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Ignorant Americans people


by Al-Hack on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:10 pm    

The day after the stabbing of a Santa Clara grandfather left South Bay Sikhs reeling, prosecutors are weighing hate crime and attempted murder charges against his neighbor, who apparently believed the man belonged to the Taliban.

Iqbal Singh, 40, was waiting in his carport with his 2-year-old granddaughter around 10:50 a.m. Sunday when the suspect approached him and stabbed him in the neck with a steak knife, Santa Clara police Sgt. Kurt Clarke said. Singh was still in the hospital Monday with serious injuries. The girl was unhurt.

There are indications that Thompson, who may suffer from mental illness, believed Singh was a member of the Taliban, officials said Monday. Singh is not.

From Mercury News courtesy of Sepia Mutiny.
This brings up that old chestnut don’t it. It is right for Sikhs to declare “We are not Muslims”? Or, are they making this into a faith crime when the man was just mentally ill?



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40 Comments   |  


  1. ky — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:15 pm  

    IF the attacker suffered from mental difficulties how does that equate to ignorant American?
    Me thinks the one being ignorant is you.

  2. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:29 pm  

    It is right for Sikhs to declare “We are not Muslims”?

    I quite despise that argument the odd person brings up but hey :P

    I agree with KY though, it doesnt equate to Ignorant Americans. It equates to Ignorance.
    I’ve seen comments folks make in Britian equating anyone with a turban to be a taliban etc.

  3. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:33 pm  

    ^^I really despise this icon too :P

    urgh : P

  4. Sunny — on 2nd August, 2006 at 1:39 pm  

    I think the headline was a bit misleading too, so I’ve changed it.

    This is sickening, but I’m curious as to what evidence is there to make it a faith-hate crime.

  5. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 2nd August, 2006 at 2:36 pm  

    Psychotic American Person would have been a less prejudicial and more accurate title.

    TFI

  6. sonia — on 2nd August, 2006 at 2:59 pm  

    oh well one could declare one isn’t a terrorist but is that going to protect against someone who wants to think you are?

  7. Leon — on 2nd August, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    I think the headline was a bit misleading too, so I’ve changed it.

    I was going to say, headlines like that are sure to invoke the wrath of Eustonites claiming as yet more evidence of the anti-americanism that has utterly consumed every part of the left!

    *wanders off to randomly hate americans with idiotic zeal*

  8. Kismet Hardy — on 2nd August, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

    Why isn’t there such a term as the American Empire? They seem to control most of the world. Is it because they’re no good at cricket?

  9. mary — on 2nd August, 2006 at 4:32 pm  

    Incidentally I live in the south bay right now ie San Jose, CA and the ignorance here is nothing you can comprehend until you actually live in the US. Fremont is a very indian/pakistani area and despite that people know nothing about the different faiths and cultures. I spoke to a NBC local news producer and he said that people in this area dont want to know about news in other parts of the bay area, forget other parts of the US. That to me says it all. Theres only one thing on any americans mind. Mass consumerism and which translates to their way of living as the right way of living.

  10. El Cid — on 2nd August, 2006 at 4:47 pm  

    that’s right, sofas equal happiness

  11. Jag — on 2nd August, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    Did you ever wonder if the person claimed insanity after the incident to help lighten his sentence? Americans are way more ignorant compared to the Brits!

  12. sonia — on 2nd August, 2006 at 5:25 pm  

    what generally ? there are plenty of ignorant people all over the world.
    hmm this is starting to get into the generalizations. - and fodder for the Eustonites as Leon said. has the title been changed? doesn’t the crossed-through thing look like that’s really what we’d rather say :-) also perhaps ignorant person - in this case - rather than people.

  13. sk — on 2nd August, 2006 at 6:47 pm  

    it may not be right for sikhs to say “we’re not muslims” but i think it is right to not want to be associated with the taliban… there is a difference.

    mental illness may be the reason why this man did it, but the process of getting to this point and being in that mental state was quite clearly driven by hate.

