TAKING ISLAMOPHOBIA TO THE LIMITS

The following has got to be the stupidest item that appeared in the American press this year… a country that has proven time and time again that there is no limit to ignorance…. or hatred.

First watch the following related video….

Michelle Malkin’s Meltdown Over Dunkin Donuts and Rachael Ray’s Scarf

Michelle Malkin has too much time on her hands.

If you don’t recognize the name, she’s the flavor-of-the-month among conservative commentators. True, she has significant credentials as a journalist. But (and I can say this as an Asian-American woman) she would probably not be where she is today as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, standard-issue conservative. Because Malkin is Filipino – and Asian-Americans are a rare commodity in the conservative movement – she brings with her the cachet of diversity. And that makes her the current conservative ‘It’ girl pundit. But I digress.

Michelle Malkin has too much time on her hands because of what she made Dunkin Donuts do – pull a TV ad featuring All-American girl/talk show host/TV food queen Rachael Ray simply because she was wearing a scarf that looked too ‘Arab.’ Apparently her neckwear resembled a garment called a keffiyeh, as Malkin writes:

The keffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad. Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant (and not so ignorant) fashion designers, celebrities and left-wing icons.

Malkin’s online fuss incited a number of bloggers to climb onto her “Bad Scarf! Bad Dunkin Donuts!” bandwagon. And Dunkin Donuts, fearing a boycott, yanked the commercial from the airwaves. This profoundly bothers me, especially coming from a woman of color. I’d expect a bit more understanding and insight from her than this knee-jerk response. When we demonize people, their apparel and the culture they come from, and practice guilt by association to the extent that we feel threatened by a scarf in a Dunkin Donut commercial, it’s a sad, sad moment.

Just a few decades ago Malkin herself would have been suspect – racially profiled as a person of Asian descent during World War II – after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. (I too would have been suspect; as the half-Japanese daughter of a full-blooded Japanese woman, I – along with my mother – would certainly have been sent to an internment camp.)

So Malkin should understand the slippery slope we step on when we start to go after people on such ridiculous grounds. I know I do.

Multiculturalism is the bedrock underlying our rich American soil; ours is a melting-pot nation where immigrants have planted roots, raised families, and become U.S. citizens. Malkin’s own parents are Filipino immigrants who came here and had a daughter who availed herself of all the advantages an open society has to offer, including education, freedom of speech, and the right to protest a commercial for a coffee shop chain.

Wearing a scarf that looks like a keffiyeh in a TV commercial that sells coffee is not a political statement. It’s nothing more than a fashion accessory that a stylist picked out simply because she thought it looked good on Rachael Ray. That’s all. Story over. Case closed.

And by going after this commercial for that one trivial choice, Malkin cements her reputation as “the Asian Ann Coulter” by creating controversy just to get headlines and attention.

If she has the ear of conservatives nationwide, then do something better with that time and that talent than focusing on television commercials and what pitch people wear.

Photo © Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Addendum: Pierre Tristam, About.com Guide to Middle East Issues, has an insightful and in-depth piece on the meaning and history of the keffieh (the traditional spelling) and looks at it in the context of how it is worn in the Middle East and the larger world. Indiana Jones fans: Pierre notes the keffieh’s influence on pop culture fashion, including the fact that “Sean Connery’s Henry Jones Sr. character, in a nod to Lawrence of Arabia’s fashion sense, [wears] a keffieh toward the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” I urge you to read Pierre’s post and consider the thoughtful perspectives of one who is well-versed in Middle East issues and culture.

And Epicurious.com, the destination of serious foodies, also weighs in with “The Perfect Hate Storm: Malkin vs. Rachael Ray and Dunkin’ Donuts” on its Epi-log blog. Michael Y. Park makes many excellent points about why Malkin’s argument regarding the keffiyeh is flawed.

13 Comments

  1. May 29, 2008 at 13:24

    Uhhhh…

    Where have you guys been?

    It gets worse.

    Try being a woman and wearing a head scarf–NOT a head scarf with even a “Palestinian” pattern.

    Head scarf=Muslim=terrorist. No questions asked.

    People are pummelled by the media, telling them how much “diversity” is encouraged in this country.

    But that does not obtain in the *real* world.

    It is a fantasy of those who want to think well of themselves, but whose actual behaviors are quite different outside of the media fantasy they have even of *themselves*.

    Michael Cecil

  2. May 29, 2008 at 16:21

    I think she is looking for attention. These days, it is a fashion to attack Arabs and Muslims.

