4 Things to Know About Boston Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

By Dara Sharif

The manhunt for and subsequent capture of a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing riveted the nation last week. But as the country revels in a quick arrest in the deadly attack, the search for answers unearthed more ugliness with regard to attitudes about race, religion and ethnicity. As investigators learn more about what may have driven two young men (one of whom was killed in a shootout with police) to acts of terror, here are four things to know about the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:

1. He’s white.

Despite egregious examples of racial and ethnic profiling during the course of the manhunt—including CNN’s speculating about a “dark-skinned” suspect and the New York Post’s publishing a front-page photo of a Moroccan-American high-schooler and wrongly suggesting he was one of the bombers, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is Caucasian. Truly. His family is originally from Chechnya, which is located in the Caucasus region of southern Russia.

2. He’s American.

Tsarnaev, whose parents brought him to the U.S. as a child, took the oath of citizenship last year on Sept. 11 (the anniversary, of course, of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil). By all accounts, the young Tsarnaev, who grew up in Cambridge, Mass., was pretty typical. Former classmates at Cambridge Rindge & Latin high school described Tsarnaev as a kid who had lots of friends. He lived on campus at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he was in his sophomore year.

3. He’s Muslim.

Ethnic Chechens are predominantly Muslim. In a Russian social-media profile, Tsarnaev described his world view as “Islam.” Chechnya has a history of violence, with occasional skirmishes between Russian forces and Chechen insurgents demanding independence. However, many Chechens, including Tsarnaev’s family, have fled the region to escape the fighting.

4. He‘s the suspect—not all Chechens or Muslims.

Just as the actions of Newtown, Conn., mass murderer Adam Lanza shouldn’t condemn all white, U.S.-born, Christian men, neither should the alleged actions of a white, Chechen, Muslim man damn all who share his ethnicity or religion.

No one should feel the need to walk on eggshells around a coworker or employee, as one DiversityInc reader opined recently, but everyone has the right to a workplace where reasonable accommodations are made for differing religious beliefs. Arming oneself with knowledge can help dispel the kind of rumor and innuendo that can prove destructive in the workplace.

What You Can Do in Your Workplace

  • Use your resource groups to foster cultural-competence education. If you have religious resource groups, make sure they are inclusive of everyone and are used to explain how NOT to stereotype people.
  • Distribute educational/training materials like Meeting in a Box to ensure maximum exposure to all your employees. Include information on stereotype threat and the dangers of lumping groups of people together.
  • Be cognizant of laws on religious and other types of discrimination and ensure that your managers are as well.

Also read: Boston Bombing Fallout: Immigration Reform

Latest News

Cesar Conde

NBCUniversal Sets Ambitious 50% Diversity Goal for Women, People of Color

Cesar Conde, chairman at NBCUniversal News Group, announced a groundbreaking goal to have a 50% diverse workforce at NBCUniversal, according to Deadline. Conde, the first Latino in this role, outlined his plans in an internal video for employees on Wednesday. The ultimate goal is for NBCUniversal, No. 7 on DiversityInc’s 2020…

Mastercard Expands ShopOpenings.com to the U.S. & Canada, Delivering a Search Tool That Identifies What Stores Near You Are Open for Business

Originally published on mastercardcontentexchange.com. Search solution complements new Digital Acceleration for Small Business global initiative which helps small businesses advance digitally and drive online commerce As businesses seek to draw customers back both in store and online, Mastercard is introducing new tools to support them. Today, Mastercard announced the geographic…

TIAA Launches Programs to Raise Awareness of Racial Injustice and Support Communities in Need through the “Be The Change” Initiative

On June 30, TIAA announced new virtual programs designed to raise awareness of racial injustice and support communities in need as a part of the company’s recently launched “Be the Change” initiative. One is TIAA’s “Race Against Racism,” an effort in support of The Innocence Project which included more than…

Stop TB Partnership and Johnson & Johnson, with support from USAID and The Global Fund, Announce Price Reduction for SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) for Treatment of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Originally published on jnj.com. Joint efforts aim to accelerate scale-up of WHO-recommended all-oral treatment regimens – a transition urgently needed to help protect the health of people with drug resistant-tuberculosis who are particularly vulnerable during COVID-19 pandemic In 2020, the initiative aims to reach at least 125,000 patients and could…

Toyota, Alabama A&M and Huntsville Hospital Collaborate to Make COVID-19 Testing Easier

Originally published on pressroom.toyota.com. $100,000 grant provides free service to the community Alabama A & M University (AAMU), Huntsville Hospital and Toyota are developing a mobile health clinic initiative to provide free COVID-19 testing to underserved communities in Madison County. Launching later this year, the mobile medical clinic program has…

Sanofi and Regeneron Provide Update on Kevzara® (sarilumab) Phase 3 U.S. Trial in COVID-19 Patients

Originally published on sanofi.com. Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced that the U.S. Phase 3 trial of Kevzara® (sarilumab) 400 mg in COVID-19 patients requiring mechanical ventilation did not meet its primary and key secondary endpoints when Kevzara was added to best supportive care compared to best supportive care alone (placebo)….

TD Bank: How a PPP Loan Saved Essential Jobs for Hundreds of Frontline Healthcare Heroes Amid COVID-19

Originally published on newscenter.td.com. Yet, “it’s not about earning a paycheck” for these medical responders A hero is defined as “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.” Never has that word resonated more than right now, with millions of frontline responders risking their…