Sunday, October 12, 2008

James Zogby: Arabs can be decent family men, too, John McCain

At the end of a post about John McCain's belated attempt to calm the violent emotions of his supporters, I wrote:

Oh, and not that it has anything to do with anything, but I believe it is possible to be an Arab and a decent family man. And a citizen too, for that matter.
This comment was motivated by McCain's response to a woman who said that she believes Barack Obama is an Arab. McCain corrected her by saying, "No, Ma'am. No, Ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with."

I was struck by McCain's assertion that the opposite of "Arab" is "decent." Or "citizen," as the case may be.

McCain's peculiar turn of phrase did not escape the notice either of James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute.

[W]e are pleased to see that the senator is trying to dispel rumors about Senator Obama, but we feel the need to point out that Arab Americans are also decent men and women with the full rights of citizenship as enumerated under the constitution. Arab Americans are part of the great melting pot that is this country's strength. We work towards peace in the Middle East along side our Jewish partners. We raise our sons and daughters to be model citizens of this nation. We serve this country with honor. The suggestion that any ethnic group is treacherous and Anti-American is unacceptable, dangerous, and unbecoming of such a great nation.
Using the word "Arab" as a synonym for "terrorist" is racism, pure and simple, and it is intolerable.

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