Dissecting Racism and Bigotry

Jabbering Jabba The Greenhut Strikes Again

Steven Greenhut posts on the Orange County Register’s OrangePunch Blog on Friday October 13, 2006 under the heading “Islamophobia charges are ludicrous.” This is a good one, the jabbering Jabba the Greenhut feebly tries to justify the attacks on Bill Dalati as justifiable political debate.

Greenhut starts off claiming that Steel criticized Dalati’s “extremist views.” Extremist Views? Sounds like code speak for “terrorist views” to me. Steel did not refer to Dalati as an American Businessman. He highlighted his country origin, which was intended to automatically register in the mind of the reader as code for “Terrorist Businessman.” Steel, in a deliberately racist way, chose to identify Dalati as Syrian Businessman rather than acknowledge that he is an American.

Greenhut repeated Steel’s claims that Dalati supported a far-left rally titled “Rally Against U.S.-Israeli Terror in Palestine and Lebanon,” that his Arab American Broadcasting Co. sponsored an event in 2000 that included a “prayer for the martyrs,” and that “Dalati stood up for controversial Islamic marriage contracts in the United States that would deny women alimony in a divorce.”

As I have stated before, the rally was a rally for peace and an end to the violence in that part of the world. It was not a protest to promote anti-American or Anti-Israeli sentiment. It is absurd to for Steel to question Dalati’s fitness to serve on the City Council in Anaheim because he supported a peace rally. The prayers Steel demonized are traditionally offered at Muslim gatherings. In fact, Christians have prayers for their martyrs as well but the greater question here is why is why would this be relevant in a political context other than to incite an anti-Islamic attitude towards Dalati.

On the matter of Islamic law related to divorce Steel further incited a negative view of Dalati based upon his faith. How is this different from the Christian theocratic view that there should be no separation between Church and State; the belief that the Bible (literally interpreted) should be the guiding law of the land; the belief that civil rights protections for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender individuals is contrary to the Bible and God’s law. How are Dalati’s beliefs regarding marriage and Islamic law any different from those of Lou Sheldon on the Christian right who wishes to apply the same standards based upon his faith? The only difference is the religion, and therefore nothing more than religion based hate speech.

Greenhut attempts to justify Steels’ hate speech and his own by suggesting that since he knows nothing about Dalati’s stands on city issues that questioning his patriotism, his ethnic origin, his values, and his religion is fair game. Both Greenhut and Steel are wrong. Dalati’s faith should not be an issue in a City Council race. A relevant question to ask would be to ask if his faith, or the Constitution and laws of the United States and California would have more bearing upon his decisions as a Councilmember.

Mr. Dalati’s perspectives about the conflicts in the Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories are not relevant to his Council campaign. His opposition to war is not an issue and it is vile for Greenhut or Steel to question Dalati’s patriotism and his allegiance to this county because of his opposition to the violence in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.

In his letter, Steel asserts: “There is much more to learn about Bill Dalati. He has given funds to Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney at a CAIR reception.” I cannot find any justifiable reason why Steel would call these contributions into question and deliberately ignore his contributions to prominent Republicans such as Congressmembers, Ed Royce, Gary Miller, and Dana Rohrabacher. I have to ask the question why, other than to mislead, would Steel do that?

Towards the end of his letter Steel states: “The purpose for a CAIR activist to gain a seat on the Anaheim city council would be to raise his prominence in the California political community.” This is clearly an anti-Arab and anti-Islamic statement. If you accept the inference of the phrase “CAIR activist” as code speech for Arab or Islamic activist the true bigotry of Steel’s comment is revealed. Imagine the outrage of Christian activists if Dalati, or one of his supporters said of Bob Hernandez; “The purpose for a Mexican-Catholic activist to gain a seat on the Anaheim City Council would be to raise his prominence in the California political community.”

Steven Greenhut closes his post by suggesting that by his mentioning his experiences with Arab-Americans in Orange County that “makes me an Islamophobe or a bigot to CAIR, to local Democratic Party officials and to some others. Such charges, though, are nothing more than an attempt to shut down legitimate discussion of some activists political and religious viewpoints.”

Mr. Greenhut I support your right to defend the racist and bigoted perspectives of Shawn Steel. I even support your right to share or promote those views. Criticisms by CAIR, the Democratic Party, me, and others of those comments and perspectives are not meant to shut down legitimate discussion. Rather, they are simply counter-points to the irrational and unjustified attempts by Mr. Steel and others to link a person’s race, ethnicity, individual political contributions, or religious faith to their fitness to serve in an elected office.

