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The Saudi Marathon Man

April 24, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, White Privilege

From The New Yorker:

A twenty-year-old man who had been watching the Boston Marathon had his body torn into by the force of a bomb. He wasn’t alone; a hundred and seventy-six people were injured and three were killed. But he was the only one who, while in the hospital being treated for his wounds, had his apartment searched in “a startling show of force,” as his fellow-tenants described it to the Boston Herald, with a “phalanx” of officers and agents and two K9 units. He was the one whose belongings were carried out in paper bags as his neighbors watched; whose roommate, also a student, was questioned for five hours (“I was scared”) before coming out to say that he didn’t think his friend was someone who’d plant a bomb—that he was a nice guy who liked sports. “Let me go to school, dude,” the roommate said later in the day, covering his face with his hands and almost crying, as a Fox News producer followed him and asked him, again and again, if he was sure he hadn’t been living with a killer.

Why the search, the interrogation, the dogs, the bomb squad, and the injured man’s name tweeted out, attached to the word “suspect”? After the bombs went off, people were running in every direction—so was the young man. Many, like him, were hurt badly; many of them were saved by the unflinching kindness of strangers, who carried them or stopped the bleeding with their own hands and improvised tourniquets. “Exhausted runners who kept running to the nearest hospital to give blood,” President Obama said. “They helped one another, consoled one another,” Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, said. In the midst of that, according to a CBS News report, a bystander saw the young man running, badly hurt, rushed to him, and then “tackled” him, bringing him down. People thought he looked suspicious.

What made them suspect him? He was running—so was everyone. The police reportedly thought he smelled like explosives; his wounds might have suggested why. He said something about thinking there would be a second bomb—as there was, and often is, to target responders. If that was the reason he gave for running, it was a sensible one. He asked if anyone was dead—a question people were screaming. And he was from Saudi Arabia, which is around where the logic stops. Was it just the way he looked, or did he, in the chaos, maybe call for God with a name that someone found strange?

What happened next didn’t take long. “Investigators have a suspect—a Saudi Arabian national—in the horrific Boston Marathon bombings, The Post has learned.” That’s the New York Post, which went on to cite Fox News. The “Saudi suspect”—still faceless—suddenly gave anxieties a form. He was said to be in custody; or maybe his hospital bed was being guarded. The Boston police, who weren’t saying much of anything, disputed the report—sort of. “Honestly, I don’t know where they’re getting their information from, but it didn’t come from us,” a police spokesman told TPM. But were they talking to someone? Maybe. “Person of interest” became a phrase of both avoidance and insinuation. On the Atlas Shrugs Web site, there was a note that his name in Arabic meant “sword.” At an evening press conference, Ed Davis, the police commissioner, said that no suspect was in custody. But that was about when the dogs were in the apartment building in Revere—an inquiry that was seized on by some as, if not an indictment, at least a vindication of their suspicions.

Reddit Mob Falsely Accuses Missing Brown University Student of Boston Bombing

April 23, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Immigration, Intersectionality, White Privilege


Sunil Tripathi and his mother, Judy Tripathi. Brown University student Sunil Tripathi (right) was at one point accused by Reddit users of being a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, despite no evidence.

From NBCNews:

“It’s had a huge cost on our family. We are all very depleted right now, just baseline over the past 34 days, and this has been very, very difficult,” she added. “Without Sunil in our life, it’s been very hard to have that publicity.

“We are absolutely convinced, with no question at all, it’s not Sunil. We are eagerly awaiting formal public news to calm the pain on my family. We have not received a public apology at all. The FBI is incredibly busy as you can imagine in the investigation. The second law enforcement releases complete information on the suspects, it’s going up on our Facebook page.”

On Friday afternoon, the Tripathi family received an email from Erik Martin, the general manager of Reddit, “to apologize personally and on behalf of all our employees for … some of the people on our site’s role in the spreading of this false idea about Sunny.” The Tripathi family immediately forwarded that email to NBC News.

“It’s an extreme situation and we are deeply sorry that your family got caught up in it,” Martin wrote in the email. “I can’t imagine what it must be like for your family to deal with this on top of what you must already be going through.”

The Tripathi family’s Facebook page, set up to help locate Sunil and, until Thursday, filled with messages of hope and pictures of the student, began being hit with posts Thursday evening “from individuals who for whatever reason were making the association between what happened (at the Boston Marathon) and him, Sangeeta Tripathi said.

Sunil Tripathi is still missing. Anyone with any information that might help find him is encouraged to call police in Providence, RI at (401) 243-6191. For more on the efforts to locate him, visit the Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi page on Facebook.

The Feds Are Suing A Euless Apartment Complex for Refusing To House ‘Curry People’

April 22, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Housing, Immigration, Intersectionality, White Privilege

From The Dallas Observer:

To spot the difference, you’ll have to go to building 18, where all but one unit is leased to renters of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent. Most of the other buildings have none.

The federal government thinks this is by design. According to a lawsuit filed by the feds on Thursday and first reported by the Morning News, complex manager Nancy Quandt systemically denied housing to “curry people,” as she called them.

Quandt, according to the lawsuit, instructed her leasing agents that they should funnel any person who had an Indian-sounding surname or accent or, basically, was brown and looked as if they might enjoy curry, into buildings 16 and 18. If those were full, they were to claim the entire complex was occupied, despite the fact that, throughout 2009 at least, there were no fewer than 20 units available.

It’s not just that Quandt didn’t want such people living in her complex. She didn’t want them living at all. She was once overheard musing to a tenant about how she hated Middle Easterners and wished she could put them on an airplane or island and “blow them up.”

