The level of hatred is so bad in America these days that even "looking" like a terrorist should give someone reason to fear.
After Sept. 11, 2001, some 14 people who "looked" Middle Eastern were murdered by assailants angered by the terrorist attacks.
The number of hate crime incidents against anyone who even looks Arab -- Sikhs, Pakistanis, dark-skinned Italians, and Arabs -- has continued since the terrorist attacks more than seven years ago.
Some were Middle Eastern but most were not. Suspects in several of the killings admitted they were angered because of their victim's "ethnicity" and the terrorism, but no hate crimes charges were ever brought against any of the killers. "Backlash terrorism" is not considered a crime, but it should be. Including when TV talk show hosts are accused of supporting terrorism by sporting "jihadi chic" clothing.
It was all driven by fear, and hate-mongering. Anyone who looked like a terrorist or dressed like a terrorist had to be a terrorist.
At a music store I frequented, the clerk there was Italian and had long hair a beard and a mustache. Several days after Sept. 11, I asked where he was and a clean-shaven man in a suit came up and said it was him. There had been so many vocal attacks from customers about how he looked, he said he had no choice but to change his lifestyle.
Mexican Americans in Chicago were forced to drape the Mexican Flag around their car front hoods so that people would stop accusing them of being terrorists -- better to be labeled an "illegal immigrant" than a "terrorist."
So many of my Muslim American friends stopped going out for months, removed their hijabs (head coverings once called "babushkas" in the 1970s), or draped their heritage flags around their car hoods.
This week, the continued hate crime frenzy in this country took another victim, the popular television food channel host Rachael Ray.
Oh yeah. You didn't know that Rachael Ray is un-American? Unpatriotic? A supporter of terrorists?
According to Michelle Malkin, one of the leading purveyors of hate in America today, Rachael Ray is promoting hatred and support of terrorists by what she wears.
The cute little Rachael Ray, an Emmy Award-winning television talk show host, launched her now popular food talk show on Sept. 18, 2006 with guest Diane Sawyer. Ray's guests have run the gamut from popular celebrities, newsmakers and American icons who joined her in fun, frolicking and talk of food.
But according to Malkin, considered one of the country's most prolific purveyors of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hatred, Ray might also be a "terrorist" sporting "a jihadi chic keffiyeh" in the Dunkin' Donuts ad. Malkin was coy about targeting Ray and Dunkin' Donuts, which she says "she likes."
Yet, who knows? Maybe the DD could be a hangout for terrorists, according to Malkin's logic. Why else do so many police officers hang out at them?
Dunkin' Donuts hired Ray to help promote one of their iced-coffee drinks. They shot the commercial and Ray wore a black and white checkered scarf with a paisley floral design around her neck.
Immediately Malkin, a Fox News "commentator" declared that Ray's choice of clothing:
"has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad. Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant -- and not-so-ignorant -- celebrities, and left-wing icons."
Oh. Celebrities and left-wing icons, like the many Ray has brought on her show -- Malkin was not invited, apparently.
Fearing a backlash in today's post-Sept. 11 world of hatred and its consequences, Dunkin Donuts pulled the advertisement, explaining meekly:
"In a recent online ad, Rachael Ray is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design. It was selected by her stylist for the advertising shoot [...] Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we are no longer using the commercial."
The "possibility of misperception?"
How about downright hate?
In today's post-Sept. 11 terrorized and traumatized American world, we don't tolerate the "symbols" of hatred.
But we do tolerate the hate.