressure-cooker bombs exploded within mere seconds of each other right near the finish line. Chaos ensued when people realized that the explosions were not that of fireworks or controlled rifles by those in the military, but rather, explosives set off in order to inflict harm on those in the area. Hundreds upon hundreds of bystanders fled the scene in order to find some sort of shelter or safety. Those in the military and law enforcement, along with first aid for marathon runners, immediately took action in order to help those who had been injured by the bombings. News reporters were going towards the scene and reporting on what they had seen and any new information as often as they could. What most experienced that day was traumatizing.

In the aftermath of the bombings, we soon realized that 3 innocent bystanders had been killed, two women, 29 and 23, and a young boy who was only 8 years old. Among them, an approximated 264 others had been injured; a number of victims had had their legs blown off by the explosion. Others had shrapnel injuries, burns, etc. With all of this tragedy striking the generally low-key Boston area, there was one question in everyone’s mind. Who had done this to our beloved city?

Once news spread that the bombings were considered to be terrorist attacks, people began to suspect someone of Middle Eastern decent and had connections to groups such as Al Qaeda. Being subject to hearing of the suicide bombings and regular acts of terrorism done in the streets of Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., we have grown accustomed to hearing about the people of this heritage being the culprits. However, the initial suspect had been a “dark skinned or Black person in a hoody”. Investigators, after dropping that claim, had questioned a student in Boston who was of Saudi Arabian decent; this lead was also then dropped. Finally, they had come to the conclusion that those who had planned and acted out the Boston bombings were brothers, Tamerian Tasarnaev and Dzhokhar Tasarnaev, who were of Russian decent.

After hearing that the terrorist attacks had come from foreign yet US citizens, Americans felt the need to give themselves a reassuring pat on the back. Their assumptions had been proven “right” because they were so sure that these attacks could not and were not done by someone who was one of “them”. Not only had we given ourselves this type of gratification, but we also felt the need to use social medias in order to ostracize our race from other foreign races even more.

Twitter, a newly popular social media website, had been bombing the day that the Boston bombings took place. People were mostly tweeting about the news and the recent updates they heard along with some regards to the families who had been affected. They had sent tweets out to those they knew were attending the race, along with those who lived on the outskirts of Boston. Many of these tweets were followed by a hashtag, #BostonStrong, a tag showing the pride that we as a community share for our beloved city. Yet, with this demonstration of love and affection, there were also tweets that showed the complete opposite, hatred, racial discrimination, and arrogance. Below is a link to the top 10 most racially tweeted things during that day, most of them quite appalling to read.

After reading some of these tweets, the most prominent question that came into my head was, are we as a society moving away from racism or is it only getting even more deeply embedded into our blood, so much so that we refuse to accept anything different? Are we so stuck to our racist ideologies that we refuse to look at people for who they are, not how certain people of their race act? We have become to bogged down in immigration, foreign affairs, and the faces of those we are fighting a war with, that we lose our sense of humanity towards one another. This has become most vivid throughout our social networking sites; these places where hatred flourishes and racial slurs are not only accepted, but promoted. As a highly educated and “accepting” country, we need to start questioning this pressing issue of whether or not racism is still highly relevant and if so, how can we stop ourselves and future generations from promoting this type of hatred and ill acception.