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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

June 13, 2006

Written by C.N.

Racial Profiling Against Arab Americans Continue

Almost five years after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, Arab Americans are still consistently encountering racial profiling as they travel, prompted by nothing more than their physical appearance and/or their Arabic names:

Getting through United States airports and border crossings has grown more difficult for everyone since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. But Muslim Americans say they are having a harder time than most, sometimes facing an intimidating maze of barriers, if not outright discrimination. Advocacy groups have taken to labeling their predicament “traveling while Muslim,” and accuse the government of ignoring a serious erosion of civil rights. . . .

“I find myself enunciating English like never before, totally over-enunciating just because I want the guy to know that I am an American,” says Maz Jobrani, an Iranian-born, Berkeley-educated actor. “Middle Easterners are just as scared of Al Qaeda as everybody else, but we also have to be worried about being profiled as Al Qaeda. It’s a double whammy.”

The article describes several instances in which Arab Americans continue to be subjected to discriminatory searches and detentions while traveling, only to be released shortly thereafter once it’s clear that they have no connection whatsoever to terrorist groups. In particular, many Arab Americans deplore how it is virtually impossible for them to be removed from the government’s “watch list” even when their names are on there erroneously.

Unfortunately, these are more examples of how the current administration continues to run roughshod over basic human and civil rights against those who have no connection at all with terrorism while virtually ignoring the real threats to homeland security, or at least badly bungling attempts at addressing them (i.e., securing ports and shipping containers, protecting sensitive chemical and nuclear installations, and finding the real enemies of this country, Al Qaeda).

In other words, contrary to “official” denials, racial profiling is still alive and well — and in fact thriving — in this country.

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Racial Profiling Against Arab Americans Continue" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

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