In the video entitled “Pueblo GOP Chair Backs Rep. Lauren Boebert Despite Her Apology,” news reporters provide details of a recent debate over Lauren Boebert’s comments about Ilhan Omar. Boebert, a representative of the third congressional district of Colorado, publicly shared a story that allegedly happened at the Capitol, and this story was video-recorded. According to Boebert, she was in the elevator with Ilhan Omar — a Minnesota Democratic Representative and a Muslim — when a police officer ran hurriedly up. Boebert said, referring to Omar: “Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine” (“Pueblo GOP Chair”). Since these comments were regarded as islamophobic, Boebert made her apologies to Omar. Yet, according to the reporters, other politicians saw nothing inappropriate in Boebert’s remarks and seemed to believe that no consequences should follow (“Pueblo GOP Chair”). However, in my opinion, discriminating comments made by people working in Congress should be discouraged. If they are overlooked, it would lead to their normalization and prevent American society from eradicating social inequalities, including racism and Islamophobia.
First of all, one should figure out why Boebert’s comments are regarded as islamophobic. Islamophobia refers to hostility, hatred, or prejudice toward Muslims, which can be either overt or hidden, manifesting itself in unequal treatment of Muslims. Because of Islamophobia, Muslims can be discriminated against in the workplace, education, political life, and other areas. Boebert’s comments are islamophobic because they reflect her prejudice against Muslims. Boebert sees Omar as “a potential suicide bomber” only because she is a Muslim, which is a clear sign of bias (“Pueblo GOP Chair”). One distinctive feature of Islamophobia is that it views Muslims as a homogenous group with unchanging beliefs and practices. It is evident from Boebert’s comments that, for her, Muslims are inseparably related to terrorism. However, this view is highly biased because many Muslims condemn terrorism and have nothing to do with it. Muslims are not a monolithic group; like Christians, Jews, and other population groups, they have different beliefs and identities, and they deserve fair treatment.
In my opinion, people working in Congress should choose their expressions wisely and take responsibility for their words. Representatives are elected to represent the interests of the entire population of their districts; therefore, their actions are watched, and their words are carefully listened to. One can assume that representatives serve as role models for the rest of the population, given their important role in shaping public policy. Therefore, when these people allow themselves to make discriminatory comments, they send a message to the public that such behavior is appropriate.
In the given case, Boebert’s islamophobic remarks may be understood as her authorization of discrimination against Muslims. Other politicians’ responses to her comments and apology are further normalizing Islamophobia. For example, the Pueblo County Republican Party chair, Robert Leverington, said, “I don’t know why she apologized,” implying that her comments were not a significant problem and required no apology (“Pueblo GOP Chair”). I think that the reaction should be different; discriminatory comments should be publicly disapproved, and congressmen should face at least some consequences for making them. Otherwise, it would mean that people are allowed to call Muslims terrorists, and discrimination against this group will persist.
In conclusion, Islamophobia may have negative consequences for Muslims because they are likely to face discrimination in many areas of life. Political figures are at the center of public attention, and the things they say have the power to influence public attitudes and opinions. Therefore, when one representative makes islamophobic comments and others condone it, the public can reach a conclusion that Islamophobia is normal and appropriate. In order to avoid this, political figures should serve as strong role models by carefully choosing their words, taking responsibility for their mistakes, and holding others accountable for their behaviors.
“Pueblo GOP Chair Backs Rep. Lauren Boebert Despite Her Apology.” YouTube, uploaded by NewsChannel 13, 2021, Web.