Fair Housing Lawsuit against Stone Bridge apartments

A Week of Fear

April 21, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, White Privilege

From The Micro Aggressions Project:

The thing is: people actually had jumped to conclusions, fueling both suspicion and violence across the country. Multiple social networks and communities on the internet began to conduct their own searches for suspects in photographs. Most of these “suspects” turned out to be brown people with bags. Some people were identified solely by color or by supposed nationality. Some people were identified by name, and their names spread publicly and quickly, without hesitation. Worst of all, real people were attacked. Subtle and open aggression powerfully shaped lives this week.

We know that the creation of unsafe conditions for people of color, immigrants, Muslims – among others – does not appear out of thin air, informed by rationality or reality. They are a product of power and fear. Every geopolitical event of this sort has put whole communities on edge, anxious about the backlash against them. And while hate crimes get documented, the more subtle interactions of fear and hostility can slip through.

All week, from the coming Monday to Friday, we hope to publish submissions of incidents related to the recent attacks experienced by South Asians, Muslims, immigrants, and people of color. For this, we are asking for your help.

If you have experienced an incident of this type, please submit your story to submissions@microaggressions.com. There are no limits on length or format. (Please put “week” into the subject of your email; they’ll be forwarded directly to editors, who will put them up as soon as they can.)

If you have not experienced an incident of this type, we ask that you share this with people you know. Use Twitter, Facebook, and any other social networks to spread the word!

(h/t: Judy Edwards)

Obama Administration Says President Can Use Lethal Force Against Americans on US Soil

March 06, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Intersectionality, Military Industrial Complex, Prison Industrial Complex

From Mother Jones:

Yes, the president does have the authority to use military force against American citizens on US soil—but only in “an extraordinary circumstance,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter to Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Tuesday.

“The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening,” Paul said Tuesday. “It is an affront the constitutional due process rights of all Americans.”

Last month, Paul threatened to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan, Obama’s pick to head the CIA, “until he answers the question of whether or not the President can kill American citizens through the drone strike program on U.S. soil.” Tuesday, Brennan told Paul that “the agency I have been nominated to lead does not conduct lethal operations inside the United States—nor does it have any authority to do so.” Brennan said that the Justice Department would answer Paul’s question about whether Americans could be targeted for lethal strikes on US soil.

Holder’s answer was more detailed, however, stating that under certain circumstances, the president would have the authority to order lethal attacks on American citizens. The two possible examples of such “extraordinary” circumstances were the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. An American president order the use of lethal military force inside the US is “entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront,” Holder wrote.

The Romney Doctrine on Foreign Policy is Bush Doctrine on Steroids

September 17, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Imperialism, International Law, Intersectionality, White Privilege

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

9/11, Day of Reflection

September 11, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Imperialism, International Law, Prison Industrial Complex


There’s not much to say, other than to acknowledge that today conjures ups a myriad of emotions, personally and politically. But rather than launch into a narrative about “where I was” when it all happened, I’ll just request that folks quietly reflect and contemplate the narrative of this nation over the past decade.

Bush White House was Deaf to 9/11 Warnings

9/11: Pageantry of Grief

9/11: 10 Years Later, The Lost Decade

When Will Black and Brown Individual Sovereignty Be Recognized? Do You Value Your Gun More than Life?

August 06, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, White Privilege

As many have heard by now, the COWARD that massacred the innocent peace-loving Sikhs in Wisconsin was a neo-nazi white supremacist, who has been on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch List for at least a decade. When are we going to stop letting these COWARDLY WHITE TERRORISTS literally get away with murder? When are we going to stop letting these COWARDLY WHITE TERRORISTS obtain weapons?

Gun toting zealots say, “go out and get a gun.” But guess what, black and brown folk are more likely to be scrutinized by the police and government for obtaining weapons than white folk. And black and brown folk are more likely to be targeted by the white terrorists who hate them for no other reason than apparent and perceived differences. One need not go further back than the history of the Black Panthers. So guess who is made more vulnerable by the lax gun control laws in this country — a white supremacist or an innocent brown or black person merely going about their day?

And what about those who oppose carrying weapons because it is antithetical to their own philosophical and moral framework? Antithetical to their own belief and value system? Those who are overzealous about their guns embrace a culture of fear and machismo, a culture that has been nothing but destructive.

When will the black and brown person’s individual sovereignty be recognized? When will those who cherish their beloved guns do the responsible thing and advocate for better protection of black and brown folk from organized hateful white supremacists in this country? Do you really value your gun, and the false sense of security and machismo it gives you, more than the lives of others?

A piece in Colorlines today hit the nail on the head:

Murderous insanity can infect any community, and maybe that leads people to call these senseless acts of random violence. But of course they are neither senseless nor random, and the vast majority of such incidents here involve white men. Racism holds a terrible logic, for a concept with no grounding whatsoever in science or morality, yet too many white people don’t see any patterns.

I think about the young woman who taught me to speak English in a tiny rural schoolhouse, the widow who gave me my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich and the father of my best friend who was so kind to me while I was growing up. Yesterday, did they quietly hope that the shooter wasn’t one of theirs? Probably not, even though the link between violence, masculinity and whiteness is well-established. White men seem to be in deep crisis, and white people would do well to deal with it, as Tim Wise points out again and again. I implore of my white friends, when your nutty uncle or classmate goes off about some set of foreigners, you must make a fuss, cause a family crisis, become unpopular, speak up. We cannot do this for you.

I despair for our country on days like these. How long before paranoia and fear, recast in the language of moral fortitude (stand your ground!), cut so deeply into the beautiful American friendliness, open-mindedness, and generosity that I have grown up with? How many Trayvon Martins, Brisenia Floreses and Balbir Singh Sodhis must there be before white folks question whether suspicion of brown skin is justified? Must I arm my mother and send her to the shooting range if she wants to wear a sari in public? In two weeks, 20 families have lost a beloved member. Are we going to have 20 more every month for the foreseeable future?