The American government, in the aftermath of 9/11, has increasingly implemented special programs with the purpose to curb and counter enemy combatants and terrorism. Although these policies, such as the Special Registration Program, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, and the USA Patriot Act, have not been targeted towards but have disproportionately affected Muslims, South Asians, and Arabs in the United States. Subtle, pervasive societal racism has been witnessed in the aftermath of 9/11 American actions. However, it is not the first time the minorities in the country have to go through such a discriminatory experience in their lives.
In the times of national emergency, targeting specific groups of people especially based on putative religious or national affiliation with the enemy seems to be embedded in the American history. The Japanese interment during the Second World War is the most prominent example in this regard. Similarly, there were draconian immigrations laws such as the Anti-Terrorism and Death Penalty Act of 1996 before 9/11 as well. However, America realizes this discriminatory behavior and for this reason, the situation is different today; the Special Registration program has been stopped. The American government has been working on rebuilding the community through youth programs, legal clinics, and community education workshops, as well as encouraging the American Muslims to register and vote.
Furthermore, there are some positive consequences of 9/11 as well. For instance, before the higher socio-economic groups of Muslims and Arabs were unwilling to participate in human rights or civil rights struggle; they had also felt immune to prejudice. Their own inadequacies were highlighted by the events of 9/11. They are now focusing their attention on their civic participation, rights and identity. Moreover, the agenda as Muslims, American Muslims has begun to assert among the younger generation. They work on keeping themselves distinct from the terrorist groups with almost similar appearances. Thus, there is heightened awareness towards terrorism in the country today. Likewise, the overall security situation of the country has been improved in the contexts of generating greater leads, insistence of awareness and being vigilant, and the terror alerts. Therefore, a safer homeland is available to live for all Americans without discrimination today. The trust in government has been increased (Chanley, 2002).
Most importantly, the events of 9/11 have resulted in enforcement of several terrorism combating laws in the country. These legislations target terrorism and not any community or minority in particular. However, there are faced with challenges such as selective immigration enforcement, racial profiling and racial brutality along with lack of transparency which must be addressed. These challenges have been making these laws counter-productive. Moreover, regardless of the reference to the 9/11 events, liberties of minority groups are compromised for national safety in the country. Similarly, there is lack of representation and the right to vote is absent in the political arena. But, at the same time, basic rights such as equal protection, due process of the laws, and political freedom are available to all Americans without discrimination under the country’s constitution.
Keeping these positive advancements in mind, a generalization can be made, i.e., if the anti-terrorism entities are correct the terrorists can be successful only for once. It diminishes the idea that terrorism never goes away. Today the intelligence on the ground is accurate and the sense of power and control has been consolidated. Such an aptitude will not only provide a safer America to the current citizens of the country but to the future generations as well. Therefore, the positive impacts of the 9/11 events must be kept in mind while progressing forward with the aim of having a country that provides equal rights to all without any discrimination and prejudice and thus, providing the world with an example in this regard.
Chanley, V. A. (2002). Trust in Government in the Aftermath of 9/11: Determinants and Consequences. Political psychology, 23(3), 469-483.