|Moving beyond hate
During World War II, ignorance was at the heart of the racial hatred that took hold of the country. After all, most of those interned during World War II were U.S. citizens by birth, and there was no credible evidence that they were a threat.
Likewise, most Arab Americans today are as disgusted as other Americans by the destruction of September 11. It's just plain dumb to assume that anybody who wears a turban or looks Middle Eastern is somehow to blame.
Most sensible people realize this. But sensible people are also calling for new anti-terrorism laws that would, among other things, give the government increased authority to detain and deport foreigners. This could exacerbate the racial profiling that already occurs, and make the harassment that Arab Americans now suffer even worse.
Still, there is reason to be hopeful. December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001 have at least one important difference. In 1941, the president ordered the internment of Japanese Americans. In 2001--so far at least--the president has not put Arab Americans in camps.
America has acknowledged that the internment was wrong. Let's not make any more mistakes.
Moving beyond hate