Xenophobes Suck. Fuck Them All.

People often ask me how I manage to troll the right-wing fever swamps without becoming hopelessly misanthropic. Mostly I’m able to laugh rather than cry or explode in anger. But bullshit like this makes me want to climb a tower with a high-powered rifle and start picking people off (metaphorically, of course).

When Andrew Zink passed the microphone over to his classmate and allowed her to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic, he said, he knew most students wouldn’t support his decision.

As president of the student senate at Pine Bush High School in New York, Zink leads the pledge every morning. But on Wednesday, a teacher asked him if he would mind if a classmate did it instead. It was National Foreign Language Week, and the students were encouraged to learn about different cultures.

“I wanted to say yes because I felt this is the right thing to do,” Zink, 18, said in an interview Thursday with the Los Angeles Times.

Outrage quickly flowed throughout the campus, about 75 miles north of New York City. The principal apologized to the school later that day, Zink said, for allowing the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in a different language.

But the apology did little to quell student and parent anger.

“The anti-Muslim sentiment started to build,” Zink said. “The poor girl who read it, she’s so sweet and when she finished reading it people called her a terrorist. They told her to go back to the Middle East. They mercilessly degraded her and I felt awful for her.”

Zink didn’t get by unscathed either. He said he was threatened over Twitter and received death threats.

Of course he did. Because xenophobes are fucking idiots and I really don’t want to share this planet with them anymore.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • raym

    When I moved here from the UK and saw “The Pledge” being invoked pretty much everywhere, it struck me as decidedly creepy. More than that, though, it was reminiscent of the way communist countries had always been portrayed, particularly by the US: blind allegiance, the antipathy of freedom.

  • comfychair

    Yeah! Let’s go all the way though, no half-measures. ‘English’ belongs in England, we don’t want that foreign shit over here! Send all the white people back to wherever they came from. And then we can get to work sending anybody left over back across the Bering Strait into Asia. USA! USA! USA!

  • alanb

    Take a deep breath. Hold it. Let it out slowly. Relax. Take a deep breath. Hold it. Let it out slowly. Relax. Nope. Not working. Need something to punch.

  • Saad

    Wholeheartedly second that sentiment, Ed.

  • grumpyoldfart

    Don’t worry. The very fair minded American politicians will soon put a stop to such discriminatory behaviour.

  • Chiroptera

    The pledgeofallegiance recited in a foreign language? Good heavens, will this terrible persecution of Christians never cease!

  • caseloweraz

    It was National Foreign Language Week, and the students were encouraged to learn about different cultures.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Well, there’s your problem right there. It was obviously more meddling from the main Muslim in the White House: another instance of his Marxist Muslim tyranny. First Nowruz, now this.

    /snark

    Of course, there is a bright side. Imagine how much greater the outflow of outrage would have been had this happened in Vermont. There would have been a veritable Niagara of outrage.

    (Oops — I just used two non-English words…)

  • caseloweraz

    Now here’s a fine, patriotic site. It displays the fine words of the pledge in good old American English, and there’s an image of the Stars and Stripes in the upper left corner.

    And along the left side of the page are buttons that provide a translation of the pledge into Spanish, French, German, Creole, or Portuguese.

    TRANSLATIONS!!! O M G!

    /sarc

  • marcus

    THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING!!! iF WE DON’T STOP THEM NOW THEY WILL SOON BE CELEBRATING MUSLIN HOLY DAYS IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!!

    Wait… what?

    TERRORISM!!!!

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Look, you all know that I’m on your side. Like you, I’m all for Free Speech, but I think it’s insensitive to speak Muslim so close to the site of 9/11. Yes, the death threats went too far, but on the other hand what she did can never be undone. Can’t we meet in the middle, where she both feels safe enough to speak but knows not to?

  • magistramarla

    Wow – My hubby graduated from Pine Bush High School. I showed this to him, and it saddened him to read what has happened to his home town.

    As a foreign language teacher, I used the pledge as a teaching tool. I had a poster with the pledge translated into Latin in my classroom next to the flag, and I taught my students to say it in Latin. My colleagues who taught German, French and Spanish did the same. Any rule that the pledge should only be spoken in English is a new one on me.

