The unwarranted attacks on Oday Aboushi this past week posted in a far right-wing website, and picked up in Yahoo! Sports & by MLB’s “new media coordinator” are a testament to the fact that for racists & bigots, the existence of Arab-Americans & American Muslims is the problem.
It should also serve as a wake-up call to everyone that anti-Arab & Islamophoic rhetoric is not only running rampant, but often deemed acceptable in mainstream media, and that we must do everything in our power to confront these last vestiges of “acceptable bigotry” in America.
This time around, the bigots didn’t expect a reaction – A scathing piece by David Zirin in the Nation, pieces in EI & the Daily Beast challenged the ludicrousness of “yellow journalism” & slanderous allegations in the Yahoo! Sports story.
Combined with an outpouring of support from fans, community members & organizations (i.e. NAAP) who refused to tolerate “acceptable bigotry” in any shape or form:
- The repulsive Yahoo! Sports story was taken down
- The racist MLB “New Media Coordinator” apologized (albeit half-heartedly) for his ridiculous tweet
Even the ADL put out a statement condemning the smear campaign stating, “There’s a lot of exaggeration and hyperbole in all the talk about Jets lineman Oday Aboushi. Absolutely nothing in the public record suggests that Aboushi is anything other than a young American athlete who takes pride in his Palestinian heritage.” Furthermore, the overwhelming wave of support was covered across the NY Times (including a quote from yours truly), NY Daily News, the Sporting News, NFL.com and beyond.
What does this whole episode tell us?
While we may not be able silence all bigots & racists, we can & must push for a society that does not accept or tolerate anti-Arab & Islamophobic rhetoric.