I stand with Ilhan, too

Ibram X. Kendi
It goes without saying that #IStandWithIlhanOmar. And anyone who does not stands with Congresswoman Omar stands with Islamophobia, with racism, with politicians deploying lies to inflame racial and religious terror in the country. There is no middle ground in the struggle against bigotry. The sideline is behind the lines of bigots. The bigots have cast themselves as striving against bigotry, while they have cast those striving against bigotry as the bigots. The bigots have cast themselves as the victims and cast the victims as the bigots. But nothing new there: that is the history of bigotry. Congresswoman Omar is not perfect. I’m not. I’ve expressed bigotry. Confessed my mistakes. None of us are perfect. But many of us act as if we are. What are we striving against, and for? Her record makes clear she is striving against bigotry, striving for a world of equity. Finally, it is a fact that Congresswoman Omar was not talking about 9/11 in the way Trump cast her. But bigots hate the truth as much as they hate people.


  1. hemidactylus says

    This keeps ratcheting up from previous controversies:


    IMO being coerced into a pledge for Israel by way of the anti-BDS laws is an implicit dual loyalty. I’m not even entirely sure what BDS stands for. I have had the impression it was for a single state solution which I don’t think is a good idea. But that impression may be wrong. Whatever it really means people should not have to promise to not oppose Israeli policies to secure employment. That’s just plain weirdly specific.


    The latest brouhaha over “some people did something” also reflects problems with her word choice and our interpretation. I recall after 9-11 some people attacked perceived threats including Sikhs. So charitably interpreting her words yes some people did something and American Muslims needed protection. That may not be the best way to interpret her but this article dissects her somewhat sloppy wording (ironic coming from me):


  2. F.O. says

    If she didn’t wear a headscarf and/or she wasn’t a left-of-center women, she’d be held to a vastly different standard.

  3. drew says

    You’re either with us or against us.
    – George W. Bush, inciting anti-Islamic violence

  4. ck, the Irate Lump says

    The way Democratic leadership from Steny Hoyer, Chuck Schumer and even Nancy Pelosi all threw her under the bus is despicable. And it’s worked out so well for them: not only have their own words been used by the Republicans to provide proof that the Democrats are all awful antisemites (through the hilariously ill-branded #jexodus and #jexit campaigns), but also fueled the idea that Muslims are only truly loyal to their religion (which ironically enough is what they wanted to claim Illhan was saying about Jews).

    It’s funny how the calls for party unity and solidarity never seem to apply to these outspoken freshman lawmakers. Instead, they’re thrown to the wolves (Fox News) despite the fact the fact they shouldn’t want the wolves well fed.

  5. stroppy says

    I don’t think English is her first language, so short cuts like somebody ‘did something’… meh. She got the CAIR thing wrong though, which is odd. But right-wing loons are nothing if not predictable. Witness the endless quibbling over wording in the ‘climate gate’ e-mails. Now if only the Trumpies, could do something constructive, like look into the ‘oranges’ of their messiah’s dementia.


    “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.” ~ Cardinal Richelieu

  6. stroppy says

    Yeah, George “Gog and Magog” Bush had himself a holy war angle when he went ahead and did something in Iraq. That and his whole ‘faith based initiative” i.e., superstition agenda.

    Sure he glossed it over with a few pretty words, but I remember how he lied and how the hate trolls came out in full force and glee at the opportunity to rain down hell on earth. It’s a lot easier to spread death and “creative” destruction if you’re full of greed, arrogance, and hate and have a dehumanized enemy. Harder to put that genie back in the bottle, as we see.

  7. hemidactylus says

    @6- timgueguen

    Thanks, but I was thinking more of their range of views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, my ignorance of the sorts of tactics involved, potential negative consequences etc. I used to be really into the history of this conflict over a decade and a half ago, reading New Historians Avi Shlaim and Benny Morris among other sources. I was a different person then and have forgotten much, so am not 100% what my own views should be not to mention any potential overlap or disagreement with BDS, but I support people having a right to boycott or protest Israeli policies. And BDS is better than stuff Hamas has done. I did read this before:


    “As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp has written, “While the movement takes no official position on how to end the Israel-Palestine conflict, one of its co-founders, Omar Barghouti, has called for unifying them into a single state, which would mean dissolving Israel as a Jewish state.””

    And I find Natalie Portman’s nuanced stance interesting, given official backlash against her. Stripping her citizenship? Really?

  8. hemidactylus says

    Don’t mess with the Portman! She was the only reason that Norse stealing abomination Thor was tolerable cultural appropriation. And this SNL digital short is what I would love her to inflict on Likudnik Knesset jackasses:


    If only! We love you Natalie!

  9. Saad says

    I don’t understand the fuss at all over comments. Even if I strain really hard and try to imagine myself a right-wing shithead, she’s actually acknowledging that some Muslims did 9/11 and she’s acknowledging that it was a bad thing.

  10. blf says

    Saad@10, Yeah, I don’t get it either. As others have said, we’re ignoring that she is an articulate young hijab-wearing Muslim woman, and paying attention to what she actually said; hair furor, the dalekocrazy, and the nazis are merely looking at the messenger and seeing only things they despite, hate, and distrust.

  11. lochaber says

    I feel like I’ve been hearing bits about equating Ilhan Omar with the 9/11 attacks ever since she started her campaign.
    It’s just really ramped up and more prolific now, and being spread by Republican politicians, instead of just pundits and such.n

  12. ck, the Irate Lump says

    lochaber wrote:

    I feel like I’ve been hearing bits about equating Ilhan Omar with the 9/11 attacks ever since she started her campaign.

    Yep. The more Rep Omar speaks up about things she cares about, the more the attacks on her are ramped up. They’re trying to terrorize her into silence and she needs all the support she can get since too many in her own party seem disinterested in it.

  13. stroppy says

    blf @ 13

    Indeed. And while the hate mongers are using distortion to ramp up hysteria over what she said, it’s so pettifogged that we forget to articulate what it is that they are really expressing by doing this. Where Omar is saying that 9-11 was used as an excuse to take away civil liberties, the alt-right are in effect responding “How dare you! F**k your civil liberties, vermin!” It’s not just a trivial transactional tactic gone viral or a fluke of our times; Let the cold, hard reality of it sink into your bones.

  14. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    A few days late as I don’t read this blog daily, or in order of appearance. I’m glad you posted something about this. As the saying goes, history doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes.

    When there are open fascist incitements to violence it’s best not to stay silent. Not that’s it’s a silver lining, but things like Trump’s attack on Omar are a useful way to parse responses. There will be those who rebuke such incitements. There will be those who accept the underlying premise, as Pelosi and some others did. And there will be those who will stay silent, as well as those who agree with doing it. (I put “those who stay silent” just short of “those who agree” because silence is complicity.)