  14. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 2nd August, 2006 at 6:59 pm  

    SK, watch this:

    “I’m not American”
    “I’m not French”
    “I’m not Hindu”
    “I’m not Arab”
    “I’m not a green alien from the planet Zarg”
    “I am European”
    “I am English”
    “I am white”

    I think that it is fine for my to say all these things because they are true. Therefore it is fine for a Sikhs to say they aren’t Muslim, because they are not Muslim.

    It would be wrong to say: “I’m not a Sikh” because that would be a lie.

    To say: “it may not be right for sikhs to say “we’re not muslims” is political correctness gone mad!

    Better to tell the truth and then perphaps “Ignorant” Americans might become more informed and less ignorant.

    TFI

  15. Roger — on 2nd August, 2006 at 7:03 pm  

    ould it be any less mad or any less of a hate crime to stab a muslim?

  16. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 2nd August, 2006 at 7:36 pm  

    mary,

    I lived in the Bay and loved it.

  17. mirax — on 2nd August, 2006 at 8:38 pm  

    >>It is right for Sikhs to declare “We are not Muslims”?

    I cannot believe this is posed as a serious question and that two posters actually were woolly minded enough to declare that it is wrong for Sikhs to declare the manifest truth.
    They are indeed *not* Muslims as TFI points out. Please.

    As for the crime it may or may not be hate based; why speculate on how genuine the killer’s mental illness may be when not a single one of us is in a position to determine the truth of that? Aint that what courts are for?

    The headline is sneaky; either delete properly or stick with your generalisation.

  18. Refresh — on 2nd August, 2006 at 9:39 pm  

    Mirax, you’re right of course, no harm in telling people no I am not a Muslim I am Sikh. None whatsoever. It has the effect of letting that person know that he’d got it wrong ( probably. again). But the downside is that he/she then begins to be a bit more discerning. And does find the right target.

    What then?

    The truth, sadly, could well be that by volunteering that you are not a Muslim (in this example), is to reinforce the bigotry and racism of the protagonist.

    And it reinforces the idea of thought being a crime.

    I would argue you are the one being woolly-minded. In fact I would say that this type of thinking is disturbed and definitely not progressive.

  19. fotzepolitic — on 2nd August, 2006 at 10:47 pm  

    I spoke to a NBC local news producer and he said that people in this area dont want to know about news in other parts of the bay area, forget other parts of the US. That to me says it all. Theres only one thing on any americans mind.

    Uuuuuuggghhhh, I’m SO sick of this stuff. Like Londoners care what happens in Yorkshire! The Brits make it a national pastime to holiday in other European countries (the geographical equivalent of us going to a neighboring state, bar the language difference), get drunk and make asses of themselves, and somehow us Americans have cornered the market on being ignorant and obnoxious? Let’s put this into perspective — ALL OF THE UK FITS INTO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. Think about how much news you worry about that doesn’t directly affect you, and then turn around and abuse Americans.

    The Bay Area is typically MORE sensitive to Asian issues, because there are so many of them there. Big urban areas in the U.S. are generally like London — full of immigrants, the occasional arsehole or race crime, but otherwise everyone too concerned with their own job or commute or life to worry about other peoples’ stuff. I lived in the SF Bay Area for 4 years. Yes, I was more immediately concerned with things in the area where I lived, rather than the domesticated quiet suburbs (where Asian immigrants congregate). The Bay Area is about 100 miles from top to bottom, and covers a few bodies of water. Pray tell, exactly how many things should we all be focused on at any given time? Don’t confuse urbanites’ self-absorption and being overwhelmed by an information society with being actively racist. Most people don’t CARE, they just want to be able to pay their rent. I find the same is true here in London. You know?

  20. BevanKieran — on 2nd August, 2006 at 10:57 pm  

    When I was at school and someone called me a Paki I didn’t say, “Well, actually, my parents are from Fiji”. I have to agree with Refresh here, if someone insults me for being any religion or race, then I’d probably take them on, depending on height and weight, numbers of people involved and nearest exit etc.

