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Alec Blockis Critical Race Theory Final Essay 12/15/13

Racializing National Security
Racism, Terrorism, and National Security’s Psychotic Breakdown

"There are citizens of the United States, I blush to admit, born under other flags but welcomed under our generous naturalization laws to the full freedom and opportunity of America, who have poured the poison of disloyalty into the very arteries of our national life; who have sought to bring the authority and good name of our Government into contempt, to destroy our industries wherever they thought it effective for their vindictive purposes to strike at them, and to debase our politics to the uses of foreign intrigue..."1 -Woodrow Wilson, 1915

For decades, critical race theorists have attempted to articulate how seemingly neutral legal systems have persistently functioned to protect and enforce racial subordination throughout the history of the United States. Within this

discipline, race is considered to be perpetually reconstituted by structural motifs in liberal modalities of governance–such as immigration policy, labor laws, and domestic security–that are rooted in the state’s need to colonize and subordinate upon its own inception. Furthermore, various political theorists have attempted to delineate the relationships between racial (or otherwise) subjects’ place within the national ideologue. After 9/11, previously fomenting enmity directed at populations passing as a Muslim Arab subject had burst into the foreground of media and government discourse, especially in connection to national security. For example, bills such as ‘National Security Entry-Exit Registration System’ (NSEERS) and the ‘Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and


Wilson, Woodrow. “State of the Union Address.” United States Congress, December 7, 1915.


Obstruct Terrorism Act’ (USA PATRIOT Act) have paved the way for the disproportionate targeting and surveilling of Muslim-Arab-passing US and foreign nationals. Moreover, an exploration on how the conceptions of the Muslim Arab subject and ‘national security’ in the US have mutually evolved—alongside what this conflux can convey about the deployment of ‘national security’—is certainly warranted. In opposition to the common belief that US national security defends the geographic nation from foreign threats, I will argue that the deployment of ‘national security’, by both the US government and various high-profile media outlets, has served to forge a racial construction between Muslim Arab and ‘terrorist’ subjects. This subject is unique in relationship to the US national ideologue and, furthermore, military and anti-immigration projects mobilize around this subject in a psychotic and violent manner, rendering ‘national security’ as an apparatus of ethnic/racial cleansing.2

Immigration and Deportation: Not in Our Country
In solidarity with prior Critical Race Theory scholarship, the construction of the Muslim Arab subject—a contingency spanning socio-political space and time—is not something that could be comprehended in its entirety. How this racialized subject is transformed, reproduced, and proliferated by media activity and government policy—in relation to its position in national identity and the maintenance of ‘national security’—can and should be explored in order to better understand the ways in which the Muslim Arab subject is deployed. My

methodology is inspired by Michel Foucault’s genealogical method, outlined below:
I would like to point out that this should not be seen as the sole functioning of ‘national security’—in that it can organize itself in destructive patterns unexplored in this essay. Instead, my thesis is intended to point out a critical component of ‘national security’s’ structurally imbedded mechanisms of racialized violence.


"In the very first place, it seemed important to accept that the analysis in question should not concern itself with the regulated and legitimate forms of power in their central locations, with the general mechanisms through which they operate, and the continual effects of these. On the contrary, it should be concerned with power at its extremities, in its ultimate destinations, with those points where it becomes capillary, that is, in its more regional and local forms and institutions. Its paramount concern, in fact, should be with the point where power surmounts the rules of right which organise and delimit it and extends itself beyond them, invests itself in institutions, becomes embodied in techniques, and equips itself with instruments and eventually even violent means of material intervention," (pg. 96)3 Whereas Foucault looks to the ways in which populations are defined and constructed through psychiatric codifications, military school disciplinary regiments, prison structure, and medical quarantine procedures (etcetera), I will be exploring the histories of US legislature—that pertain to terrorism and the Muslim Arab—and their interactions with contemporary mass-media and law enforcement in order to understand how populations are targeted by state power, subjects are defined, and violence is incurred upon certain bodies in particular ways. Since the 18th century, the US has engaged in imperial military projects targeting Muslim and Arab peoples–by intervening in the slave trade on the Barbary Coast to funding Israel’s occupation of Palestine.41 Moreover, Muslim and Arab individuals, populations, and polities have been a consistent and conspicuous receptacle of violent US foreign policy for most of the State’s existence. This

violence is, of course, not restricted to foreign policy; US immigration policy has