    I wonder what these xenophobes would think about the fact that the US military teaches many foreign languages at the Defense Languages Institute, including Arabic and Farsi? We are part of a global community. We need to expose our young people to other languages and cultures, or we will most certainly be left behind.

  • Doc Bill

    I took four years of French in high school, always first period. In the first week of my first year we learned to say the Pledge in French and I did so every day for the next four years!

    “Indivisible” was delightful to say in French!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R2XG9CnOj8 Olav

    Doc Bill #12, what is so special about indivisible in French? I know how to pronounce it but I am unsure what could be so special about it.

    À propos swearing a “pledge of allegiance”: it is feudalism. Or fascism, whichever you like best. Either way a practice that goes against civilised values and that should be completely abolished.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    From what I’ve been reading about the brouhaha, the real pisser was translating the English word “God” into the Arabic word “Allah.” In essence, the anger and hate is being directed at the girl because she vowed the school and its students to the wrong deity. Which, grasping at the silver lining, demonstrates the utter bullshit that is “ceremonial deism.”

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Gregory in Seattle, wrong. Calling Our Lord Jesus Christ “God” is ceremonial deism. Calling Him “Allah’ isn’t. This was all decided in Majority v Outsider.

  • khms

    I just hope the next time someone argues “ceremonial deism” in court (and why that would even be a good argument even if true escapes me), the other side points to these events to demonstrate how the general public understands these kinds of things.

  • raven

    Oddly enough, English isn’t the official language of the USA.

    There isn’t an official language.

    Wikipedia: The United States does not have a national official language; nevertheless, English (specifically American English) is the primary language used for legislation, regulations, executive orders, treaties, federal court rulings, and all other official pronouncements; although there are laws requiring documents such as …

    What the wingnuts really didn’t like was someone using the Arabic word for god in the pledge. Which is Allah.

    The principal apologized to the school later that day, Zink said, for allowing the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited in a different language.

    Wimped out. I suppose he had too. From the news report, it looks like the xenophobes of Pine Bush were about to get him fired.

    This was a teachable moment. Unfortunately, all anyone learned is that there is a nest of Moslem hating bigots in Pine Bush, New York.

  • wsierichs

    The stupidity of some commenters on the anti-Arabic pledge websites are so screechingly ignorant and stupid. The people who equate Arabic with Islam obviously don’t know the Mideast historically had a large Christian Arab component (Bush’s destruction of Iraq has cut that group down substantially) and also sizable Arabic=speaking Jewish communities.

    And English was not the first European language spoken in the Americans: Spanish, Portuguese and French preceded it. Dutch arrived about the same time as English. New York City was FOUNDED by the Dutch, not the English.

    Of course, many other languages were spoken before any Europeans knew the Americas existed.

    On top of that, the pledge is blatantly unconstitutional.

    The bigots lose every round of this fight by a TKO.

  • raven

    “The anti-Muslim sentiment started to build,” Zink said. “The poor girl who read it, she’s so sweet and when she finished reading it people called her a terrorist. They told her to go back to the Middle East. They mercilessly degraded her and I felt awful for her.”

    I didn’t know anti-Moslem hate was so embedded in New York.

    In my area on the west coast, we have a fair number of Moslems. As well as everyone else. The local school district counted 80 different languages spoken by students.

    They vary immensely. Some of the women wear various Islamic dress. Some of them wear tank tops and short skirts in summer. Some are white, i.e. Bosnians and American converts, some dark, i.e Somalias. Quite a few are university students from the middle east.

    I’ve never seen much animosity directed at them. The local mosque was firebombed by the local xians but most people were appalled by it.

  • Sastra

    Looks like One Nation Indivisible was just divided by God. Again.

    Hey, they’re lucky I wasn’t asked to say the pledge. I prefer the original, uncorrupted version. I’d do it, too — if it would take the heat off of her.