  3. CNN SUCKS said,

    May 29, 2008 at 17:29

    Malkin, you can take your tongue outta the zionist media’s asshole.
    You’ve proven to them your effective writing skills in leaving no room for debate.

  4. Michael Malak said,

    May 29, 2008 at 17:33

    Referring to “Michelle Malkin” as the “Asian Ann Coulter” is racist because she does not self-identify as Asian but rather as an “American”, having been born in Philadelphia.

    Otherwise, I of course agree with you, and I think Dunkin Donuts should be boycotted — for caving in to the hatemongerer Michelle Malkin.

  5. Skulz Fontaine said,

    May 29, 2008 at 17:46

    Malkin, Malkin, oh yeah, of the Daniel Pipes’ Brigade of Fascism. That Michelle Malkin? Malkin hasn’t anything good to say about anybody and especially the Japanese. Just you ask old Malkin and she’ll tell you all about it. Oh yes she will. Michelle Malkin of the Daniel Pipes’ Brigade of Fascism, wants to “detain” Muslims and she’d detain the Japanese but, it’s just a snudge too late for that. So for now, she’ll just have to settle for “detaining” Muslims. Malkin plays a rousing rendition of ‘Sphincter Taps’ for Pipes and they’re just a load of laughs at any party. Malkin’s got a splintered bone jammed in her posterior on account of Ann ‘blondie’ Coulter getting all the “face time” with Matt Lauer.

  6. May 29, 2008 at 18:13

    How is it that people who seem relatively intelligent and educated can maintain the opinions they do? I suppose these people or the origins of the term we have here in the US of A-holes–educated idiots.

    I suggested on some news site message board that all rational Americans wear similar scarves. we will call ourselves “The Paisley Liberation Front!” Seriously though, I am going to acquire a Palestinian made keffieh to show MY support of the Palestinian people. Take that you Right-Wing, evangelical loonie faction!

    My forehead is sore this morning from pounding it against a wall. What f’n next, I wonder?

  7. May 30, 2008 at 00:19

    DesertPeace,

    I have to agree with you: “The following has got to be the stupidest item that appeared in the American press this year.”

    I’ve emailed Michelle several times to put up or shut up. Though she supports George W’s wars she won’t join the armed services to support her country.

    To reply to 2. Falastini Hurr: “I think she is looking for attention”.

    Bingo! You win the prize!

    Michelle is a very good looking lady period. It’s too bad she uses her looks to justify George W’s criminality.

    Having said that, Michelle knows that people find her attractive.

    She uses that attribute to further her agenda.

    Does she truly believe in George W’s agenda?

    No. I think Michelle is looking out for Michelle.

    After the November election I’m sure Michelle will start posting articles on her blog about how she and fellow conservatives were screwed by the Republicans and Neocons.

    I’m sure she’ll write a couple of books about her ordeal. Michelle looking after Michelle.

    The books she writes will be best sellers among republicans and conservatives.

    Ca Ching! Michelle is set for life.

    I never had any doubt what she was up to.

    Did you?

    Troubled

  8. Scarlett said,

    May 30, 2008 at 01:56

    Malkin is a product of the US culture. America is driven by the almighty dollar. Literally anything to make a buck is okay. We openly admire the cheat and the criminal who get away with anything — sometimes literally murder. We don’t see victims — we see suckers who got what was coming to them. Except when it happens to us personally — then we are the biggest cry babies around.

    We’ve gotten so caught up in the myth of America that we can’t face the reality. It would destroy our fragile egos which so heavily depend upon the notion that we are morally superior, God’s favorite country (after Israel, of course — don’t want to upset AIPAC and lose campaign bribes).

    We have no concept of personal responsibility or delayed gratification. Those quaint notions got kicked to the curb during the “do it if it feels good” 60s era. And we clearly see now that all those baby boomers were just in it for the sex, drugs and rock n roll because they have nearly all sold out and are quite willing to let soldiers and civilians in the middle east get blown to smithereens as long as their stock portfolios are still okay.

    I love America. But I am saddened and ashamed at how far we have fallen. And how easily we sold our souls to the devil for a few pieces of silver. But, as they say, if you can’t be a good example — you’ll have to serve as a horrible warning. Perhaps future generations will learn the value of history and be able to use the knowledge to prevent another Bush type regime from happening again.

  9. Jill said,

    May 30, 2008 at 04:19

    That malkin lady is as ugly as she is stupid. Somebody please put a bag over its head!

