Monday, April 22, 2013

Just a Kid (Who Murdered Some People)

tw:  bombing, shooting, racism, Islamophobia

Today I read the letter "Dear Dzhokhar, I Can't Hate You" and something immediately struck me as I processed the reasoning behind it.  Something that makes me kind of sick.

It's like this, I understand that you're feeling the Christian spirit in the wake of this tragedy.  I know that I shouldn't say anything about your relationship to the Boston Bombing because your family was actually involved in the incident and I was not.


when you write a letter about how you cannot hate Dzhokhar Tsarnaev because he's "just a kid," I can't help but remember that Trayvon Martin was just a kid.  He literally did nothing to warrant his fatal gunshots- he certainly didn't set off bombs that killed and injured people- yet he is still referred to as a "thug" every single day.

So, I'm not trying to invalidate your spirit of forgiveness, but I honestly wonder if you would still pray for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev if he looked like this

instead of this

Because I doubt it.  But my goal here is not to attack anyone's faith or coping mechanisms.  My goal is to understand why someone who sets off a bomb at a major sporting event gets referred to as "a kid" while an unarmed teenager who gets gunned down for walking home from a corner store gets referred to as "a dangerous thug who needed to be put down like a rabid dog."

But of course, I already understand before I even pose the question.

And, of course, it doesn't just end there.  It could never just end with the simple and uncomplicated issue of racism, because Tsarnaev is a Muslim, you see, and he was not born in the United States.  That's why this issue is of national importance and why the words "enemy combatant" were even uttered.  That's why, in his letter, Rev. Mr. Michael Rogers felt the need to tie the bombing in with Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

It seems that in this mad rush to link Tsarnaev's actions to Islamic terrorism, everyone seems to be forgetting one very important detail.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a fucking U.S. citizen.

He was not born here but he gained citizenship.  And even though he used bombs and not a gun, his attack is more like the Columbine or Newtown shootings than 9/11.  But we have trouble recognizing the fact that White American Christians instill terror in us as well in this country.  So the media will align Tsarnaev with other Muslims who we view as great national threats rather than acknowledge that this is strictly a domestic problem.

I'm glad that the people this incident has touched are finding positive ways to deal with the tragedy, but there are still so many issues and tensions here that have yet to be resolved.

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