  21. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 2nd August, 2006 at 11:57 pm  

    BevanKieran, Refresh you can still take them on and tell the truth.

    Let me try it: “I am not Muslim.”

    Besides being a Muslim is an optional thing, you can stop being one if you choose.

    TFI

  22. Ravi Naik — on 3rd August, 2006 at 12:37 am  

    “I cannot believe this is posed as a serious question and that two posters actually were woolly minded enough to declare that it is wrong for Sikhs to declare the manifest truth.”

    I agree with Refresh. If your motivation for claiming you are not a muslim is so people don’t think you are a terrorist… then what you are basically saying is that a terrorist must be a muslim. And you don’t even have to know what modus tollens is to realise that.

  23. Sunny — on 3rd August, 2006 at 2:28 am  

    TFI - It’s not about political correctness. Solidarity in times of bigotry is absolutely necessary. I’m just aware of Sikhs who will go around saying - “look we’re Sikhs, not Muslims, they are the ones causing the trouble and the ones you should attack not us”. The problem with that reasoning is of course that bigots will hate anyone different and will find any excuse. So it doesn’t help. I think that’s what Al-Hack was getting at.

  24. Desi Italiana — on 3rd August, 2006 at 4:55 am  

    What’s up with the title “Ignorant Americans” crossed out with “People”? Don’t tell me blogs now bow to sensationalist titles to grab attention? :) As Sonia rightfully points as, ignorant people exist everywhere. How about the race riots between white Brits and South Asian Brits? It wouldn’t be ok to say “Ignorant Brits”…

    “It is right for Sikhs to declare “We are not Muslims”?”

    The following is my own personal reaction: I’ve been called ugly things, both pre 9/11 (one dude at the movie theater said “go home, Arab bitch”) and post 9/11. I’ve been mistaken for being Muslim, Arab, and so on. Despite the fact that I’m Hindu, I don’t offer this information. Why should I? If I WERE Muslim and/or Arab, that gives no one the right to make racist comments to me, threaten violence or whatnot. If I say, ‘Hey, you’re making a mistake, doofus! I’m Hindu!”, to me it sounds like I’m sanctioning the other logic that says, ” On the other hand, if I were Muslim then it would be understandable (9-11) that someone would say that to me.”

    Of course, this is my own reaction. I certainly understand when a Sikh states that they are not Muslim, for the sake of calling to attention the fact that Sikhs and Muslims are not the same. This is analogous to my own experienc when people who don’t know anything about the Arab World and South Asia and think that it’s the same thing, and I tell them that it is NOT the same thing. However, when it comes to hate crimes and racism, it’s besides the point whether I’m Arab or Muslim. Because the truth is, that racism towards Arabs today could easily be turned to, say, Indians of Hindu background, tomorrow (and there has been hate crimes against Hindus in the US).

    The problem isn’t anti Muslim racism; the problem is racism of any kind, period.

  25. Desi Italiana — on 3rd August, 2006 at 4:56 am  

    Anyway, I’m from Cali and I also lived in the Bay Area for 5 years. I have to disagree with Fotzepolitic:

    “The Bay Area is typically MORE sensitive to Asian issues, because there are so many of them there.”

    Not in my experience. Suprisingly, I have heard— gasp— very racist comments from folks who are from Berkeley, of all places. Just because there are so many Asians doesn’t automatically mean that the Bay Area is sensitive to Asian issues. This cause and effect logic isn’t applicable in many other cases. I am from Southern California, and there are many, many Latin Americans (mostly Mexicans) but that doesn’t do a whole lot to change racist attitudes on the part of whites. If anything, it exacerbated racism and channeled it into white supremacy. I don’t think it’s a suprise that the California Nazi headquarters was located not too far from where I grew up.

    This is not to say that the Bay Area is like the part of Southern California where I grew up. But I also think that a certain level of racism does exist.