Foucault, Michel. “Two Lectures.” In Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings 19721977, 78–108. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980. 1 Salaita, Steven. “Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism: Arab Americans Before and After 9/11.” College Literature 32, no. 2 (2005): 146–168.


been the vanguard of racially based deportation and exclusion since the state’s inception.5 In 1917, extant immigration restrictions were re-codified into laws, directly implementing more restrictions that excluded emigrants from Afghanistan to the Pacific Ocean (not including Japanese or Philippine immigrants).6 This remains significant in US law because it marks a government program that intended to exclude migrants from Arab countries on the basis of both race and national security. Contemporaneously, the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918 were passed amidst World War I—both carried a potential death sentence for US nationals who spoke out against the state or shared classified information to the ‘enemy’. It is important to note here that a race-based exclusion from the US— premised on the notion that those excluded were likely enemies of the state—and the adoption of two internal ‘security’ programs, which framed US citizens as potential enemies of the state, were mentioned in the same breath, ultimately paving the way for a collision between the two if one hadn’t occurred already. By 1943, Arab descendants were finally granted eligibility for naturalization, yet this decision was implemented in the shadows of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) transition from a subdivision of the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice in 1940.7 This transition indicates a de facto

5 The

racism imbued in US immigration policy is most easily understood if we look at how immigration restrictions were originally conceived. The Naturalization Act of 1790 had officially restricted naturalization to ‘free white persons’, which at the very least exposes the prima facie raceoriented logic that the concepts of immigration and citizenship have arisen from. Later policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act (1842) and programs like NSEERS (2002) have effaced the racial aspects of exclusion with nationality based restrictions, yet the ways in which these policies and programs were executed belied their racist functioning. 6 Engle, Karen. “Constructing Good Aliens and Good Citizens: Legitimizing the War on Terror(ism).” University of Colorado Law Review. 75 U. Colo. L. Rev. 59 (2004). 7 Ibid.


criminality stitched into populations regulated by immigration policies, 8 which is made manifest specifically for the Arab subject in NSEERS. Effectuated amongst a clade of legislature ratified in the name of ‘national security’ (such as the 2001 US A PATRIOT Act and 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act [AEDPA]), NSEERS decreed that certain non-citizens were required to register in person at an INS office, specifically those living in the United States before September 10th (2002) and those who entered the US from countries with significant Arab and Muslim populations.9 The domestic element of this program placed about 14,000 (out of the 84,000 individuals that complied) Arabs and Muslims in deportation proceedings after they were interrogated, fingerprinted, and photographed. None were charged with terrorism.10 On a shorter note, AEDPA (1996), ratified after the Oklahoma City Bombing, shows that an ostensibly colorblind law inspired by a white ‘domestic terrorist’ would later play a crucial role in the composition of the US’ War on Terror (where I will later show how this ‘war’ targets a broad Muslim-Arab subject).11 All of these programs exemplify how US ‘national security’ has been historically yoked
Natsu Taylor Saito (2005) discusses the criminalization and racialization of immigrants throughout the 40s and 50s (amongst a broader demonstration of racist legislature throughout the entire US history), particularly in regards to both foreign and naturalized Japanese Americans. In significant relevance to my own essay, she details how, in 1941, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Naval Intelligence determined that Japanese migrants and citizens living in the US were more likely to work as ‘anti-American’ operatives for the Japanese government than Japanese nationals. The two agencies proceeded to compile a list of 1350 people, who were later interned, based upon their status as Japanese Americans. This program exploded in 1942, when nearly 120,000 individuals were sent to ten ‘relocation centers’ (concentration camps). This practice of yoking war to race/nationality and subjecting a racializied population to detention and/or deportation is directly mirrored in the implementation of NSEERS. 9 These nations included: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, U.A.E., Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, and Kuwait. 10“End the Shame of NSEERS.” American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, 2011. 11According to Edward Said in Covering Islam, “Never was [the US media’s] prejudice and ignorance more in evidence than when in the immediate aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing (April 1995) they leaped collectively to the conclusion…that Islamic terrorists were to blame, and they repeated their allegations, albeit on a smaller, quieter scale after the TWA Flight 800 disaster i n July 1996,” (pg. 35).


