Racism & Surveillance
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a long history of spying on African Americans including Nobel Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The great writer Richard Wright, who was also snooped on, wrote the poem “The FB Eye Blues”: Woke up this morning/FB Eye under my bed/Said I woke up this morning /FB eye under my bed/Told me all I dreamed last night, every word I said. Racism and surveillance are closely intertwined. Today, state security agencies and police departments profile and target Muslims. Their organizations and mosques are infiltrated. If your name is Hussein or Fatima you might be asked questions at airports. A broad net is cast. Civil liberties are tossed aside. Culturally, irrational fear of Muslims is reinforced by popular TV shows such as 24 and movies such as Zero Dark Thirty.
Deepa Kumar is Professor of Media Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of Outside the Box: Corporate Media, Globalization and the UPS Strike and Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire. She appears on numerous media outlets around the world.
Arun Kundnani teaches Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. He also teaches terrorism studies at John Jay College. He is the author of The End of Tolerance: Racism in the 21st Century Britain and The Muslims are Coming!