The adjunct faculty member at the UCLA School of Law wrote for Al Jazeera : “Concern for loved ones was superseded by a distinctly Arab and Muslim-American psychosis: “Please do not let the culprit be Arab or Muslim.”
Beydoun says its a “gut-wrenching anxiety and debilitating concern, borne out of the implicated guilt that follows every modern terrorist attack from World Trade Center I to Sandy Hook.”
It’s a feeling that seems common to many minorities. Countless Korean Americans felt the same sense of guilt, some would say even shame, after a Korean American was implicated in the Oikos University shooting in Oakland, CA leaving six dead. This was just five years after a Korean American shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007.
Why do so many minorities feel the burden on their shoulders of representing their entire race? Why does every member of their race they see in the news have to represent them too?
Anti-racist activist and author Tim Wise calls it the “burden of representation” to “prove we belong.” This is a result of a seemingly lack of images of people of color in the media.
So suddenly when an image does appear, and its a bad one, that bad image comes to represent us all. It doesn’t make sense. Common sense dictates it shouldn’t be that way. But unfortunately it is that way.
Diversity may be about as much a sense that we do belong as it is about equal opportunity. Unfortunately this “burden of representation” will be felt until diversity is truly achieved in the media. Not until our positive images overtake the negative ones, this burden of representation will never be lifted.
Read Beydoun’s blog in Al Jazeera, and share your stories and thoughts about your burden of representation with AsAmNews.