We Are All Suspects Term Paper

Pages: 7 (1882 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Terrorism

¶ … society labels individuals, which sometimes causes the individuals to become what they are suspected of being. The write explores the events of 9-11 and how that event impacted immigrant families around the country as told through the book, "We Are All Suspects Now" by Tram Nguyen. In addition the writer explores the theory of labeling and applies it to the problems arising from the 9-11 event. There were two sources used to complete this paper.

Five years ago as the world watched in horror the World Trade Towers of New York City toppled taking with them almost 4,000 innocent citizens who had been in the towers, in the planes or on the streets near the towers when they came down. It was an event that would spark American residents to action and the call to war was quickly answered.

While few will argue the anger and full range of emotions that event created in the hearts of most Americans little attention has been paid to the immigrants of the country who were quickly put in fear of their lives. News channels broadcast footage of immigrant taxi drivers leaving their taxis in the middle of streets and fleeing for their lives as angry hysterical Americans tried to chase them down to make them pay for the horrors they had suffered.

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This began before the tower dust had even finished settling or the final survivors made it out of the buildings. Following the events of 9-11 however, attention turned to suspicion. Suspicion of anyone who looked as though they might have come from Middle Eastern descent became commonplace. Imagine what it was like at that time to have a Middle Eastern accent. Imagine the fear of parents who watched angry Americans eye their children on playgrounds or follow their adult family members home from the Mosques. It has been a time of interesting illumination as the nation realizes that racism is still alive and well within its boundaries, only now it is disguised as homeland security.


Term Paper on We Are All Suspects Now Assignment

To be an immigrant of any type in America has always had its challenges. To be an immigrant today from the Middle east in America can be dangerous and presents significant challenges for those who brave the streets and workforce with heads held high.

Tram Nguyen's book, We Are All Suspects Now, presents a clear cut bird's eye view of what has happened to this country since the events of 9-11 occurred. People who want nothing more than to work, attend school and worship, raise their families and live their lives are subjected to fear, racism and hatred based solely on their background.

In a state not unlike what Blacks went through in the early part of this past century, those who are from the Middle East now face anger that is unfounded and based in fear. Unlike the Blacks of the country however, the Middle Eastern immigrants are also targeted as being terrorists, a word that can create acts of violence without warning based on fear of terrorism or terrorist ties.

African-Americans had to fear violence based on color as well however, today, the greater violence potential is against immigrants who are suspect simply because they speak with an accent or have dark hair and dark eyes and attend Mosque.

The problem with this mindset is that it has the potential of turning innocent and quiet people into the very angry people that they are feared to be. Through the use of labeling and the theories behind that labeling it is quite possible that the nation'[s treatment of those who appear to be of Middle eastern descent may become angry and begin acting out with acts of violence or anti-American hatred based on the fact that they are already labeled and accused as such.

The book contrasts the families being portrayed between what their lives were like before the events of 9-11 and after those events (Nguyen, 2005). Before the 9-11 attacks most of the families had good jobs and were saving money so that they could bring additional family members to America, a place that they respected and were proud to live in. After the events of 9-11 however, everything changed and they were forced to live in fear, not only of retaliation on the street but also of the government to which they had fled to live under in America (Nguyen, 2005). Just after the events of 9-11 occurred the nation's government rounded up more than 1,000 Middle Eastern men and held them without attorneys, charges or explanation bout why they were being held or how long they might expect to be held.

They sent many through deportation examinations and eventually discovered that not one of those who had been picked up and detained had a terrorist tie of any kind.

The author's main arguments include the belief that the American government treated those that it detained like animals and that horrible things happened to them during some of those experiences. In addition the author argues that the way to turn someone into what they are being accused of is to do so through this type of treatment, though he doesn't come out and say they will make terrorists he implies that they are treated so badly it would not take a lot to turn them into anti-American supporters.

One of the things that the nation must be careful of is the act of labeling and its eventual impact on those who are labeled. According to experts in the field of social sciences, people who are labeled are indeed treated differently and people who are consistently treated differently eventually become what they are initially labeled with.

One example is the labeling of delinquent juveniles.

If a juvenile is caught doing something for excitement many experts believe it is a part of growing up and learning about who he is. However, if the shopkeepers and the judges decide to label him as a delinquent or an evil person and they do so that child will begin being treated as such and will eventually come to believe that is who he really is and start acting as such.

The textbook illustrates this effect through a study of eight mentally healthy participants in a study. The participants were coached on what to say to gain admission to a mental institution as schizophrenics.

Once they were admitted however they reverted to normal healthy behavior, The staff members believing they were schizophrenics began labeling their normal and acceptable behaviors as manifestations of their disorder. If a patient was seen writing something he was noted as being an obsessive note taker for example.

The families in this book are treated in the same manner. When they were doing their daily activities before the events of 9-11 occurred they were not labeled as problems or terrorists (Nguyen, 2005). If they walked down the street late at night they were not suspected of creating terrorist plots. When they attended their individual religious events, typically at a Mosque no one thought that they were using the building as a cover to plan the demise of the United States however, once the events of 9-11 occurred their previously normal and acceptable behaviors became instantly suspect, much in the same manner that the eight mentally healthy individuals were perceived as manifesting schizophrenic symptoms in the hospital once they were believed to be schizophrenics.

The author was successful in supporting his claims that the families were treated as suspects following the events of -11 not because their behavior had changed but because the suspicions of Americans had changed and what was previously normal and accepted behaviors by those families was suddenly suspicious activity.

In the sixth edition of Criminology by Reda Alder and Gerhard O.W. And Laufer Williams the authors detail and provide a blueprint for the events of 9-11 with regard to Middle eastern immigrants without even knowing that 9-11 was going to occur. This was done through their explanation of labeling using Blacks and juvenile delinquents as examples (Alder).

The discussion of the book We Are All Suspects Now is timely because of the problems the nation has had with immigrants since the events of 9-11. When the reader goes through the book and reads about the family that had the father removed and could not longer support itself the targeting behaviors out of fear become illuminated. In addition the families that were threatened to be torn apart because one member faced deportation while the others did not lights up the very real trauma that these immigrants go through simply by being different.

The content of this book affected my way of thinking in a very positive manner. Before I read the book I had a basic understanding of the concept that Middle Eastern immigrants were being profiled and targeted in America. However, this book brings forth two very important points. The first of course is that targeting an individual because of the ethnic group he or she… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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