  10. ry said,

    May 31, 2008 at 10:51

  11. ry said,

    May 31, 2008 at 10:57

    Krispy Kream should do an ad with the same scarf. And gather customers.

    Of course we don’t have to speculate that Malkin supports terrorism she admits it. She just doesn’t think that Israelis building racial colonies is terrorism.

    I do wonder how the news gets away with it for so long. If I was ever on a news show to talk about Israel the words out of my mouth would be that Israel builds “settlements” AKA Jewish only towns and cities by means of force in land that id not part of Israel and even if it was it would still be wrong because a)you can’t just demolish people’s homes, b)murdering people is illegal anywhere in the world and c) A City or town based on race/ethnicity is insanely racist and considering that it is protected by a standing army, we call that Apartheid.

    How can settlements be justified? They can’t the best thing the MSM can do is just ignore it like they are not there and that Palestinians just are genetically crazy and attack the Israelis for no reason at all just religious bigotry thats all. Remind me again which religion Judaism or Islam has the concept of a chosen race of god? Which religion is it again whose god promises “his” people real estate via death of anyone else living there Islam or Judaism? And which religion as if it matters has occupied that territory for the majority of history? Which country has used DU and cluster bombs, which side demolishes homes not as acts of individual terrorists but as issued as state policy?

  12. ZiZi Ashkar said,

    May 31, 2008 at 20:20

    This is pitiful. My family came here from parts of West Bank and Gaza to make a better life for their children, thinking that though Israel did not want us, the United States would gladly accept us, you know, the whole “bring me your tired, your weary” thing. Well they were as tired and weary as it gets! It’s bad enough these poor people have had to go through what they did, but their children must endure worse! My grandmother on her deathbed said to me that America isn’t the country she came to over 30 years ago, nor will it be that way again. She apologized to me for this, and told me to ‘go out there and fight the good fight’ wherever that may be. Now that I am about to be a parent myself, I’ve felt the sting of the racism against Arabs that permeates this society even more intensely than before, and am ashamed as an American and a Palestinian that I will not be able to raise my Palestinian/American children in a peaceful and comfortable society, and am further disappointed that people like Malkin are given a platform to justify this racism which my children will endure, not to mention that the fact that this may escalate is ever-so-evident, especially if John McCain becomes President. My brother-in-law, a Palestinian immigrant himself, actually forsees internment camps in the future for us….which is disappointing, as he has contributed hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to this administration, which might ironically be used later to detain and torture him and his relatives, I can’t even bear to think about that plus the fact that my children might grow up in one of these camps as well as myself….it’s really a far cry from what the founding fathers had envisioned.

    I am disgusted that a corporation like Dunkin(which many of it’s franchises are actually owned by Arabs) would stoop to this level when they could have just been more grown-up about it and thought this through. Nobody is going to boycott them because of that scarf, it’s evident it’s not a keffieh, keffiehs don’t look that rough! Plus Americans consume junk food at an alarming level….Dunkin wouldn’t be affected, plus it’s Rachael Ray, who’s known much more for her food than fashion, and Americans generally identify her with that. Let’s face it….there’s no threat I think they were just doing what almost 90% of America has done over the past 8 years—making mountains out of molehills. And it’s people like Malkin that spearhead the campaign.

    Racism should not be acceptable in any form. If it were Jewish people being insulted, there’d be weeks of firestorm about it till someone payed up–literally. If it were blacks, there would be rallies and demonstrations, as well as many high-level religious figures making a fuss and dominating the airwaves for weeks upon weeks, they wouldn’t let it rest. However it wasn’t—the people attacked were Arabs. Not just any Arabs–Palestinians! So this will get maybe a few days of attention and will fade into history like every other anti-Arab action in the past. Even the rape of that 15 year-old girl and the murder of her ENTIRE family got less publicity, while the Natalee Holloway fiasco still gets attention to this day. The fact is, if you’re Arab, you’re not human. Live with it, nobody gives a damn. I have one question–who started this? What fuels their ideology? Really this is a question. I’ve been asking it for a long time. If someone can answer me please tell me. I’d like to know what was the spark that started the flame. It’s not terrorism because this started long before that, it was something else, and I will keep digging till I find it and obliterate it from history forever. Racism in ANY form is unacceptable.

    And that’s JUST what this is–in it’s most classic and obvious form to date. And it should NOT be present in America. Haven’t we come so far to go beyond this?

    Apparently not.

    It’s time for a change.

  13. John M said,

    January 31, 2009 at 14:06

    Malkin looks like a Palestinian took a sh*t on her. She shouldn’t talk at all.


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