All acts of terrorism are equally heinous; however, there are some crimes that are focused on by the media while others are completely brushed under the rug. The decisive factor the media employs to distinguish which stories will be profitable is, not surprisingly, based on the race of the perpetrator. Whenever a minority commits a crime, specifically a Muslim, the story is sensationalized and analyzed from every lens available. The criminal’s past is examined in a microscopic manner and without any confirmation, ties to terrorist organizations are run as headlines. While there should be no sympathy to those criminals, this intense speculation should be done for non-minorities as well.
This past week, a 64-yr old named Richard Leslie Lloyd in Florida tried to set fire on a local convenience store in Port St. Lucie. Upon being probed by the police, he admitted that his reason for setting the fire was to “run the Arabs out the country.” Yes, this man took sweet time out of his life to go to the doors of a store that he had nothing to do with just because he thought the owners were Muslim. Much to his dismay, the store was not owned by Muslim, but people of Indian descent. Regardless of the race/ethnicity, the fact that this man was willing to burn down someone’s living because he assumed they were Muslim speaks volume about the hate in his heart. Yet, the media barely picked up the story, and even when it was shown, it was not given the same coverage as incidents where the criminal is not white. Had he been someone named Muhammed and tried to burn down a store belonging to the McClendons, it would have been branded as an act of terrorism and tied to ISIS somehow.
In a completely different part of the country, a Sikh man was told, “Go back to your own country,” before being shot in front of his own house. Witnesses described the attacker as a “six-foot tall white man with a stocky build,” who wore a mask to partially cover his face; because of course, covering their faces is exactly what men proud of their country do. Fortunately, the shot was not fatal and the victim is recovering in the hospital. This hate crime received even less coverage than the previous one, and was only picked up by a handful of media outlets. Why is the media so silent when attacks like these occur? Is it because it shows that Muslims can be victims in this country as well? Or does this ruin the poster image that America is in a post-racial stage where hate crimes are a thing of the past?
To move forward, these questions must be addressed, and the media must be held accountable to educate the public about these incidents. It is necessary that people see that hearts that carry hate see no color or religion.