    BTW, people seem to think that California is the most open, “liberal” state in the US. Not true. I have encountered more racism in the Cali than in the Midwest, which along with the South is stereotyped as racist. What is decieving about California is that it is “liberal”, and most (not all) people are obsessed with “politically correct” double speak. But it’s usually the “politically correct” people who, when you peel away the layers of PC Talk, that you discover they are essentially saying racist things. IMO.

    (Not saying that I hate California or anything. I love Cali, most of all SF. I leave with Tupac’s memorable homage to California… “California Love”)

  26. fotzepolitic — on 3rd August, 2006 at 8:27 am  

    We’ll just agree to disagree, then. :) I have seen and heard of FAR more racism directed to Asians in the UK than any brown person I know in the U.S. Not that it doesn’t exist, but my perception (and that of my brown American friends who have visited London) is that it’s way worse here. The brown people in the Bay Area are mostly either programmers on temporary H1B visas down in the South Bay, or highly-educated and wealthy families out in the ‘burbs. It’s hard for me to believe that Berkleyites would get more upset about them than about the black and Latino gangs and crime down the street in Oakland. But yes, the only liberal parts of California are the coastal urban areas — inland is total Schwarzenegger land. :) That said, I’m from the midwest, and I’d much rather live in “PC” California than in a place where they’re proudly and openly homophobic, racist, Bible-thumping, etc.

  27. sonia — on 3rd August, 2006 at 10:40 am  

    TFI - To say: “it may not be right for sikhs to say “we’re not muslims” is political correctness gone mad!

    Obviously! i guess that sorts it for the non-muslims but then it comes to well what would the muslims say > im not a muslim? well you could if you wanted to. but in any case the bottom line is that people have conflated muslims with terrorists - so it comes down to -

    ‘im not a muslim - even if i were, would that make me a terrorist?’

    or

    “i’m a muslim
    and not necessarily a terrorist - Duh..”

    makes for a good t-shirt - and could have sth like POLIZEI on the front..

  28. don — on 3rd August, 2006 at 11:09 am  

    Conversley, there are times and places where Canadians find it expedient to point out that they are not American, often with a large visual emblem.

  29. sonia — on 3rd August, 2006 at 11:38 am  

    yep good point don.

  30. Desi Italiana — on 3rd August, 2006 at 6:01 pm  

    “I’d much rather live in “PC” California than in a place where they’re proudly and openly homophobic, racist, Bible-thumping, etc. ”

    Even if beneath the veneer of PC the racism is still the same? There are all kinds of variants of racism, some masked, some blatant; but that doesn’t mean that racism isn’t there. And when there are riots in Cali, like the Rodney Kings riots, you saw “liberal” priniciples being shed and people’s REAL thoughts and feelings came out. Same for where I grew up- the hate crimes against all that were not white was unbelievable.

    And yes, even in SF, including Berkeley, there is racism. I’ve had first hand experience with it. This came out particularly during the controversy and debate over affirmative action.

    “The brown people in the Bay Area are mostly either programmers on temporary H1B visas down in the South Bay, or highly-educated and wealthy families out in the ‘burbs. It’s hard for me to believe that Berkleyites would get more upset about them than about the black and Latino gangs and crime down the street in Oakland.”

    Er…. do you want to disentangle this? Black and Latino gangs and crime vs. Indian highly educated H1B visas software engineers?? From my own personal experience, this didn’t make much of a difference for the white “Berkeleyites” as you put it. For them, we were all the same- not white.

    “But yes, the only liberal parts of California are the coastal urban areas”

    There are plenty of Californians who are “proudly and openly homophobic, racist, Bible thumping”, etc. Just go to Orange County. Also, Orange County is a coastal area. Like I said, the California Nazi Headquarters was in Newport Beach.

    Personally, I prefer straight out racism rather than sugar coated racism. But that’s just me.

  31. Ravi Naik — on 3rd August, 2006 at 6:29 pm  

    “And yes, even in SF, including Berkeley, there is racism. I’ve had first hand experience with it. This came out particularly during the controversy and debate over affirmative action.”

