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3/16/15

Islam: Obama Is Right Not to Talk About ‘Islamic’ Terrorism - "or isn't he ?" - by John McWhorter

No one should have trouble understanding why a war on Islamic terrorists isn’t a war on Islam? Nonsense.

The Obama slam of the moment is that he should be calling our battle against ISIS one against Islamic terrorists, instead of pretending that the battle is against something as general as “terrorists” alone.

The people angry at Obama about this are forgetting how educated they are.

Here’s what I mean. The Obama administration wants to avoid people thinking our battle is against Islam in general. His critics, however, assume that it would be obvious to anybody that you can battle one strain of Islam without having it in for Muslims in general. That perspective is typical of an educated Westerner, who today is trained — to an almost religious degree — to strive to view people as individuals rather than to stereotype. Stereotyping is treated among us as, essentially, a transgression of human decency.

We’ve learned our lesson — to the point that we forget that it ever was a lesson. Surely anyone knows that battling a particular group of Islamic terrorists is to battle those individuals, not Islam as a whole, right? Wrong, actually.

Attributing group traits to individuals is a deeply seated psychological habit. When a person is unfamiliar, we are less likely to process them as an individual than we are to seek to classify them into some higher category. Implicit Association tests, most famous these days as revealing that black people are more readily associated with negative words than positive ones, are ample testament to this.

 Stereotyping is almost certainly programmed in our genes. Once it may have been a useful defense mechanism, but today it is disadvantageous as often as it is useful.

Read more: USA Obama Is Right Not to Talk About ‘Islamic’ Terrorism | TIME

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