Stephen C. WebsterApril 23, 2012.
Ann Coulter. (Note the cross around her neck. Some religious
symbols are obviously created more equal than others.)
Appearing on Fox News Republican talk show “Hannity” Monday night, right-wing columnist Ann Coulter said she’s sad that not only does she think the Boston bombing should shut down the nation’s immigration reform debate, she would like to see the alleged bomber’s widow in jail too, not for committing a crime but for “wearing a hijab.”Read the rest here.
“I don’t care if she knew about this,” Coulter said. “She ought to be in prison for wearing a hijab. This immigration policy of us, you know, assimilating immigrants into our culture isn’t really working. They’re assimilating us into their culture. Did she get a clitorectomy too?”
Hannity seemed momentarily puzzled at the sudden citation of female genital mutilation, stammering his reply. “I, uh, I don’t know the answer to that,” he said before confidently adding: “But your point is well taken.”
Hannity went on to say that he believes people who immigrated “from countries where perhaps they grew up under Sharia law” are definitely a threat and “I think we can make a safe assumption that they have been radicalized.” He added that even foreign students should be subjected to greater scrutiny, lest they too pose a threat.
“Our immigration policy has nothing to do with helping America,” Coulter insisted. “It has to do with solving the internal problems of other countries. We’ll take Russia’s radicals. We’ll take the illiterate, unskilled, low-skill workers from all these countries. We’ll take their old people and put them on our supplemental security and Medicare. No, immigration policies are supposed to make your country better, not to make it worse and to create all these problems.”
“Lindsey Graham was on some show this week saying this shows we need better tracking,” she continued. “I’m thinking this means we need better immigrants.”
Coulter and Hannity are just the latest conservatives to jump on the idea that because the Boston bombing suspects were born overseas, the nation’s whole immigration reform debate must shift gears into more regressive policy proposals, or just shut down in Congress altogether, as it did on Monday.
Fellow Republican talker Laura Ingraham said as much on Monday afternoon, suggesting that the U.S. shut down all immigration from majority Muslim nations. “I would submit that people shouldn’t be coming here as tourists from Chechnya after 9/11,” she said. “Dagistan, Checnya, Kergystan, uh-uh. As George Bush would say, ‘None of them stans.’”
*****Comment: Yes I know we should not be paying attention to these racist right-wing nuts because it only gives fanatical media idiots like Coulter, Hannity, Ingraham, Beck, Limbaugh and others more credence than they are due.
But hear me for a moment. I have been reading news reports about Katherine Russell-Tsarnaev, the widow of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and there is a distinct movement to demoize her.
She has been described as "brainwashed" and friends say they were "shocked by here transformation" which included wearing hijab and proclaiming to be a Muslim.
A neighbor of Katherine Russell-Tsarnaev's parents in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, described her as "quiet and polite" but added that she and others were shocked by her new dress (hijab).
A friend added: "She was just this All-American girl who was brainwashed by her super-religious husband. Nobody understands what happened to her."
The term "all-American" says a lot about the bigotry being projected here.
It has nothing to do with whether Tamerlan is guilty or not. But it has everything to do with demonizing a Muslim woman (and all Muslim women who wear hijab by default/implication)
Katherine Russell-Tsarnaev is also being ridiculed for falling in love with Tamerlan and converting from Christianity to marry him and then "bearing his child" (reminds me of a horror depiction ala Damien in The Omen).
The commonsense of whiteness assumes that she should have known better than to cross (no pun intended) the line to Islam.
Katherine Russell-Tsarnaev (Credit)
Her demonization includes being described in terms that suggest she has been duped/manipulated to step outside of the "all-American" identity she is thought to have had. She is a race traitor in these terms even if her husband may have been identified as white most of his life in the US - the fact of his Muslim identity provides the racist override.
There is also a distinct sense of incredulous wonder that surrounds this young woman who is yet to speak to the FBI.
That wonder is not primarily about a woman who has lost a husband and is now a single mother in the worst of circumstances.
It is more about how an attractive, smart, artistic, young white woman with a promising future got hooked into Islam with all its assumed dysfunction - a large part of which (the dysfunction) she was proud to display via her "Islamic dress".
To explain this hook-up the usual sexist proprietary patriarchal assumptions are firmly in place as well as the race bigotry that makes her choice unthinkable to the keepers of the whiteness gate.
In many ways this nonsense is quite parallel to the racist vitriol that is often thrown at white women who marry black men - at its essence the substance/course of the discrimination is the same. And consequently the woman in question is often viewed as tainted or damaged.
Some folks will want to save her. Redeem her of her transgressions and get her back to sane Christianity and the "all American" stereotype.
Others - and I have read some nasty opinions/comments elsewhere that even transgress what Coulter says above - will want to hold her up as a whore who through sexual weakness allowed a terrorist to defile American nationalism, particularly its all-white flavor.
White women will be warned to be weary of terrorist penises. They are on the prowl and now being elevated to a national threat - a WMD in whiteness terms.
And yet hardly a word has been heard from the usual feminist benches who should call out the sexism and racism this young woman is being made to endure.
Why the silence I wonder.