April 17, 2013
The liberal online magazine Salon published an opinion piece Tuesday evening by columnist David Sirota entitled, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American,” in which Sirota argued that if the perpetrator of Monday’s bombing attack, which left at least three people dead, is identified as a Muslim then conservative Republicans will use the tragedy to block Obama administration policy goals like immigration reform.
“If recent history is any guide, if the bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist, white privilege will likely mean the attack is portrayed as just an isolated incident — one that has no bearing on any larger policy debates,” Sirota wrote in his Salon piece, which featured an image of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh cropped beside a photograph of Osama bin Laden.
“It will probably be much different if the bomber ends up being a Muslim and/or a foreigner from the developing world. As we know from our own history, when those kind of individuals break laws in such a high-profile way, America often cites them as both proof that entire demographic groups must be targeted, and that therefore a more systemic response is warranted. At that point, it’s easy to imagine conservatives citing Boston as a reason to block immigration reform defense spending cuts and the Afghan War withdrawal and to further expand surveillance and other encroachments on civil liberties,” Sirota wrote.