I’m Confused

In what Universe can Islamofascism Awareness Week be called “racism”?

Oh, I get that the kids who made the flyer don’t understand want to admit that there’s a distinction between someone decrying the theological/political concept “Islamofascism” and the rather more general issue of someone being “Islamophobic.” But the former is not simply a subset of the latter. And, anyway, Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion — one which happens to be embraced by people of pretty much every racial group.

Even if you were to accept, arguendo, that Islamofascism Awareness Week is an example of Islamophobia,* it isn’t racism. So why even bring that word into it?

UPDATE (James Joyner): I find it amusing, on a variety of levels, that the group in question calls itself “Students for Conservitivo-Fascism Awareness.”


* For the record, I am in agreement with Instapundit Reader Randy Bean: the real “hate speech” here is that directed at YAF.

FILED UNDER: Race and Politics, Religion, Terrorism, ,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.

Comments

  1. rodney dill says:

    Phobia is overused… and so is hysteria. Plus both are usually used incorrectly, often in a derogatory fashion against an opposing viewpoint. Of course I am just probably Phobophobic. (Its really there on the list )

  2. bob in fl says:

    Dodd – And, anyway, Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion — one which happens to be embraced by people of pretty much every racial group.

    Pretty much every race – you said it yourself. The perception of most of us is that Islam is a religion of non-white people. Thus the term racism is appropriate, I would think.

    An0other statement making the rounds: The US has not gone to war against white people since WW II. Again, doesn’t this imply racism on the part of those who support & declare those wars? It does in my mind.

  3. Grewgills says:

    “Islamofascism Awareness Week” was as much about understanding the threat of Islamofascism as opposition to it was about racism. They appear more concerned about the threat of the “academic left” than the threat of “Islamofascism.”

  4. Michael says:

    And, anyway, Islam isn’t a race, it’s a religion

    And most Jews aren’t semitic, but we still call people anti-Semites and racists for hating Jews. American’s have a hard time distinguishing between a religion and the ethnic group that makes up the most public portion of it’s members.

    Likewise most people who have ever used the term “Islamofacism” with a straight face couldn’t distinguish a devout Muslim from an “Islamofacist”, they probably couldn’t even distinguish a devout Hindu from from an “Islamofacist”. They certainly can’t tell the difference between an Indian Muslim, an Arab Muslim, or a Persian Muslim. Or a Sunni from a Shia from a Wahhabist from a Sufi. “They all look the same” isn’t just a racist cliche, it speaks to the nature of racism itself, that is: hate first, justify second.

  5. Dodd says:

    American’s have a hard time distinguishing between a religion and the ethnic group that makes up the most public portion of it’s members

    So, what you’re saying then, is that the kids who made the posters and signed that letter called the YAF “racists” because they themselves can’t distinguish between Islam the religion and Arabs, the most “public” ethnic group associated with Islam?

    The US has not gone to war against white people since WW II. Again, doesn’t this imply racism on the part of those who support & declare those wars? It does in my mind.

    Milošević was a Caucasian. Q.E.D.

  6. Michael says:

    So, what you’re saying then, is that the kids who made the posters and signed that letter called the YAF “racists” because they themselves can’t distinguish between Islam the religion and Arabs, the most “public” ethnic group associated with Islam?

    No, the students who made the poster assumed (possibly correctly, I don’t know) that those hosting “Islamofacism awareness week” were indeed racists, and made satirical posters to emphasize to everyone else how ridiculous the whole “Islamofacism” phobia has become.

  7. Dodd says:

    No, the students who made the poster assumed (possibly correctly, I don’t know) that those hosting “Islamofacism awareness week” were indeed racists

    Which returns us back to the original question. How does the word “racism” even get into this conversation?

    I knew what you meant. What you were really saying is that the kids saw the Islamofascism Awareness campaign and had a knee-jerk reaction to impute, with no other evidence, to the organizers a lack of a ability to distinguish between a particular subset of a religion and an ethnicity associated with the religion as a whole and felt entirely justified in calling the people to whom they’d imputed this ignorance “racists” on that basis alone.

    What I can’t tell is whether that bothers you or not.

  8. Tano says:

    Dodd,

    Why do you assume that the kids had a knee-jerk reaction to impute, with no evidence?

    Perhaps they actually know the people involved. Perhaps they pay attention to the rhetoric. Perhpas they have good reason to feel that those beating the drums about “islamofascism” give evidence of a general distaste, if not hatred of muslims.

    It is the YAF after all, and they do tend to have a rather rabid, insulting, frat-boy mentality…

  9. Dodd says:

    It is the YAF after all, and they do tend to have a rather rabid, insulting, frat-boy mentality

    I think you just answered your own question.