    I am not sure how you discern people in terms of how racists they are, specially when you claim that people in California are mostly PC. Your example about a guy who told you to go back home is a clear-and-cut case, but what about other cases? I sure hope that you and other desis don’t get that kind of abuse in the US on daily basis.

    It’s also curious that you mention affirmative action. In what camp were the ‘racists’? In those that support it or those that don’t?

    “Personally, I prefer straight out racism rather than sugar coated racism. But that’s just me.”

    I don’t. I rather people keep their prejudices to themselves, specially if I don’t know them. That is a sign of respect that one expects from a civilised person, IMHO.

  32. Gibs — on 3rd August, 2006 at 8:20 pm  

    If someone believes that by declaring that he/she isn’t a muslim will make things “easier” for them - then I don’t see what’s inherently wrong about doing it.

    Granted that it will make no difference at all to those people who are racist bigots - who are likely to attack someone because of the colour of the skin - be it brown, black or yellow.

    However, it may make a difference against people who, despite being generally open minded, are nevertheless, slightly “wary” about muslims in the light of world events over the last 5 years.

    There are many people in this country who would be completely relaxed about the prospect of a Chinese/black/Mexican or gay person moving next door - but would be slightly troubled about a muslim moving next door (possibly because he/she perceives muslims to be narrow minded themselves). Again, the blame for this lies in recent events both at home and abroad.

    Given the circumstances, what would then be wrong for a brown person moving into a neighbourhood making it clear to his neighbours that he wasn’t a muslim ? (if saying so were to put their minds at ease ?)

  33. Desi Italiana — on 3rd August, 2006 at 9:03 pm  

    Hello Ravi Naik,

    “I am not sure how you discern people in terms of how racists they are, specially when you claim that people in California are mostly PC.”

    As I indicated in my post, people use PC language but in volatile situations, a lot of pent up hatred comes out. Post 9/11, there were many cases of violence against Sikhs in Northern California. Furthermore, in some instances, if you listen carefully to what people say, behind the PC language there are sentiments that I find pretty racist (can’t think of specific examples). But it is entirely plausible that it’s because I’m sensitive (I have been traumatized by the racism and hate crimes that I experienced during my childhood. In So Cal.).

    Also, I have noticed that for as long as I can remember, a lot of people openly state their racism to me. So at Berkeley, I was told by an elderly gentlemen at the swimming pool that the “damn Jews are taking over” because one of the university’s buildings was named after the Jewish person who had donated money. Other times white people candidly disclose to me their hatred for ’sand ni—-” (Arabs), “wetbacks” (Mexicans). One man I met, whose grandfather had been in the LAPD (Los Angeles Police) said that he needed to finish the work of this grandfather and “get rid of all those n*’s” in LA. I have no idea why whites in California speak so bluntly and without inhibition of their racism to me; clearly I’m not white.

    “It’s also curious that you mention affirmative action. In what camp were the ‘racists’? In those that support it or those that don’t? ”

    My goodness, here on PP people love to draw all sorts of conclusions from people’s comments, looking for a fight :) (myself included). To be clear, I wasn’t saying that those who were against affirmative action were racist. I wasn’t singling out affirmative action. I was pointing out how racist sentiments come out during certain situations, like the Rodney King riots that I also mentioned in my post. During the affirmative action debates, I also heard many remarks that I found racist. For example, I was told by a white lady that all the “ni@g#ers” with “black” skin will be able to get really good jobs without having the talent or intelligence. Then, she looked at me (I’m pretty ‘brown’) and said, “You can get into a good school, too. You don’t have to have the grades, either.” I asked her to elaborate and she replied, “Well, it’s because your skin is brown. It’s good for you that affirmative action exists.” Okay, despite the fact that according to the legislation at the time, only certain minorities were applicable for A.A. (certain Asians were not, ie East Indians and East Asians; Southeast Asians were, on the other hand, because many come from refugee families). But I didn’t tell her this. She was born and raised in Berkeley; she lived through all of the protests and movements of the 60’s and 70’s. Her husband, who was my friend, was the opposite of her.

