Letter: It's soul-searching time in United States
To the editor, The two young American women of Somali descent who reconciled with their attacker after the vicious parking lot incident in Fargo are our newest community heroines. I applaud their generosity of spirit and willingness to support he...
To the editor,
The two young American women of Somali descent who reconciled with their attacker after the vicious parking lot incident in Fargo are our newest community heroines. I applaud their generosity of spirit and willingness to support healing and understanding.
Beneath that feel-good story, however, is something darker, left unmentioned in the news article and also in columnist Rob Port's July 30 opinion piece, which lamented that the incident went viral on the internet. That darker issue is the heightened level of discrimination Muslims in the U.S. now face. Indeed, since President Trump became his party's official nominee, our country has witnessed a dramatic and documented rise in hate crimes against minority populations.
Part of our current president's popularity among some voters lies in his willingness to "tell it like it is." Similarly, the title of Rob Port's "Say Anything" blog, thumbs its nose at the constraints imposed by much-derided "political correctness." But what happens when norms of civility break down in communities and members of the majority culture feel free to openly target those who are different?
The young Somali-American women in Fargo made it clear when interviewed what life has been like for them since the election. For months, our teachers have been sounding the alarm about the "Trump Effect." If we listen non-defensively to friends and neighbors who are visible minorities in our communities, we must acknowledge there is work to do.
Paraphrasing the now-former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, the fish rots from the head down. There is, admittedly, some real merit in this platitude.
Will North Dakotans, among whom the president remains extremely popular, quite readily adopt the behaviors of White House occupants, abandoning the civility, neighborliness, and humility so admirably a part of our state's culture? Who benefits and who is hurt when we preach the politics of fear and hate, divorced from anything resembling actual facts? We are statistically far more likely to be killed in the U.S. by a gun-toting toddler than a Muslim terrorist. It is time for some soul-searching in our state, and for some truth telling from our political leaders and pulpits.