By Dara Sharif
One example: Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says he would consider denying student visas to international Muslims in a bid to stop terrorists from attacking America.
“I don’t like profiling anybody, I don’t like singling out anybody or generalizing anything,” Rubio said. “On the other hand, student visas are not a right. … Therefore, we can place whatever restrictions we want on student visas.”
Perhaps. But even entertaining the idea of treating whole groups of people differently simply because of the bad actions of a few is discriminatory at its core.
In case the good senator—the son of Cuban immigrants—has forgotten, the nation has a long and sullied history of unfairly profiling whole groups of people. This includes everyone from indigenous Americans corralled on reservations, to Japanese imprisoned in World War II internment camps, to even general discrimination toward people with Spanish surnames.
The fears brought on by the deadly Boston Marathon bombings—and of international terrorism in general since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon—are very real. Last week, as part of the ongoing marathon probe, authorities revealed that New York’s famed Times Square had also been in the bombers’ sights, raising new concerns.
But fear of the “other” should never be used to justify unequal treatment of people based on religion, race, creed or some other class.