    “I don’t. I rather people keep their prejudices to themselves, specially if I don’t know them. That is a sign of respect that one expects from a civilised person, IMHO.”

    A person who is civilized doesn’t have any prejudices to cover up to begin with :) A “sign of respect” that I expect from a “civilized person” is not judging me and making conclusions about who I am based on my ethnicity and religion. Especially if they don’t know me.

  34. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 3rd August, 2006 at 11:13 pm  

    Gibs,

    “There are many people in this country who would be completely relaxed about the prospect of a Chinese/black/Mexican or gay person moving next door - but would be slightly troubled about a muslim moving next door (possibly because he/she perceives muslims to be narrow minded themselves). Again, the blame for this lies in recent events both at home and abroad.”

    History certainly doesnt bare that out. Many people historical in America have moved out of a particular place because blacks or Mexicans, especially blacks moved into the area. Fact of the matter is, Muslims, foriegn born Muslims, generally live in more upper middle class neighborhoods and not ghettos like many blacks and mexicans do. Rather poor people live in ghettos and foriegn born Muslims arent poor.

    “Given the circumstances, what would then be wrong for a brown person moving into a neighbourhood making it clear to his neighbours that he wasn’t a muslim ? (if saying so were to put their minds at ease ?)”

    They certainly dont have a legal obligation nor do they have a moral or social obligation to do so, anymore than a black person has to notify his neighbors that he/she isnt a member of the bloods or the crips.

    I know you dont want to sound like a jerk so maybe you should move along to the next topic.

  35. Ravi Naik — on 4th August, 2006 at 12:26 am  

    “A person who is civilized doesn’t have any prejudices to cover up to begin with :) A “sign of respect” that I expect from a “civilized person” is not judging me and making conclusions about who I am based on my ethnicity and religion. Especially if they don’t know me.”

    Everyone has prejudices. We tend to assume certain characteristics based on our past experiences. This is part of our survival instincts. If a person’s experience with brown folk is a limited one and a bad one, then I cannot expect that that person will not be prejudiced when he/she meets me. What I expect is that I be treated with respect and not contempt despite whatever experience this person had before. And hopefully this person with time will have a rather less monolithic view of our people.

    That’s why I tend to tip a bit extra in restaurants and cabs. You just want to make it easy for the next guy.

  36. Ravi Naik — on 4th August, 2006 at 12:42 am  

    Given the circumstances, what would then be wrong for a brown person moving into a neighbourhood making it clear to his neighbours that he wasn’t a muslim ? (if saying so were to put their minds at ease ?)

    After 7/7, I was mortified with the prospect of people thinking I was a terrorist since I travel everyday by tube. My mom even told me to wear a cross - as we are christians - so people didn’t think I was a muslim. But I never had the heart to do it. Nor did I stop sitting next to a chinese who was clearly isolated by everyone in the airport when the SARS thing broke down. You know why?

    Because we can all be victims of fear and stereotyping, and in those times, I rather be wearing their shoes, rather than the bigots’.

  37. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 4th August, 2006 at 3:02 am  

    Ravi Naik,

    An even worse scenario is Muslims cutting their beards off or not wearing hijab so they can be viewed as moderate. For their efforts I hope they… nevermind, I pray for them knwoledge and love for thier religion.

  38. funkg — on 4th August, 2006 at 5:05 pm  

    can we stop all this assumption that muslim equates to asian or arab? fair enuff in uk plenty of muslims are asians but im in marrakech right now and im seeing all colours under the sun of muslims.

  39. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 4th August, 2006 at 8:54 pm  

    funkg,

    Hope you are having a great time. I hope to spend my Eid in Morrocco. I just need to find some friends to accompany me.

  40. Robert — on 13th August, 2006 at 9:08 pm  

    It is going to get much WORSE, so be prepared.. I guess you didn’t get the memo, brown is the new black

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