Update about earlier
For those that have been keeping up with my blog, I posted earlier about the bomb threat that was made at UT Austin which resulted in the evacuation of the buildings. As of noon, the buildings have reopened, but classes have been cancelled for the day. Basically, this is the third week of school, and we have yet to have a full five-day week.
But that’s not important. What I do find important is the mystery behind who committed this crime. And of course, because of how society has be structured, a lot of people’s immediate thoughts were that the bomb threats were made by a member of Al-Qaeda, especially in the wake of the release of a very Islamophobic released recently called “Innocence of Muslims.” The report about the bomb threat made at 8:35am this morning was that the person who called talked in a Middle-Eastern accent and claimed they were affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
But let’s check the facts here: a phone call does not validate someone’s racial/ethnic identity nor is it enough evidence to automatically assume it’s someone of Middle-Eastern descent who is making these threats. It could very much be someone (probably a white person) speaking in a false accent trying to stir up Islamophobic thoughts and accusations.
It’s very easy to jump to conclusions in situations like this, but let’s be honest here people: there’s still not enough evidence to pinpoint who exactly caused the evacuation of an entire college campus, especially one as big as UT. Nor is it credible to automatically assume that the culprit is of Muslim belief. The only thing this does validate is how much society has internalized racism/Islamophobia into our minds that some of us automatically make assumptions such as this. We gain nothing by resorting to racist assumptions in situations like this. All that arises from it is rifts that are formed between those that are affected by this.
And that’s something we just can’t afford.
That was pretty much my reaction too. Austin is an overwhelmingly white city and apparently incidents of racism on campus have been increasing, so for this to come at a time when water balloons full of bleach are being thrown at Black students and other people of color from frat houses is chilling. My instinct is that the culprit was probably white (or not even Muslim) but this will still be used to justify Islamophobia and further incidents of racism on campus. Ugh.