Point At Issue: Have Political Sensibilities Cultivated Bias?
The charge to eliminate selective racial identification rooted in bias has cultivated a culture of inconsistent classifications of violence within our domestic system of communication.
A spike in unexpected, premeditated attacks across the world have exposed behaviors of those perpetuating misinformation and misrepresentation in the name of progressive sensibility.
These attacks are a consequence of religious and ideological perceptions of the radical minority of larger groups.
Over the past two decades, specifically in recent years, the most notable acts of violence have been carried out by quasi-states or militant groups maintaining coercive control over territories throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Names such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram and ISIS instill a sense of wariness in the minds of those within and outside the organizations’ areas of control.
The question for us then becomes — What role are we playing in the deterrence of these groups?
We have a moral responsibility to collectively put a name to the face of radicalism and prejudice by clearing up the blurred lines of consistency when labeling institutions sharing the same principles.
What the aforementioned groups share in common is the use of impromptu guerrilla tactics spurred by a radical Islamic ideology.
On Easter Sunday, Sri Lanka was struck by tragedy when a group of militants targeted churches and hotels in the country’s capital, Colombo. The attacks which killed nearly 300 people were carried out by the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a jihadist group promoting radical Islam.
However, though these groups claim to promote this ideology and be a part of a worldwide Islamic caliphate, some U.S. political figures and members of the media did not use this designation.
In tweets responding to the bombings in Sri Lanka, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama used questionable wording in the classification of the involved parties.
They referred to the Christian victims of the attack as “Easter worshippers” and did not identify the perpetrators of the event.
What is troubling about this is not the wording or the idea of political mindfulness. It is the blatant inconsistencies in what we call violent attacks.
Not even a month earlier, Clinton tweeted about the shootings which killed fifty people in two separate mosques in New Zealand. In this tweet, Clinton labels the targeted religious group, Muslims, by name and calls for white supremacist terrorists to be condemned by leaders everywhere.
Sri Lankan politician Ruwan Wijewardene said preliminary investigations revealed the Easter bombings were retaliation for the shooting in New Zealand.
So, if this is the case, and both Christians and Muslims were victims of terroristic style attacks — Why is only one victimized religion named, and why must we condemn one type of terrorism more than the other?
It is simple to figure out if we take the time to look at the modernization of societal norms.
The track record of prejudice rooted in the history of the United States has opened the floodgates to rapid progressivism.
Before, people identified as a minority culture were more consistently identified in criminal news stories.
Ethical discrepancies like these started a movement to set guidelines for when race should be included in stories.
Multicultural journalist organizations unified to issue critiques about just this.
In March 2012, the AP Stylebook updated its guidelines regarding when journalists should publish information about a person’s race in a news story.
This update requires the individual’s ethnic identity be pertinent to a crime suspect sought by police or someone involved in a missing persons case.
While this era of socially motivated reform led to positive changes in equal representation, the extent of progressive acceptance has put us at risk of potentially dangerous naivete and factual censorship.
In this case, Clinton and Obama left out the Islamic ties of the militants because they did not want to generalize the principles of Islam.
This being said, the majority of religious institutions have sects or factions within them.
These factions have been recognized for long enough that failing to acknowledge the wide spectrum of radicalism they lie on is not just socially bias, but irresponsible.
The idea of not wanting to label a sect of a group for their actions, specifically those involving violence, has become obsolete. Before, identifying these groups as terrorist organizations or militants was thought to stigmatize the religious practices and morality of the affiliated religion.
Now, however, one could argue vagueness in identification of these groups, whether by the media or political figures, is factually negligent and may be the cause of ethnic confusion.
This confusion establishes a blending effect which causes those who are less educated or easily influenceable to merge their ideas of what radical Islamists and well-intentioned Muslims represent.
The point is that the motivation behind the slew of lethal militant action is not caused by religion, but ideology.
The same ideology which motivated the National Thowheeth Jama’ath is what motivated the attacks by white supremacists in New Zealand.
At a certain juncture, each individual must draw the line between cultural fairness and over-the-top political correctness which harms the foundation of ethnic equality.
Until then, it will be the task of the individual to try to uncover the veil of personal agenda and bias which disguises the precedent built by those seeking ethical representation of all cultures.