to racialized pariah or ‘anti-state’ subjects, despite the arbitrariness of this connection. In fact, these events illustrate at least three critical junctures in the construction of the Arab subject and ‘national security’: First, Arabs have lived under the state-sanctioned shadow of citizenship ineligibility and deportation for almost a century. Second, immigration/deportation/exclusion policies and the

transfer of the INS to the DHS have collapsed the distinction between immigrants and potential criminals. Third, these policies and practices belie the Arab subject’s rejection from the national body and position this undesirability within the context of national security and terrorism (in the already mentioned AEDPA program and the soon to be discussed USA PATRIOT Act). In juxtaposition to the nation’s

persistent imperial incursions in the Middle East, even its earliest legal strictures have shown that the Arab immigrant and foreigner have been subordinated and Othered from the ‘all-American’, pro-state subject and could be gazed upon with a suspicion of foreignness and maleficence. This legal and military dynamic should be conceived of as a process of racialization; the criminality and undesirability of the Arab subject has been codified and reified through law, despite the lack of threats posed by those who fit into the state’s deployment of the Arab subject.12

Media Portrayal of Terrorism and the Muslim Arab Subject
In The Social Construction of Race, Ian F. Haney Lopez describes how US law constructs race through appeals to biology, prevailing social norms, nationality,

The arbitrariness of understanding ‘threats’ to national security through a racial lens is best exemplified (at least within the scope of my paper) through NSEERS’ deportation of individuals who could not be charged with the government’s official legal understandings of terrorism. Saito (2005) also mentioned that, of the initial 1350 Japanese Americans interred in 1941, only 200 could be gleaned as dangerous. Near the end of this essay, I will discuss a contemporary exemplar of a racebased FBI program that had arbitrarily incarcerated over a hundred people on governmentfabricated charges of terrorism (Holland, 2013).


interpretations of history, and social norms or logics (whereas race itself has no essential or genetic basis). This racialization process does not occur by aberration; it is necessarily embedded in the nation’s ethos. In Haney Lopez’s words: [Race is] a vast group of people loosely bound together by historically contingent, socially significant elements of their morphology and/or ancestry… [R]ace must be understood as a sui generic social phenomenon in which contested systems of meaning serve as the connections between physical features, faces, and personal characteristics. In other words, meanings connect our faces to our souls. (pg. 193)13 The socially contingent elements integral to a population’s racialization— particularly in regards to morphological, religious, and psychological

determinations—as described by Haney Lopez have proven crucial to my understanding of the current relationship between the Muslim Arab subject and national security. Moreover, when I discuss the racialization of the Muslim Arab subject I will articulate how—through laws, government practices, and media portrayals of the Muslim Arab—a collective socio-political subject emerges that is used to justify the deportation, exploitation, and vilification of those who pass as a Muslim Arab in the US. Throughout this section, I hope to show that this racialized subject is not static. Rather, the socio-political deployment of the Muslim Arab subject, particularly when it’s yoked to ‘terrorism’, conveys that such a subject does not necessarily exist as a shifting ontological category of people; the Muslim Arab subject refers to a violent epistemic framework that’s assembled and reified by a multiplicity of governmental, social, and media institutions that employ it in their own unique fashions.

13 Haney Lopez, Ian F. The Social Construction of Race. President and Fellows of Harvard College,



Steven Salaita (and Karen Engle, to some extent) points out that the construction of a Muslim Arab subject was still in an embryonic stage of sociopolitical development throughout the early 20th century in the US. In 1924, 90% of American Arabs were Christian and 80% percent were from Lebanon or Syria. 14 While immigration laws at the time typically barred Arab populations’ naturalization, Arab Americans were often perceived of as readily assimilable into the prevailing white/Christian national ideologue15 or, at least, more assimilable than Muslim Arabs, whose fealty to Islam was of much concern to the political elite.16 Following the 1943 affirmation of Arab citizenship-eligibility, the American Muslim Arab population exploded.17 Between 1965-2005, 60% of immigrants from Arab countries identified themselves as Muslim.18 Still, Muslim Arabs were often seen as unassimilable. Salaita avers that Muslim Arabs were portrayed (vis-à-vis news media and government officials’ statements), as vessels of ‘anti-American’ political convictions, pathological sexualities, brown skin, and Muslim faith, all of which were considered incongruous to the dominant US national ideologue. 19 The media and government responses to their increased instantiation in US society seemed to espouse that idea that those who were intended to be the object of US dispensed imperial subordination performed a reversal by infiltrating the nation and undermining its ethnic, sexual, religious, and political composition.20

