Tsarnaevs Are More Like US Mass Killers Than Terrorists
Joan Walsh wonders why they're being viewed as 'non-white'
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2013 12:27 PM CDT
Updated Apr 22, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
This Monday, April 15, 2013 photo provided by Bob Leonard shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, third from left, and second from left, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev.   (AP Photo/Bob Leonard)

(Newser) – Conservatives jumped all over a Salon columnist who wrote a piece last week headlined, "Let's Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American"—and when the suspects were revealed, conservatives gloated that they were not, in fact, white Americans. But the Tsarnaev brothers "are quite literally Caucasian, as in from the Caucuses," writes Joan Walsh on Salon. Plus, the US Census Bureau considers Americans of Chechen or Russian descent to be white, and one of the brothers was a naturalized American citizen. So why don't right-wingers consider them to be white?

Walsh considers a few possibilities:

  • America has a history of "sorting white from non-white." Many European immigrants "became" white as time went on, society became more accepting, and decidedly "non-white" people started arriving. "Embracing racism and xenophobia, sadly, could be a shortcut to white status for previously non-white European immigrants."
  • Of course, it could boil down to the simple fact that the Tsarnaevs are Muslim, immigrants, or simply that "they’re 'bad,' and whiteness must be surrendered when white people are bad," Walsh writes.
But, Walsh points out, the brothers actually have more in common with other mass murderers than they do with al-Qaeda terrorists. By insisting they're not white, conservatives are simply proving the original Salon columnist's point: White American murderers basically escape scapegoating and racial profiling, but with the Tsarnaevs being viewed as non-white, you can expect "a destructive new wave of ... anti-Muslim agitation [and] generalized xenophobia." Click for Walsh's full column.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Tsarnaevs Are More Like US Mass Killers Than Terrorists is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 79 comments
Apr 23, 2013 1:50 PM CDT
Oh, look, another opinionated article; oh newser, will you ever become 'moderate', like you claim to be. Both sides play the race card, so hate equally.
Apr 23, 2013 4:26 AM CDT
Does it really matter if they are white or not. Terrorists may be of all colors. While there is still a lot to learn it appears to be the possibility that they were influenced by radical islam. We still dont know why one of them was questioned by the FBI long before this incident, and why no action was taken when one returned from Russia. The media needs to be more responsible & not continue to feed the speculation that is going on. This appears to be a terrorist act.
Apr 22, 2013 10:26 PM CDT
This is the most agenda-driven, piece of shit article and summary I've ever seen. Why are some people so scared to call it was it is? Terrorism, plain and simple.