    Maybe that’s what atheists can do to fight xenophobia and prejudice against Muslims in public schools: stand around a nearby flag and leave “under God” out completely. Deflect the outrage towards a target which won’t be quite so young and sweet.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Pine Bush School District was sued over horrible antiSemitism a couple of years ago. On mobile so I don’t have an opportunity to dig into this, but looks like it might be a perfect community for jackasses to call home. The junior high school students described in the story are now high school students who are likely part of the lynch mob.

    http://gawker.com/anti-semitism-and-swastikas-meet-the-pine-bush-school-1461833421

  • John Pieret

    Here’s the NY Times story about the anti-Semitism, “Swastikas, Slurs and Torment in Town’s Schools”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/nyregion/swastikas-slurs-and-torment-in-towns-schools.html?_r=0

  • Michael Heath

    I’m struggling to believe the administration of this high school actually wrote this apology for having a student saying the Pledge in a language other than English. Here’s the statement:

    Press Statement – March 19, 2015

    To honor National Foreign Language week and in an effort to celebrate the many races, cultures and religions that make up this great country and our school district, the foreign language department planned many activities, including reading the Pledge of Allegiance and morning announcements in different languages this week. The intention was to promote the fact that those who speak a language other than English still pledge to salute this great country.

    We sincerely apologize to any students, staff or community members who found this activity disrespectful. In our school district the Pledge of Allegiance will only be recited in English as recommended by the Commissioner of Education.

    The link: http://goo.gl/gnaLv6

    Here’s a link to the page where I found this on the Pine Bush HS website: http://www.edline.net/pages/Pine_Bush_SHS.

    It’s obviously a juvenile response. To the point I wonder if a student bigot hacked into the website and added this link as their preferred response by their school.

    If the high school’s administration actually published this response, than there’s far bigger news here than xenophobes existing in Pine Bush.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    The Pine Bush Central School District also apologized for allowing the pledge in Arabic, following complaints from Jewish parents and residents who lost family members in the Afghanistan war.

    Afghans don’t speak Arabic.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    If the high school’s administration actually published this response, than there’s far bigger news here than xenophobes existing in Pine Bush.

    It’s pretty clear from the Time article in 2013 that they do have a bigger problem. Evidently, they are quite comfortable letting bigotry flourish in their schools. Probably not a stretch to imagine that this is also a horrible school district for gay students.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    On twitter, consensus among Pine Bush students seems to be that Zink is at fault because he knew what the reaction would be and the reaction would make Pine Bush students look like bigots. [/headdesk]

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Dr X “Evidently, they are quite comfortable letting bigotry flourish in their schools.”

    Freedom without the Freedom to treat outgroups like shit is no Freedom at all. The Puritans came here expressly for the Freedom to say “Not you”.

    It’s a little thing called the “Melting Pot”, where the Founding Ingredients (and those ingredients that have been around long enough to, in some situations, be treated like the Founding Ingredients) keep the huddled ingredients yearning to breathe free from landing in the pot.

  • Daniel Schealler

    @Mr X

    Afghans don’t speak Arabic.

    Of course not. Afghans speak Mexican. the Mexicans speak Spanish, and the Spaniards speak Afghani. The Ottoman Empire spoke Turkish before its dissolution, but since their dissolution the Turks have returned to speak their native Arabic.

    Everyone knows that. :)

  • Michael Heath

    Me @ 23:

    If the high school’s administration actually published this response, than there’s far bigger news here than xenophobes existing in Pine Bush.

    Dr. X responds:

    Evidently, [Pine Bush High School administrators] are quite comfortable letting bigotry flourish in their schools. Probably not a stretch to imagine that this is also a horrible school district for gay students.

    I read Ed’s post when it was first published and forgot the principal publically apologized when I posted the idiotic response @ 23 from the school’s website later today.

    While the demonstrated bigotry we encounter here from the principal is alarming, I find it far more alarming that the school would publish such a juvenile response, beyond the bigotry. This is analogous to initially thinking they’re as bad as Newt Gingrich and then discovering that, well no . . . they’re actually in Sarah Palin territory.

  • Al Dente

    Daniel Schealler @28

    I realize you were trying, not too successfully, to be snarky. However in real life the two official languages in Afghanistan are Dari, a dialect of Farsi, and Pashto, the language of the Pashtuns, the largest tribe. Other Indo-European and Turkic languages are spoken by minority tribes and ethnic groups. Over 95% of Afghans speak Dari as a first or second language.

  • John Pieret

    And, of course, Todd Starnes has the totally rational response of Faux News to the whole thing:

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/03/20/one-nation-under-allah-fury-after-school-recites-pledge-in-arabic/

  • comfychair

    I realize you were trying, not too successfully, to be snarky.

    Oh lighten up for fuck’s sake.

