I Am Sorry, Ilhan Omar

By Sam Stroozas

The New York Post ignited a fire of racial discrimination against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar with their cover on Thursday, April 11th, by cherrypicking a quote and reprinting images from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

On March 23rd, Omar was at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) banquet. Omar claimed the organization was formed after the September 11th terrorist attacks in order to protect civil rights. It was formed in 1994, but became a central topic of discussion in the fight for equality and open public discourse after the attacks.  The racial stigmatization that became more prevalent than ever after the 9/11 attacks was discussed, and Omar commented:

“Far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen, and frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties,” said Omar.

“So you can’t just say that today someone is looking at me strange and that I am trying to make myself look pleasant. You have to say that this person is looking at me strange, I am not comfortable with it, and I am going to talk to them and ask them why. Because that is the right you have,” concluded Omar.

Omar discussed that a minority of an extremist group committed a crime, and because of this, the majority of the group was left to be patronized. It is important to remember this has never happened to white men who have committed terrorist attacks. Not all white people are to blame for the actions of one. No matter how many terrorist attacks occur we still feel uneasy calling  white people terrorists, and often welcome them back into society with open arms of hopes, prayers, and white fragility.

Although Omar also co-sponsored a bill to reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, it was easy for the GOP and President Trump to institute their racist agenda and further embed it through American Exceptionalism and the promise of nostalgia.

Racism is racism, and it can be completely hidden in any facet of society in intricate layers that scream, “never forget,” because that is the issue一 how could anyone forget something that shifted our world and further solidified the blatantly racist battlefield we live in today?

Being “American” is not a real concept. We must ask: What is being American? If this is the land of the melting-pot, then there truly is no one way to have a definition for that question. There are different types of Americans, and the way you see America is different based on your identity.

Omar believes in freedom and she believes in questioning authority and paving a way for all identities to rise up and be humanized, recognized, and inspired. The story by the New York Post and other outlets are profiting off of something they know is inhumane and inaccurate to only further rely on confirmation bias proves that racism is still an issue that must be discussed every single day.

#IStandWithIlhanOmar.


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