People are criticizing me for engaging with Katie Hopkins. I take these questions seriously and contemplate them deeply
This is a thread from last year in which I tried to "think aloud" about how to deal with hateful speech.
I don't claim to have an answer. But I don't want to be berated when I try to do what I can to counter hateful narratives.
There is a grand negotiation ongoing in the Western psyche on whether or not Muslims - full Muslims - are allowed the same full protections as anyone else, and indeed whether their presence is as "valid" as anyone else's.
This is the essence of racialization - it's not about petty bigotry, it's about exclusion. The question behind all these narratives is whether Muslims are to be included or excluded.
And exclusion is always justified by the extremes - by amplifying the under 1% of Western Muslim men who commit terror, or the under 1% of Western Muslim women who wear the niqab.
These debates may superficially seem to be about safety, or security, or women's rights, or freedom of speech - but make no mistake, they're not really about that. They're about whether Muslims "belong here".
So they try to gore you on one of two horns - you either appear to be "defending" that 1%, or you accept that their presence (and by extension that of the 100%) is conditional and negotiable
So if you give them that those 1% "do not belong here", or "don't fit in" or "don't reflect our values", then you've accepted that the presence of Muslims in the West is more negotiable than any other group. Nobody questions whether a white supremacist terrorist "belongs here".
Again, I don't have any final answers, but I just want to say that this is more complex than it seems. And no, it's not a debate over civility or radicalization or women's rights. It's not.
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