    (I was going to ask if you had been appointed sole judge of what is funny and what is not, or if there was some sort of tribunal, or if it was determined by majority vote, but then I realized you might not think if was sufficiently funny…)

  • John Pieret

    The Pine Bush Central School District also apologized for allowing the pledge in Arabic, following complaints from Jewish parents …

    Damn! Given the anti-Semitism the school has experienced already, you’d think Jewish parents would be more sensitive to the urge to make any people “the others.” I guess the allure of triba

    lism is just too strong.

  • raven

    following complaints from Jewish parents and residents who lost family members in the Afghanistan war.

    I’m going to pile on here.

    1. Yeah, this is really stupid. Afghanistan isn’t Arab and doesn’t speak Arabic. Which anyone should know or be able to look up in a few seconds.

    If the principal is this stupid, one wonders about the teachers and just what sort of education you get from Pine Bush high school.

    2. It also equates Arabic = Moslem terrorist.

    Which is also stupid. Arabic speakers include xians as in Iraq, Palestinians, Syria, and Lebanon. Arabs also include our supposed allies in the middle east, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and sometimes Egypt.

    Notable American Arabs include Darryl Issa, congress kook from Socal, 4 other members of congress, Ralph Nader, and Danny and Marlo Thomas (TV stars).

    Yo xenophobes: You need to refine your To Hate list. Otherwise you sound like idiots. Won’t do any good. I doubt if most of them bother to read anything.

  • http://www.facebook.com/josef.mulroney Josef Mulroney

    i am ashamed of my species.

  • lofgren

    I realize you were trying, not too successfully, to be snarky.

    If you’re going to “Well, actually” somebody’s snark, why not go for gold and target Modusoperandi?

  • Al Dente

    That’s not necessary because Modusoperandi is usually quite successful as a snarkist.

  • lofgren

    I’m pretty confident it’s not necessary either way.

  • Al Dente

    comfychair @32

    I was going to ask if you had been appointed sole judge of what is funny and what is not, or if there was some sort of tribunal, or if it was determined by majority vote, but then I realized you might not think if was sufficiently funny…

    I’m not the sole judge of funny. However I can judge funny and if I read something that tries but fails to be funny then I might or might not comment on the failure. If you don’t like me labeling something not funny that strikes me as your problem, not mine.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    So snark based on factual error okay. Pointing out the failure of that snark is not okay? Who made this rule and why is anyone required to follow it? Ed? Is that a freethoughtblogs rule?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    It should be pointed out that Daniel Schealler’s attempt at humor was successful. It should also be noted that Al Dente won’t get out of my pool. Not even to pee.

  • dingojack

    What does the Pledge of Allegiance sound like in an Eastern Algonquian Language? Say, Haverstraw (one of the Munsee dialect group).

    @@ Dingo

  • lofgren

    It’s not a Freethoughts rule. It’s a general rule of social interaction that deliberately stepping on somebody else’s joke by quoting a wikipedia entry is obnoxious. Yes, even if you thought the joke wasn’t funny.

  • magistramarla

    About Pine Bush – As I mentioned earlier, Hubby grew up there. Until the 70s, when he graduated, it was a diverse, and pleasant community, and he received a great education in PB high school. The major business in town was his Father’s clothing manufacturing factory. Then, most clothing manufacturing went overseas, and the company went under soon after we were married. The little town almost died too.

    Then 911 happened, and many people left the city and snatched up the cheap property in Pine Bush, making it a commuter bedroom community. This is the cause of the major change in that community. It is now filled with the bigots who left NYC instead of staying there and trying to be part of the solution. It is now almost as bad as the rednecks south, and my hubby doesn’t even care to go back to visit his home town. He no longer has any family there.

  • caseloweraz

    What the wingnuts really didn’t like was someone using the Arabic word for god in the pledge. Which is Allah.

    ¡Por Diós!

    Obviously, the proper thing would have been to recite the Pledge in the original Klingon.

    (ducks…)

  • comfychair

    “A horse walks into a bar” jokes are total humor failures, because horses do not walk into bars. Bars are establishments intended for bipedal humanoids. Many bars are not even located at street level and horses are not capable of navigating stairs or elevators.

  • tfkreference

    @46: Is the one about the piece of string that gets roughed up by the bartender funny?

    ‘fraid not.