14 Ibid, 15 Ibid,

“Constructing Good Aliens and Good Citizens: Legitimizing the War on Terror(ism).” “Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism: Arab Americans Before and After 9/11.” 16 Ibid, “Constructing Good Aliens and Good Citizens: Legitimizing the War on Terror(ism).” 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid, “Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism: Arab Americans Before and After 9/11” 20 And indeed they ‘were’. The 1950 Internal Security Act set a legal precedence to deny naturalization to and deport individuals who were involved in a communist or totalitarian organization. This bill was passed during the Soviet Union’s continued wax in power and in a climate where the US government was endeavoring to keep Soviets out. Accordingly, this bill can be understood as an attempt to prevent infiltration by populations who’ve been deemed politically


Salaita is not alone in his conviction: Edward Said, in Covering Islam, argues that the portrayal of Islam in the US media is wrought with accusations of antidemocratic politics, sexual perversity, backwardness, and terrorism. 21 Islam, alongside the aforementioned accusations, is used as an abstract frame for everything that can be fit under this label. In the following series of examples I hope to show that Said’s connections between Islam and terrorism are contemporarily observable in a multitude of media formats. I will draw connections between the following examples and the aforementioned legislature that serve to racialize foreign nationals who pass as Arab in a manner consistent with Haney-Lopez’ theory of racial construction. My reasoning for exploring the social factors that contribute to the Muslim Arab subject’s construction are due to their impacts on the enforcement of contemporary legislature and law enforcement. In distinction to the 1790

Naturalization Act, documents such as the USA PATRIOT ACT do not explicitly state who must be subject to heightened scrutiny and criminalization.22 Instead, it listed certain behaviors that warranted such scrutiny and criminalization. Following in the footsteps of the Internal Security Act (1950) and AEDPA (1996), the USA PATRIOT Act authorized certain US government officials to spy on noncitizens—domestic or foreign—and indefinitely detain or deport those convicted of engaging in terrorism or providing material support to recognized terrorist groups. Once again, while this

threatening in resistance to the US’ status quo. This precedence was realized after 9/11 when AEDPA (1996) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (1996) deported Muslims in a volume disproportionate to any other population. 21 Ibid, “Islam as News.” 22 In fact, the USA PATRIOT Act condemns direct discrimination against ‘Muslim Americans’. While racial discrimination could be interpreted in court as ineffectual during a time of war—as was seen in Hirabayashi v. United States—I’m arguing that the USA PATRIOT Act cannot engender discriminatory and racist practices on its own.


statute didn’t explicitly conflate ‘terrorism’ and Islam, social production of the racialized Muslim-Arab-terrorist subject managed to determine the USA PATRIOT Act’s principle targets without it having to literally concur. This colorblind law requires a racist social/governmental milieu to interpret it in a racist fashion. Unfortunately, this milieu does exist. Out of categorical ease, I will discuss

manifestations of racist sentiment and action directed towards the Muslim Arab subject—particularly how it’s portrayed in camaraderie with terrorism—through the themes of government action and sentiment, NGO action and sentiment, and media/literary portrayal. Muhammad Safeer Awan’s essay, Global Terror and the Rise of

Xenophobia/Islamophobia, discussed the news media’s and state-centric literature’s propagation of conflations between the Muslim Arab and terrorist subjects. Awan posits that the horror incurred upon NYC civilians during 9/11 was multiplied and circulated through images and news bulletins all over the country; Islam was fortuitously mentioned in the same breath.23 While prominent authors such as John Updike wrote novels that played into racial and religious stereotypes (usually attributed to Muslim Arab men) and appropriated those stereotypes to terrorism,24 the Muslim-Arab-terrorist subject was discursively and institutionally expanded to fit not only foreigners, but US nationals as well.25 In Engle’s words, terrorism has

