Case in point - I was watching an interview today with the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, David Ivry. This guy comes off as a mild mannered commentator, but he is a hawk, through and through and has been a part of the Israeli military establishment for well over 40 years.
On the surface, he comes off like an American politician. For someone born overseas, he's obviously worked very hard on developing an American accent. He actually sounds surprisingly like Dick Cheney... however, every now and then it sounds like he's channeling Dr. Strangelove for half a second.
What concerns me is that he said on CNN, while trying to adopt a seemingly unbiased political analyst's stance, "Those people aren't Western thinkers. They don't think like you and me. There's no reasoning with them."
If that's not a racist statement, I don't know what is. It reminds me of the kind of arguments made a century ago to support colonialism. "Those people can't think and they can't even govern themselves. We're doing them a favor..."
Perhaps the media is better off not featuring comments by any biased foreign party if they are just going to propagate hatred and racism in our country. Does it concern Mr. Ivry that Arab Americans have to pay the price of the hatred and distrust that he would have the US foment against the Arabs? I think not. Apparently the ends justify the means.
The contemptuous use of the phrase "those people" is one of the ugliest things that anyone could possibly utter. It is a sad thing that in a new millennium, this phrase is still spoken publicly.
In an ideal world, I would like to think that Mr. Ivry would show the people of our country the common courtesy not to foment racism against "those people" within our borders... because this is the United States, home to one of the world's most culturally and ethnically diverse cultures. Over here, the phrase "those people" is just another way to say "fellow Americans".