Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Muslim Mad-ness II: Not with a bang but a whimper

Local story. Worldly implications.

I've been following this story from the first moments of coverage. Now it looks like it is coming to an end.

Quick recap for those who don't like clicking:
Early on January 20th, 2007, three Palestinian students were beaten by Guilford College athletes (football players) as the athletes used anti-Muslim slurs. Two of the students went to Guilford College; the other one was visiting from NCSU.

Since then, the coverage has waned and the story itself has fizzled into the world of "um, okay, whatever." As the stories of what happened started to clash, divided camps emerged. The FBI was looking into possible hate crimes. Those who saw the issue as an overall culture of violence became active and NCSU hosted a Stop the Hate public forum to openly discuss the issue. Students walked out of class in protest. A Guilford College professor spouted off in the local paper. And the right wing took some suspicious characters on campus asking about the football players as Muslim Hit Squads.

Finally, the Greensboro Police finish their probe, saying they haven't found any further information. Six students faced charges of assault and ethnic intimidation. But the DA was waiting on Guilford College to conclude their investigation. And waiting. Greensboro police drop the charges on two of the students because - according to the assaulted students - they did not participate in the beating. Guilford College finally has something to say about the "Bryan Hall Incident." As of last week, the Palestinian students have offered to drop the charges if the athletes would apologize. Three of the four football players have done so. One is left.

What happens to a story, to a case that starts with football players beating on minorities, using racial slurs, FBI, college, and police investigations that turns it into the jello-kneed "um, sorry" that it has become? Why am I disappointed that everyone took some time off, reflected on the situation, and cooler heads prevailed?

Because I smelled blood. Because I was picked on by football players in my younger years. Because I burst into a shrapnel-spitting anger-ball when ignorant bigotry rears its ugly head.

Because I don't know that this is the best result. It is clearly the best result for those involved: Palestinian kids look good, football players verbally repent, and it's over. But is it the best result for the viewers, the attendees in the bleachers trying to glean a lesson from this?

I guess so. Why? Because any ignorant person who needed to learn a lesson (whether that humility or jail time result from ignorance) dismissed the story with a "Fuckin' Ay-rabs" and flipped back over to WWE the day it broke. The people still watching already know the lesson, but the stands are almost bare. Everyone's long gone, hot dog parchment paper blows past three Palestinian kids in the middle of the muddy field, and --

MSNBC Google Sued by Viacom

Holy shit! No more Comedy Central on YouTube? What the hell, dude?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.