Terrorist Costume

  1. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    This probably didn't make national news, but I was wondering what you guys thought of it:
    http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/news/local/15927826.htm?source=rss&channel=dailynews_local

    Picture here: http://www.nbc10.com/education/10237236/detail.html#

    It doesn't bother me that the President of Penn got her picture taken with him - it was a party and I believe that she legitimately didn't realize what he was dressed as. But c'mon - a Syrian dressing as a terrorist for Halloween? If I were a Syrian, there'd be nothing I'd find more personally offensive than to be associated with terrorism, but he's embracing his own negative stereotype. I believe that the guy is just a dumb college student, but jeez - that's really stupid.

    Or am I overreacting...?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Russ, where'd your sense of humor go?
     
  4. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    I agree with Russ (Uh, oh :uhh: :biggrin: ). I think dressing as a terrorist is rather poor taste, as are mock executions. It's like dressing as a Gestapo agent, or Hitler, or other horrible person. Certainly it is a personal thing, but I would not care for such a costume. Certainly those who have lost a family member to a suicide bombing, or execution (beheading), or in a concentration camp may not share the sense of humor.
     
  5. But isn't the usual practice to dress up as something scary, and maybe stupid? We've had monsters and witches, now it's the age of terrorists. ;)
     
  6. LURCH

    LURCH 2,512
    Science Advisor

    Russ is absolutely right.

    It didn't make the national news! (AFAIK)

    It was in very poor taste (rather like dressing as an S.S. trooper during WW2!), but it's just a stupid colege punk.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2006
  7. Gokul43201

    Gokul43201 11,141
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    I thought the idea was more that you were poking fun at the character than "embracing" or glorifying them in any manner. Surely, a person dressed as an axe-murderer or pirate is not expressing solidarity with them and embracing their methods?
     
  8. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
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    I'm not Syrian, but I'll bet the whole "terrorist" stereotype seems really silly to them. It doesn't surprise me at all that they would want to poke fun at it. It would be considerably more disturbing to me if an American did it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2006
  9. I think you are right on point here.

    Look at all the ethnic comedians who exaggerate their stereotypes for laughs.

    BTW-San Francisco values can be expressed in a single word.

    That word is Tolerance
     
  10. You have a good point.

    Personally I would not dress this way.

    Facing those things which make us feel uncomfortable, can be a healthy experience. If I am offended it is because of something internal, being stimulated by something external. I can either control the internal, and get beyond my discomfort, or allow my preconceived prejudices to control my feelings and actions. One path leads to discovery and understanding, while the other leads to ignorance and frustration.
     
  11. Here is a video from the Saad
    Saadi's website.

    I think..
    is an accurate description.

    edit- BTW - He appologizes on his website.
     
  12. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    It is one thing to make fun of oneself or one's group, although that latter may not be appreciated by some, but it quite another to make fun of another group, especially if that other group has been targeted for unkind acts, or worse.

    Also, certainly people have different sensitivities. In a complex society, should not one give thought to how one's actions might offend or hurt another. Why would one go out of one's way to be insensitive or otherwise cause hurt or suffering upon another?

    I'm all for a kinder and gentler world - to borrow from George (the Older) Bush. Thoughtfulness and consideration.
     
  13. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
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    Perhaps I'm missing something here, but isn't this student making fun of the stereotypes of his own group?
     
  14. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    You mean 'terrorists', or Syrians or Arabs or Muslims? I don't know what group he is claiming to satirize. I think most Syrians, Arabs or Muslims would be offended. And I think those whose family has suffered from terrorism would find it hurtful.
     
  15. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
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    I mean the stereotypes aimed at anyone who looks like they might come from the Middle East, including Syrians. "Terrorist" is the stereotype, not the group.


    I'm not so sure. There's an Iranian in my department who regularly cracks jokes about being a terrorist.

    I think the mock executions were going a bit overboard, but let's not forget that this was a Halloween costume. My favorite quote from the first article:

    :rofl:
     
  16. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    By definition, a Syrian who comes to America is likely pro-american, but polls taken in Syria show an extrordinarily high fraction of the country supports, or at least, sympathizes with the terrorists.

    I'm having trouble finding stats for Syria, but here's a poll that has stats for Jordan and Lebanon: http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=248

    And because of that dichotomy, I'd think a Syrian who is so far outside the mainstream of his country would recognize it as a problem and not use it in that way.

    To me, this is roughly equivalent to if a white Southern redneck dressed up as a Klansman at a costume party. Would you consider that acceptable? To me, it makes a difference how real the problem is and racism is still too real to use in that way. Terrorism goes into the same category to me.
     
  17. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,081
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    Was it in poor taste? Sure.

    Does that mean people don't do things that are in poor taste? Nope.

    Does that make it reprehensible? Nope.

    It's counterculture. At some point, some people, sooner than others, get sick of whatever is to be feared, reviled or derided in our world, and make a joke about it. Thus begins the process of normalization of traumatic events.
     
  18. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,081
    Gold Member

    There is no such thing as different levels or flavours of racism (or racial sterotyping).

    It is by definition the categorization of a person by his race, regardless of who is being categorized or who is doing the categorizing.

    Thus, yes, he is still racially sterotyping.
     
  19. i laughed when i read the syrian part, i instantly thought "no, he couldn't have gone that far, thats just too much". personally i find it funny because there arn't problems with terrorism or racism where i live but i could see how an american soldier just finished a tour in iraq would instinctively try to give this guy a swirly
     
  20. SpaceTiger

    SpaceTiger 2,977
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    I very strongly disagree with that statement. If I subconsciously single out a white person for conversation, do you find that equally reprehensible to my shouting racial slurs at a minority on the street?


    Obviously. A definition like that is pretty useless without social context, however.

    Besides, I was responding to what Astronuc said, which suggested that this person wasn't stereotyping his own group.
     
  21. BobG

    BobG 2,340
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    I agree with Russ. Dressing up as a terrorist is closer to dressing up as a Klansman than as a pirate, witch, or axe-murderer.

    The second three are mostly fantasy today while racism and terrorism are way too current to be amusing.
     
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