US Media Racism Pillories Armenians

John Anabadian, Toronto, 5 November 2010

A few weeks ago, several Armenian nationals; gangsters and their associates, were charged for allegedly setting up fake clinics using stolen identities to make false claims for treatment.

John Anabadian, Toronto, 5 November 2010

A few weeks ago, several Armenian nationals; gangsters and their associates, were charged for allegedly setting up fake clinics using stolen identities to make false claims for treatment.

Whether these individuals are guilty or not, it is irrelevant when compared to the fact that western media outlets have already passed judgment on the Armenian race. And the media has done it in the most insidious way imaginable; through racial profiling.

News agencies that identified the alleged culprits as “Armenians” rather than “Armenian nationals”, have castigated the entire Armenian race, by guilt through association. This is no different than someone at work, printing this news story, bringing it to a meeting in front of your peers, and then asking you point blank “Are you ashamed of your Armenian race?”

Whether you are ashamed or not ashamed of these individuals should not have anything to do with Armenian identity. These individuals owed you no duty whatsoever. They are NOT your brothers and sisters. They may share a similar ethnic background, but, they do not represent Armenian ethnicity at large. If this were the case, ethnic Armenians should start beating themselves up for every speeding infraction or gambling debt, or other such problems an average person in the global population would encounter, whenever an individual ethnic Armenian comes across such malady…

What has largely been ignored by the media’s portrayal of the alleged criminals, are the potential long-term effects through racial profiling.

Racial profiling refers to the discriminatory practice of targeting individuals for suspicion of crime based on an individual’s race, ethnicity, religion or national origin. Criminal profiling, generally, as practiced by police, is the reliance on a group of characteristics they believe to be associated with crime.

The most recent cases of racial profiling is the targeting, ongoing since the September 11th attacks, of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians for detention on minor immigrant violations in the absence of any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.

By staying silent, Armenians risk the threat of being the next “Arabs”, or “African-American”, fighting racism behind the eight-ball. In almost all cases where stereotypes based on racial profiling, ensuing violence emerges. Besides the obvious form of violence, there is the muted threat of economic opportunities, and the loss of the right to pursue happiness that accompanies the glass walls of racial stereotyping. (Detailing all instances of violence based on racial profiling is beyond the scope of this op-ed piece. A quick google search will help.

Ultimately, the question that needs to be asked is: where is our Anti-Defamation League? Why have our traditional Diaspora organizations stayed muted on this topic? What is the Armenian Bar Association’s point of view? Surely, an organized group of Armenian lawyers could see the potential ramifications of allowing this form of racial profiling…

By staying silent on this issue of racial profiling, ethnic Armenians should expect the consequences that come with “guilt by association.”
 

3 comments
  1. The principle of Generalization
    Dear Sirs,

    In general, the parties involved in the incorrect and distorted representation of facts under the false cover of freedom of speech and manipulation, are to be blamed equally. Chosen persons or races may not necessarily be selected for their virtues. Generalization concerning human behavior is wrong and lacks the understanding of the basic findings and principles of great U.S pedagogues and philosophers in human behavior.  
  2. U.S. media racism

    I too was troubled at first by the explicit reference to the nationality of the crooks who were involved in the Medicare fraud. However the fact that the culprits were Armenian emigres (i.e. immigrants from Armenia and not just immigrants who happen to be Armenians) and that some of the money may have been transferred to Armenia make the reference to the nationality of the suspects relevant if not justifiable. We can’t expect to be treated better than Russians or Jews when their mafia are similarly characterized as being Russian or Jewish. Perhaps we should have an Armenian anti defamation league but we need a more blatant case of anti Armenian bias to make our case.
  3. To John Zenian

    Dear John,

    I have issue with several of your phrases, and will discuss each in turn.

    a) "We can’t expect to be treated better than Russians or Jews when their mafia are similarly characterized as being Russian or Jewish." If this is a morality scale, we should not be treated based on how others are trated, but whether racial profiling is right or wrong. Furthermore, if we should be treated in the negative light as Jewish gangsters, then the Armenian genocide Holocaust should have long since been recognized.

    b)"However the fact that the culprits were Armenian emigres (i.e. immigrants from Armenia and not just immigrants who happen to be Armenians) and that some of the money may have been transferred to Armenia make the reference to the nationality of the suspects relevant if not justifiable." The issue I have with the above phrase is that you use "relevant" and "justifiable" to say that when discussing the reference to nationality. First, the media did not reference naionality. They explicitly referenced ethnicity. Had they referenced nationality, they would have stated "Armenian national". This may be a problem of having a nation state. But, not making that distinction is irresponsible by the media. Second, to the uninitiated, using "relevant" and "justifiable" may be misconstrued to allow racial profiling in certain contexts, especially when the distiction between nationality and ethnicity may seem blurred. It is never morally justifable, or relevant, to ethnically profile a group of people.

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