23 Awan,

Muhammad Safeer. “Global Terror and the Rise of Xenophobia/Islamophobia: An An alysis of American Culture.” 49, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 521–537. 24 Updike’s book, Terrorist, made tacit and explicit connections between Islam and violence, manipulative and pernicious Imams, a hatred for host communities, and brown skin. He also depicted ‘terrorism’ and his sophomoric conception of jihad as not only appropriately Muslim in nature, but apolitical as well. 25 There are a multitude of other media depictions of the Muslim-Arab-as-terrorist subject. The movie, Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, attempts to tie together Islam and terrorism as the primary threat to the US. By stipulating that radical Islam is specifically responsible for terrorism, the movie seems to not conflate terrorism and Islam completely, yet the persistent depiction of Arab men as the terrorist subject served to conflate the Arab subject and ‘immoral’


become ‘undetectable’; the Muslim Arab subject that evades detection by assimilating into US culture, as the 9/11 hijackers did, 26 may not fit a given Muslim Arab or terrorist stereotype.27 So far, we’ve seen the Muslim Arab and terrorist subjects assembled and sundered in various ways. They’ve been dissociated and blurred in programs, such as the US PATRIOT Act, while the government and media responses post facto reconnected the two—all the while maintaining differing conceptions of exactly who the Muslim Arab and/or terrorist is. In yet another instance, Engle shows how the terrorist subject can become radically separated from the dominant aesthetic characteristics attributed to the Muslim Arab subject, without necessitating a complete disjunction between the two (see footnote 26 for an example). As opposed to characterizing the Muslim Arab as a terrorist—as Updike28 and many other media agencies have—the photo included below performs a poignant reversal: designating what terrorism is.

violence, while still incorporating Islam, and pitting this subject as a danger to anyone living in the West. 26 Ibid, “Constructing Good Aliens and Good Citizens: Legitimizing the War on Terror(ism).” 27 It can even be argued that this ‘undetectability’ influences the arb itrary and psychotic brutalization of Sikhs in perverted bouts of patriotic vigilantism (Cannold, 2013). 28 Ibid, “Global Terror and the Rise of Xenophobia/Islamophobia: An Analysis of American Culture.”


URL: full/printcovers/20130928_cna400.jpg

Of course this is nothing new. The largest words on the page are Jihad, Syria, and AlQaeda followed by (in slightly smaller font) Al-Shabab and countries commonly associated with Arabism, Islam, and terrorism. The smallest words are mostly Arabsounding names but it’s the size of these names (relative to the size of, say, Jihad) that’s impactful: this picture depreciates the importance of who the terrorist is. Instead, The Economist chooses to focus on broader terms, resituating what a reader may understand to be Islam and Arab as principle characteristics of terrorism. Functionally, this image on some level reconciles with Engle’s (2004) ‘undetectable’ terrorist by ascribing whom today’s terrorist might be. By leaving more specific identifiers in the background and focusing on themes of Islam and Arab-nationality,


though, the image fails to both unyoke the Muslim Arab and terrorist subjects and render ‘our enemy’ detectable—as if that was even The Economist’s intention in the first place…29 The fusion of Arab, Muslim, and terrorist subjects in the above examples should satisfactorily indicate that government and law enforcement officials might act on such a racist logic30 and therefore enable the targeting of domestically situated populations that pass as Muslim and/or Arab within the Muslim-Arabterrorist episteme. Examples of this racialized targeting apparatus are innumerable. Immediately after the Boston Bombings in 2013, temporary residents Talal al Rouki31 and, in a separate situation, Hussain al Kwawahir32 were questioned by the FBI and Customs & Border Security (respectively) for carrying pressure cookers. Despite the fact that the ‘Boston Bombers’ were from Chechnya, the heightened fear of terrorism was enough to apprehend Saudi Arabian nationals, which should signify
This technique of assembling and colluding the terrorist and Muslim Arab subjects is not unique to the US media. The Muslim-Arab-terrorist subject was depicted, in an (arguably) exaggerated sense, throughout a series of ads posted on public busses in New York City. They claimed to provide ‘support’ for anyone attempting to convert out of the Islamic faith (Rice, 2010). The ads, published by the ‘anti-Jihad’ organization Stop Islamization of America, baselessly and broadly claimed that Muslims will generally face violent opposition when abandoning their religion, consequentially depicting Islam as violent within and outside itself. 30 What immediately comes to mind is a speech made by Newt Gingrich in 2010 ( Newt Gingrich: No Ground Zero Mosque.flv, 2010) where he denounced the construction of Mosque and community center near Ground Zero in NYC. Throughout his speech, he both delineated the existence of an “extremist wing of Islam” as the enemy of the US and condemned the Mosque’s construction as an attempt to conquer the US, which immediately blurs the lines between Islam and ‘extremism’ to his audience. He manages to tie in ‘Islamic’ nations, such as Saudi Arabia, to ‘radical Islam’ and refers to Muslims as people who “represent a totalitarian system,” as well. In another speech, Hillary Clinton (Hillary Clinton Calls Anti-Muslim Film, Innocence of Muslims “Disgusting and Reprehensible” .flv , 2012) states that, “As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of religion—in the name of God—the world will never know a true and lasting peace.” This statement was in response to violent protests at a US embassy in Yemen, yet Clinton’s rhetoric throughout the speech harkened back to the rhetoric surrounding the 9/11 bombings (‘Muslim extremists’ versus ‘innocent civilians’). This speech yet again conjoined Islam and violence. 31 Sieczkowski, Cavan. “Saudi Arabian Student With Pressure Cooker Allegedly Questioned By FBI.” Huffington Post, May 13, 1920. 32 “Saudi Man with Pressure Cooker Arrested at Detroit Airport.” CBS News. Accessed October 25, 2013.