  10. mannning says:

    “They all look the same” isn’t just a racist cliche, it speaks to the nature of racism itself, that is: hate first, justify second.

    Wouldn’t be any different if “they” justified first and hated second, now would it? The outcome is racial group hatred either way. The real sins of a few (the usual justifications)are projected onto the group as a whole, and the group is recognized by the color of skin–undifferentiated. Men do learn to hate from bad experiences that are their basic justifications.

    A blazing AK-47 spraying bullets all around you in the hands of some dark person is a sure-fire hate-producing experience, as is seeing friends blown up by an IED. In which events, one doesn’t even try to identify the sect, tribe, or true race of the shooters or bombers. That matters not. From then on, dark men are suspect, whether you can categorize them or not. That is a big problem in Iraq: identifying the active Islamofascists out of the milling crowds.

  11. Grewgills says:

    Dodd,
    Would you feel better if the YAF had called them bigots rather than racists?
    A lot of people in America today don’t seem to distinguish between these terms.

  12. bob in fl says:

    The US has not gone to war against white people since WW II. Again, doesn’t this imply racism on the part of those who support & declare those wars? It does in my mind.

    Milošević was a Caucasian. Q.E.D.
    Posted by Dodd | October 10, 2007

    OK, you got me – the exception to the rule. You scored a point.

    In what Universe can Islamofascism Awareness Week be called “racism”?

    You asked the question & I see people trying to answer it. I also see you trying to score points. Fine.
    The term is bigotry, maybe, rather than racism. You are right. Just like Jimmy Carter was when he said it wasn’t to the level of genocide in Somalia, just ethnic cleansing. Well, he is right. But one group still is killing thousands from another.

    Seems to me the whole point was to show Islamofascism Awareness Week as a propaganda tool for Islamaphobes. Hmmmmmmm…somehow it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  13. Dodd says:

    Actually, I agree that (again accepting their premises just for the sake of argument) “bigotry” is the correct word. But that wasn’t the word they used. The word they used, “racism,” has a meaning. But, the word “racism” is in danger of being entirely denuded of meaning by such continual abuse. In this particular example, it’s only the tip of the iceberg of ignorance and self-righteous hatefulness.

    I am not just trying to “score” points; I am making one. While some here seem intent upon perpetuating the same imputation of invidious motives (Islamofascism Awareness Week = “propaganda tool for Islamaphobes”) as the purveyors of the poster, I reject their premises. It is entirely possible to decry Islamofascism and not fear, hate, or fail to understand Islam in general. But I see a whole lot of people who claim to understand faraway members of radically different cultures who refuse to even consider trying to understand members of their own culture with whom they disagree. Not to mention the total absence of any evidence that it ever occurred to them that these political opponents might actually just be concerned about what they say they’re concerned about before they leapt to they assumption that hate and fear of an entire ethnic group was behind the event they decided to uncritically (and tastelessly) satirize.

    There seems to be some of that in this thread, too.

  14. Grewgills says:

    Dodd,
    You continue to talk about “Islamofascism Awareness Week” as though its primary purpose was to raise awareness about the threat of “Islamofascism.”
    That is at best its secondary purpose. Its primary purpose is to attack the left and particularly the “academic left.” Read their site and count the references to “Islamofascism” and the “academic left.”
    The right wing group putting on this event were using “Islamofascism” as a blunt instrument to beat the left and professors that they feel to be of the left.
    The YAF probably thought that a considerable number of bigots would be at the events and perhaps felt that bigots were organizing the events, but the purpose of their attack was to use “racism” as a blunt instrument to beat their political enemies.
    Both sides in this dispute are poisoning the well and this should be acknowledged rather than focusing all blame on one or the other.

  15. Grewgills says:

    Sorry, YAF should read SCFA, or whatever the people who made the poster call themselves.

  16. Muslims Against Sharia congratulate David Horowitz FREEDOM CENTER and Mike Adams, Tammy Bruce, Phyllis Chesler, Ann Coulter, Nonie Darwish, Greg Davis, Stephen Gale, David Horowitz, Joe Kaufman, Michael Ledeen, Michael Medved, Alan Nathan, Cyrus Nowrasteh, Daphne Patai, Daniel Pipes, Dennis Prager, Luana Saghieh, Rick Santorum, Jonathan Schanzer, Christina Sommers, Robert Spencer, Brian Sussman, Ed Turzanski, Ibn Warraq and other speakers on the success of the Islamofascism Awareness Week.

    Islamofascism (or Islamism) is the main threat facing modern civilization and ignorance about this threat is astounding. We hope that this event becomes regular and reaches every campus.

    A great many Westerners do not see the clear distinction between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism). They need to understand that the difference between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism) is the same as the difference between Christianity and Christian Identity Movement (White Supremacy Movement).

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