  25 comments for “Dissecting Racism and Bigotry

  1. October 14, 2006 at 2:19 pm

    He criticizes Dalati for so-called “extremist” beliefs, but no word on Howard Ahmanson Jr.’s contributions to the Yes on 90 campaign. Maybe because it’s Greenhut’s widdle baby pet Proposition? Ahmanson is reputed to be a Christian Reconstructionist who advocates a return to “strict biblical law” and kinda understands how people could stone homosexuals.
    Check out blogs.ocweekly.com/blotter for more on Prop 90′s financial backers (who tend to be filthy-rich dudes named Howard)

  2. October 15, 2006 at 1:09 am

    Yes… How about that Howard Rich, the crazy NEW YORK libertarian who’s been spending like nuts who’s now bankrolling the Yes on Prop 90 folks?

  3. October 15, 2006 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks, Chris, for another example of your singluar brand of psychic arrested-adolescent name-calling.

    Sometimes I think you have been right at home next to Robespierre on the Committee ofr Public Safety.

  4. October 15, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    Aw, poor Matt Cunningham.

    Still sore that your blog’s become renowned as a source of bigotry and bias?

    Sometimes I think you forget how hypocritical your name-calling is. How do you justify it to yourself; with the pre-adolescent “he did it first” mentality?

  5. October 15, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    Matt — did you admonish your buddy Jon Fleischman after he ran a column calling Angellides “Bozo” the clown, complete with a photo?

    Don’t remember seeing any notes from you to Jon in the comments section of Flash Report?

    I take heart knowing that every Republican vote for Arnold is really a vote for a moderate Democrat; Arnold has run so far to the left that it moust be killing most Republicans

  6. ocdem
    October 15, 2006 at 5:47 pm

    I have to agree with Dan.

    I consider myself pretty liberal by OC standards. But if Arnold keeps running to the left I might join the Lincoln Club.

  7. October 15, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    Alex B-Z:

    Try not to act your age. I have no regrets about Red County/OC Blog publishing Steel’s letter. Wish as you might, young man, our blog will never be known as that except by the few who traffic blogs like this — and I would never expect their approval in any case.

    The media buys the “it’s racist!” spin — but that’s to be expected. That’s an easy, no-thinking-involved kind-of-story rto write.

  8. October 15, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    Dan:

    Posters on my blog do throw in eptihets like Bozo on occasion. And sometimes more than on occasion. I do myself.

    However, none of us base our arguments on name-calling. For the most part, Chris Prevatt’s posts are built on name-calling, innuendo, assumptions and claims to know their inner thoughts and motivations of others.

  9. October 15, 2006 at 8:47 pm

    Jubal,

    You can dish it out, but I guess you can’t take it.

    Methinks you doth protest too much in response to CHristopher’s comments.

  10. October 15, 2006 at 9:11 pm

    well, I haven’t resorted to name calling yet, but that could change, as I’m psychic, you know.

    But I have long suspected you guys on the right are not used to being challenged in any way. And while Republicans do have an advantage in the OC, that grip is getting weakr with every new development that goes up and every new family that relocates here from the East Coast or Midwest.

    Name-caling won’t work anymore and “Liberal” is not a dirty word.

  11. October 15, 2006 at 9:57 pm

    Jubal,

    Nice to see that your wife finally gave you your balls back so that you could come out and play.

    In the area of juvenille name calling you have participated in your share. One example is your May 2nd post “Cassie DeNimby Fighting Crematorium…In Anaheim.”

    I am glad that you are proud to be associated with the racist and biggotted comments of Shawn Steel, it reveals a great deal about your character.

    It is also revealing that when you have nothing to counter an argument or perspective that you choose to attack the messanger rather than the message. I raised some vaild points as to why Shawn Steel’s comments are racist and biggoted. I must presume that if you had something to counter with, you would share it with us.

    I guess just like with second-hand smoke, you choose not to believe the evidence.

  12. Jubal
    October 16, 2006 at 7:35 am

    Chris:

    You just prove my point with every post and comment. Keep it up.

  13. October 16, 2006 at 7:55 am

    Thanks for the encouragement Jubal.

    You seem to prove my point as well.

    Look like you’ve still got nothin. :)

  14. October 16, 2006 at 8:15 am

    Ya know, I still can’t quite understand why Greenhut, Cunningham, et al, would attack someone in THEIR OWN PARTY with such vitriol…
    Is the GOP really that racist and Islamophobic that it would go after one of their own like they have against Dalati?

    Oh, and I still can’t understand why Dalati is still willing them another chance! When someone tried to reregister Dalati as a Democrat, HE WAS STILL HESITANT to do it! I don’t know how he can stand such abuse by the likes of Steel and his OC lackeys…
    I just don’t!

