The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. were barbaric and the individuals responsible for the acts should be punished. However, it is important to realize that Muslims are not the enemy, Arabs are not the enemy and people of ethnicities beyond those in western Europe are not the enemy. To treat them as such is no more justified than the terrorists who kill U.S. civilians because they are American. Racism is racism, regardless of its form. The real enemies are the actual terrorists.

It is ignorant and inhumane to mistreat a group because they share an ethnicity or presumed ethnicity with the enemy. Americans did not discriminate against people from Buffalo after Timothy McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City.

At one point or another, various people in America have been oppressed and mistreated. We persecuted Germans during World War I and the Japanese during World War II. During the Cold War, Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-american Activities engaged in witchhunts for Communists, and innocent people were persecuted.

The cycle of Americans thoughtlessly reacting against those who are perceived to be different must stop. We must start here, at UR, by coming together and being, not tolerant, but accepting of all kinds of people. We must not presume anyone guilty.

Our students, faculty and staff are educated people and we should behave as such. We must also educate those who are irrationally intolerant. No one should feel threatened or uncomfortable walking around UR or anywhere else. It is the responsibility of the UR community to ensure this sense of safety on our campus and further.

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