the adaptability inherent in the state’s co-deployment of the terrorist subject and ‘national security’: as long as the Muslim theme stayed in tact, the fear of pressure cooker induced terrorism refocused law-enforcement on its old habits—that is, arbitrarily targeting Muslim Arab subjects. Additionally, New York City has been found to engage in blatantly racist spying practices (aside from the prolific ‘stop and frisk’), thanks to the US A PATRIOT Act, wherein Mosques were disproportionately targeted for surveillance after 9/11.33 The FBI has also been implicated in racial profiling by providing Muslim Americans (often passing for or identifying as Arab) with the means and motivation to kill civilians. All that was required for targeting was a latent

‘motivation’ (simply watching a movie on Jihad was enough to claim that a target was interested in ‘becoming a terrorist’). “In many cases they’re mentally ill or they’re economically desperate. An undercover informant or agent posing as an AlQaeda operative gives them everything they need… gives them the transportation, gives them the money if they need it, and then gives them the bomb and even the idea for the terrorist attack. And then when that person pushes a button to detonate the bomb that they believe will explode—a bomb that was provided to them in whole by the FBI—agents rush in, arrest them and charge them with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction."34 While this project is purportedly undertaken in the name of national security, 150 individuals were actually arrested and none had access to weapons beforehand. Once again, the Muslim-Arab-as-terrorist subject had been mobilized in the name of

33 Associated

Press in New York. “Federal Court Reviews Legality of NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program.” The Guardian, October 1, 2013. 34 Holland, Joshua. “Shocker: Only 1% of So Called Terrorists Nabbed by the FBI Were Real.” AlterNet, July 8, 2013.


‘national security’—this time through impoverished Muslim American men— despite the arbitrariness of the actual targets.

Conclusion: The Muslim Arab Subject and National Security
At this point, what have we been able to discern? Discriminatory law

enforcement and surveillance practices, anti-immigration laws, and popular knowledge have certainly influenced the construction of numerous manifestations of the Muslim Arab subject as antithetical to the ‘nation’, which is often achieved by coupling this subject with ‘terrorism’ and/or a ‘threat to national security’: discriminatory law enforcement and surveillance practices have broadly construed it as threatening and criminal, immigration laws have granted it a foreign and a lessthan-American quality, and public/media/government reactions to 9/11 have bestowed a violent and apolitical terrorist quality upon this Muslim Arab subject. What these three have synchronously exposed, though, is that the Muslim Arab subject is imagined as having infiltrated the national corpus and simultaneously become arbitrarily inadmissible within it. The dominant national ideologue has pushed itself into a state of implosive psychosis: its imagined coherence has been ruptured by the nation’s own ingredients. So the question is, what is the national ideologue in connection to the Muslim Arab subject? To answer this question, I will look to Patricia Hill Collins’ essay, It’s All In the Family (1998). Collins argues that the gender, race, and class hierarchies naturalized into the normative family structure reflect the nation’s own gender, race, and class hierarchies. The nation itself is consequentially seen as a family within which certain populations are subordinate to others whereas some populations don’t