    Hey, but at least I understand that Dalati’s got a hechuva a lot more huevos than Jubal, who’s whining because Chris is taking him to task for exposing his GOP friends for the bigots that they really are!

  15. October 16, 2006 at 8:26 am

    Chris:

    Wow — you managed to write something that wasn’t obscene or vulgar. You get a gold star for effort.

  16. October 16, 2006 at 8:35 am

    does anyone know if Dalati hired Pacific Strategies to do any work for him? Bet he’d get better press on the right wing blogs if he did.

  17. October 16, 2006 at 8:36 am

    Is the GOP really that racist and Islamophobic that it would go after one of their own like they have against Dalati?

    Andrew,

    Nice “when did you stop beating your wife?” question.

    Not that it will make any difference to you and the rest of the Dem apparatchiks parroting the party line, but my concerns about Dalati are three-fold:

    1) His donation to Cynthia McKinney, for which he has offered at least two different explanations.

    2) His support for a Muslim man’s attempt to cheat his ex-wife out of alimony by saying he’d already piad her a $30 dowry back in Egypt — and asking a U.S. court to recognize that.

    3) His joining with a panoiply of leftist groups to sponsor a “Rally Against U.S.-Israeli Terror in Palestine and Lebanon.”

    The Dalati defenders conveniently
    overlook all these and by trying to shout down criticisms as being “racist and bigoted” excuse Dalati from having to defend his decisions.

    Screaming epithets is not the same as mounting an argument or “standing up to the Right.”

  18. October 16, 2006 at 8:39 am

    does anyone know if Dalati hired Pacific Strategies to do any work for him? Bet he’d get better press on the right wing blogs if he did.

    Hahahahahahahah. Oh boy – you’re so funny, Dan.

    Weren’t you preening a little while ago about how haven’t resorted to name-calling yet?

  19. October 16, 2006 at 8:49 am

    Matt Cunningham (JUBAL),

    The criticisms you write on this page are valid ones. I don’t necessarily agree, but they are based in reality.

    The criticism posted on your blog and that are contained in Steel’s letter are very different. They call Dalati “anti-american” and attempt to allign his Syrian heritage with terrorism and something “scary.”

    I’m not overlooking your arguments…I just don’t care about them.

  20. October 16, 2006 at 8:53 am

    Jubal

    You still don’t get it.

    1) His donation to Cynthia McKinney, for which he has offered at least two different explanations.

    (A $500 donation to McKinney is nothing compared to the thousands given to Republican PACs and candidates.)

    2) His support for a Muslim man’s attempt to cheat his ex-wife out of alimony by saying he’d already paid her a $30 dowry back in Egypt — and asking a U.S. court to recognize that.

    (No different than the Right wing of the Republican Party that wants Christian Biblical Law to be the law of the land.)

    3) His joining with a panoply of leftist groups to sponsor a “Rally Against U.S.-Israeli Terror in Palestine and Lebanon.”

    (For the thousandth time, it was a PEACE RALLY and please stop arguing that the people of Lebanon and Palestine have not been terrorized.)

  21. October 16, 2006 at 9:24 am

    I’m not overlooking your arguments…I just don’t care about them.

    What aspect of the Dalati brou-ha-ha do you care about, if any?

  22. October 16, 2006 at 9:26 am

    Chris:

    Those are all dodges. If you are unable to directly respond to the concerns I cited, why do you bother to comment on them at all?

  23. October 16, 2006 at 9:38 am

    Matt — that wasn’t name calling; it was a joke. I think you will agree, sarcasm doesn’t always translate well in bits and bytes…

  24. October 16, 2006 at 9:43 am

    The criticism posted on your blog and that are contained in Steel’s letter are very different. They call Dalati “anti-american” and attempt to allign his Syrian heritage with terrorism and something “scary.”

    Mike,

    I have already commnented on Red County/OC Blog on what I see as the luird phrasing in Steel’s e-mail. I don’t know why he phrased it that way — perhaps for shock value. The net effect was to detract from the concerns he was calling attention to — the same ones I cited, plus some others that I don’t think amount to anything. It allowed Dalati to side-step addressing those issues.

    Also, Shawn didn’t call Dalati anti-American. He characterized the rally Dalati co-sponsored as anit-American.

  25. October 16, 2006 at 9:51 am

    Matt,

    I said in my original post on the Dalati drama that I’d be fine if the Republican smear machine was calling Dalati a “RINO” or criticizing his contributions to McKinney. That’s all part of playing the game.

    What is despicable is this invented argument that Dalati is anti-American, or that he has ties to extremist groups.

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