I’m sure that this could be a regularly column around here, but, at the risk of stating the obvious: racists are lazy, lazy thinkers.
Like, by the time you make a racist conclusion, you’ve had to renounce reason, defy logic, distort data, and ignore (and/or) fabricate facts. It’s one of the reasons why I argue that college campuses, even public ones, have no obligation to cede anything other than the sidewalk (so, no need to rent rooms for meetings or invite speakers using student government money) to racists, misogynists, and other haters. College is a place where you learn to think critically, and, at the risk of making a No True Scotsman argument, no good thinking ever leads to a hateful conclusion.
Anyway, here is today’s entry in my Racists are Lazy Thinkers log:
In September, Spirit Boeing Aerosystems employee Munir Zanial threw a party to celebrate Malaysian Independence Day and, possibly (see Update below), Eid el-Adha. He rented the company’s lakeside property for the event, as employees are allowed to do. Party-goers took photos of themselves with the Malaysian flag.
He was promptly reported by a co-worker for throwing a party in which people work “Muslim garb” and showed “an American flag desecrated with ISIS symbols.”
Can you imagine it! A Malaysian immigrant with an engineering degree, throwing a pro-ISIS party right out there in the open! What audacity! (Also, what terribly inept terrorists!)
Now, that should have been the little tattle-tales first clue that their complaint had no merit. What are the chances that Wichita, Kansas has an ISIS sleeper cell that gathers together to play cornhole and throw Frisbees?
Above, the US flag. Below, the Malaysian flag. The blue of the Malaysian flag is a nod to the Union Jack, as Malaysia was a British protectorate. The stripes and points on the star represent the 13 states and capitol city. Guess what, Spirit Boeing Aerosystem Good Citizen? The US doesn’t own the patent on putting stripes of a flag. And a crescent isn’t a “symbol of ISIS.” In fact, the flag most often associated with ISIS doesn’t even include a crescent.
The complaint went to the FBI, which closed the case (with eyes rolled, I hope) in October.
But Zanial found in January that his membership to the employee association has been “restricted” due to September’s events. His case has been taken up by the ACLU, which is arguing that he has faced discrimination because of his religion. I hope he wins enough money to retire.
I want to be clear that I’m not discouraging anyone who sees something concerning from saying something. But maybe start with a simple google search of what the Malaysian and ISIS flags look like? Just, like, for your own peace of mind?
PS. Zanial is a Malaysian national who has lived in the US since 2011. Spirit Boeing Aerosystems, by the way, operates a plant in Malaysia that, after this spring’s expansion, will employee 1000 people. It looks to me like we’re wiling to accept the lowered cost of building planes when that work is done by Malaysians but not willing to make space for them here. Way to go, America.
Update: Thanks to my friend DRS for noting that an earlier version of this post, relying on incorrect information that still appears in the link to the Wichita Eagle, said that Zanial’s party was to celebrate the end of Ramadan. That is incorrect. Ramadan was in May in 2017. Hari Merdeka (Malaysian Independence Day) is August 31. Eid el-Adha, a commemoration of Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, was observed at the same time. I should have caught the error.
Also, thanks to JH for noting that Zanial was an employee of Spirit Boeing Aerosystems, not Spirit Airlines.
Side note: I have a lot of smart, attentive friends, and I’m so grateful for you!