Structural racism in the United States is the normalization and the legitimization of various dynamics that may be historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal. It is the routine advantage of individuals of one race, religious affiliation, creed, or political affiliation at the expense of another. After the 9/11 attacks, there was abject inequality and structural inequality faced by Muslim American s in the United States. There has been a hierarchy and inequality characterized by the stereotypes held about the Muslims regardless of whether they are Americans or otherwise. There have been cases of outright oppression and unfair treatment to Muslim with the affiliation to terrorist groups being at the top of the list. Moreover, there has been preferential treatment and privileged power for other Americans at the expense of the Americans from the Arabic or Islamic descent leaving them religiously oppressed (Robert et. al., 2007). In the recent past, there was a case of a young Muslim boy that did a science project and the teacher interpreted it as a bomb leading to an immediate response. The reaction that must have resulted to emotional, physical, and social trauma came about because the boy was of Islamic descent and that is the basis on which the school reacted. Structural inequalities against the Muslims are indicated in the inequalities of power, opportunities, treatment, access and also policy impacts and outcomes whether intentional or otherwise. However, the structural inequalities against the Muslims are harder to locate in a given institution because it involves the reinforcement effects of other institutions and cultural norms, past and the present, reproducing old forms and constantly producing new forms of discrimination against them.
Individuals of the Muslim religion are often stereotyped and affiliated to terrorist attacks and are therefore targets of police discrimination. It is abject discrimination because; some of the men that face the searches and detentions on grounds of suspicion for being a terrorist have never been out of the United States (Robert et. al., 2007). There was also the institutionalization of the Special Registration program that required certain non-immigrant aliens to go through a process that involved having to register with the authorities, subject to questioning, give their fingerprints and even photographed while others had to continue with routine reporting to the police. In as much as the federal government in support of the program argued that it was just a fair security check, the program involved the recalling and harassment of those individuals that came from Muslim countries. There was also the under tapping and other activities by the FBI against the will and consent of the Muslims and targeted some mosques in the country. The routine targeting caused the Muslims apprehension and emotional fear, they were also subjected to social segregation in some cases as some people attached them to being criminals when they were called into police custody for questioning or when made to have to report to the authorities.
Workplace discrimination based on the way an individual looks or believes a major stressor in itself among the Muslim Americans. It is difficult finding a job, getting an opportunity for career growth, maintaining a job, or securing a decent wage. Having to deal with workplace discrimination is a stressor that no one deserves to contend with. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2001 indicated that there was an increase in public harassment, workplace discrimination and hate emails towards the Arabic and Muslim decent individuals (EEOC, 2001). A research by Rabby and Rodgers (2009) aimed at gauging the impact of the 9/11 on the labor markets and its effects on the Muslim Americans, indicated a drop in the number of young Muslim men was working ad also their working hours reduced sign significantly. The employment-population, ratios, and hours worked by the older Muslim men also went very low.
According to the hate crimes report, before the 9/11, Muslims were one of the least common religious groups affiliate to crimes but with the attack, the report indicated that the number skyrocketed to 481%. In fact, over 255 of cases reported to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) were related to police discrimination (Hasan & Moradi, 2004). There has been recurring cases of the police discriminating and harassing the Muslims. Some of the violations to their rights include raiding their homes causing apprehension and psychological and emotional fear to the families, asking inappropriate questions regarding the religion and even taking away their belongings such as books written in Arabic. It led to the Muslims being segregated and losing respect in society, and it is replicated to discrimination and racial profiling on issues such as job placements leading to economic losses and even some individuals choosing not to buy or engage at all with Muslim run stores and other businesses (Hasan & Moradi, 2004).
Research indicates that the United States labor markets for the Muslim Americans especially those of Arabic descent suffered in a great way following the September 11 attack. In as much as the findings indicate that the loss of the earnings was for a short time, it is still not acceptable to have to punish a group of innocent Americans for the mistakes and actions caused by other they do not even have any relations or links with apart from sharing a common faith (Hasan & Moradi, 2004). There is, however, little research that analyzes the effect of discrimination based on religion on students, but is a problem that can be addressed through capacity building and awareness creation of the teachers. Creating programs that are more inclusive and including the Muslims related history in the textbooks instead of making depictions of them as having come from Arabic countries where they live in the deserts as students may picture it with the stereotypes they acquire in the process of their socialization (Hasan & Moradi, 2004).
The retaliation by the US government to the attacks on their soil have led to the establishment of laws and policies that have further had a negative impact on an already alienated Muslim fraternity in the United States. There has been over 20 rule changes, laws and executive orders that affect the immigrants and non-immigrants from Muslim dominated countries. The governmental authorities males forecasts of unreasonable numbers of Muslims that have participated in work, meetings, conferences and school (Hasan & Moradi, 2004).There have also been some federal rules and regulations that have further worsened the situation for the Muslim Americans especially those targeting travel and the airports both domestically and internationally. The Department of Justice announced their intention to interview over 5,000 individuals who came to the United States from Muslim countries since January 2000 on nonimmigrant visas. As if such laws are not enough, over 20 states are debating on the possibility of banning the Sharing Law. The Anti Shari Bill may be detrimental to the American-0Muslim relations as it is a direct infringement of the freedom of worship of the individuals. The law further proposes that any allegiance to Islam would be a felony, and there are other bills that would illegalize following of given Muslim codes. If any of the bills were to be implemented then, it would contradict the democratic nature of America as a nation.
The structural biases and inequalities against the Muslims are based on stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims and Islam. A misconception such as that Muslims are violent is portrayed in the media through the movies and mainstream media. However, those that are violent are going against the Muslim teachings. The majority of the Muslims follow their religion with the literary meaning of “submission to God” derived from the word “peace.” There are also some stereotypes that Muslims oppress women. In the factual sense, a majority of countries that have laws against gender equality are not even Islamic. According to the law, a young woman cannot be forced to marry anyone if they so do not wish and are free to own land and keep their earnings contrary to the common believes. There is also a believe that Islam in intolerant of all other faiths which is an ill-informed concept. The Quran advocates for dealing with those that oppress other with justice. Moreover, the Islamic tradition speaks out for human equality, and they do not have racism (Rabby & Rodgers, 2009).
In conclusion, structural inequality against the Muslims is mainstream and an issue that requires the urgent address not just from the government but the public as well. The Muslims are subject to emotional, physical, economic, and psychological abuse and inequality that result from the policies adopted, police discrimination and even the way others treat them socially. The inequality against the Muslims increased with the September 11 attacks attached to Muslims and it led to the authorities targeting Islamic men and women treating them with suspicion. The first step in addressing the issue is to address the detrimental misconceptions and stereotypes fundamentally that individuals hold since most of them are untrue and uninformed. Islam is a peace loving and non-violent religion, unlike the way it is depicted to facilitate and justify the mainstream inequality.
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