belong at all. 35 Collins states that this national-family is premised on a heteropatriarchal white settler ideology and logic; the nation itself is the national family’s home, which belongs most to those who best represent and protect the family’s identity. She avers that by slaughtering the Native Americans, interning the Japanese, and deporting the Chinese and Communists we’ve continued to determine who doesn’t belong; By subordinating Black and Hispanic, female, lower-class, and queer populations we’ve determined who is less deserving of familial benefits; by instilling authority into races that haven’t been subject to deportation or criminality we’ve determined who has the most political and moral power. She concludes by stating that the nation is often understood as the national family’s homeland. In that vein, those who best embody this family, in accordance with the intersecting hierarchies just mentioned, are those who deserve to reside in this home. In this sense, the dominant national ideologue isn’t only that which isn’t the Muslim Arab subject; the dominant national ideologue is that which has the power to exclude and subordinate the Muslim Arab. When the Muslim Arab doesn’t ‘count’ as a white heteropatriarchal settler yet can still assimilate into society as if it did count, all the while lugging along all of the violence and dissidence that the stereotype embodies, the nation-as-home has been ‘defiled’ for those it protects and represents (See: middle-class white cis male subject). Then, when attempting to reinterpret national security, what can be seen? National security, when formulated as an anti-terrorist apparatus, isn’t necessarily about protecting the broad range of humanity nestled within its geographic domain. As the Muslim Arab subject’s relationship with the nation has conveyed, ‘national security’ is mobilized as a self35 Collins,

Patricia Hill. “It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation.” Hypatia 13, no. 3 (1998): 62–82.


destructive and categorically racist ‘resolution’ to warfare, immigration, and the unsettling of a White-male36 monopoly on violence. In other words, national

security functions as the United States’ psychotic attempt to purge itself of its own organs in an attempt to recover a corpus that had never existed.

Works Cited
Awan, Muhammad Safeer. “IslamophobiaProduction1.pdf” 49, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 521–537. Cannold, Julie. “Possible Hate Crime: Sikh Professor Says He Was Beaten by Men Yelling, ‘Get Osama.’” News. CNN, September 24, 2013. Collins, Patricia Hill. “It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation.” Hypatia 13, no. 3 (1998): 62–82. “End the Shame of NSEERS.” American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, 2011. Engle, Karen. “Constructing Good Aliens and Good Citizens: Legitimizing the War on Terror(ism).” University of Colorado Law Review. 75 U. Colo. L. Rev. 59 (2004). Foucault, Michel. “Two Lectures.” In Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews & Other Writings 19721977, 78–108. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980. Haney Lopez, Ian F. The Social Construction of Race. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2004. Hillary Clinton Calls Anti-Muslim Film, Innocence of Muslims “Disgusting and Reprehensible” .flv , 2012. Holland, Joshua. “Shocker: Only 1% of So Called Terrorists Nabbed by the FBI Were Real.” AlterNet, July 8, 2013. Kopping, Wayne. Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. Documentary. Lee, Erika. “Enforcing the Borders: Chinese Exclusion along the US Borders with Canada and Mexico, 1882–1924.” The Journal of American History 89, no. 1 (2002): 54–86. Newt Gingrich: No Ground Zero Mosque.flv, 2010. Rice, Stephanie. “‘Anti-Islamic’ Bus Ads Appear in Major Cities.” News. Christian Science Monitor, July 28, 2010.

Responding to the ‘unsettling of white-male dominance’ with military force is powerfully exemplified by Erika Lee (2002) in Enforcing the Borders. She points out the disproportionate militarization of the US-Mexico border in juxtaposition to the US-Canadian border. According to Lee, this asymmetrical border development was influenced by the influx of White European and Chinese migrants from the US-Canada border, as opposed to the influx of Hispanic and Chinese migrants at the US-Mexico border, throughout the tenure of the Chinese Exclusion Act.


Said, Edward W. “Islam as News.” In Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World, 3–35. Revised Edition. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. Saito, Natsu Taylor. “Interning the ‘Non-Alien’ Other: The Illusory Protections of Citizenship.” Law & Contemp. Prob. 68, no. 173 (2005): 173–357. Salaita, Steven. “Ethnic Identity and Imperative Patriotism: Arab Americans Before and After 9/11.” College Literature 32, no. 2 (2005): 146–168. “Saudi Man with Pressure Cooker Arrested at Detroit Airport.” CBS News. Accessed October 25, 2013. Sieczkowski, Cavan. “Saudi Arabian Student With Pressure Cooker Allegedly Questioned By FBI.” Huffington Post, May 13, 1920. Wilson, Woodrow. “State of the Union Address.” United States Congress, December 7, 1915. York, Associated Press in New. “Federal Court Reviews Legality of NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program.” The Guardian, October 1, 2013.