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#117#118#119#120 Episode #121 - "Justice for All" Remix
(Post 9/11 Hate Crimes)



Sat 29 June 2002'  '
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Download Hour1 Download Hour2This week we devote the show to excerpts from a remarkable hearing. On September 21st in Seattle, a panel of city, state and federal governmental officials heard testimony from members of ethnic and religious minority groups who have been the victims of hate crimes and discrimination in the aftermath of September 11th. This panel was a civil society initiative organized by Hate Free Zone, a coalition of over a hundred community groups. The entire event was almost three hours long, and we've had to edit the some of the material out. In order to keep all of the heartfelt and compelling testimony, we had to cut the response of the official panelists to questions posed by the moderator, which followed the actual testimony.
America has had a split personality from its beginnings; a group of people who came to these shores seeking freedom of religion and association waged a campaign of genocide against the original inhabitants in order to take their land for themselves. They had a revolution in the name of freedom while keeping millions of others as slaves. While immigration was encouraged in order to expand the borders of new country, the new Americans were disdained and ill treated on the basis of the race and ethnicity. After years of civil rights struggles by people of color in this country, racial profiling is still the norm in law enforcement practice, and it has, under the so-called war on drugs, resulted in a prison population where racial minorities are make up the majority, even though, percentage wise, white people break laws as often as people of color. The aftermath of last years terrorist attacks has brought this ugly current of institutionalized racism in American life raging to the surface, and the Bush administration has led the way by its policies that target immigrants, people of middle eastern origin and those who follow the religion of Islam. If this seems reasonable to you because the terrorist attacks were perpetrated by Islamic Middle Eastern foreign nationals, consider this. In the wake of the Oklahoma city bombing, a terrorist act perpetrated by white Christian American citizens who had served in the US military, white soldiers were not rounded up on mass for questioning nor set upon in the streets and beaten. Neighbors did not seriously call police to report a group of white people gathering at the house next door. If when substituting the word white for middle eastern, these actions suddenly sound preposterous, whereas they seemed like prudent precautions when directed at non-whites, you will have demonstrated institutionalized racism at work.
Thanks to Jonathan Lawson of the Seattle Independent Media Center for providing us with this disturbing and inspiring material that demonstrates the best and worst in American culture.
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