To Ensure Citizenship: Americans are kind and decent, but you wouldn’t know it if you watch the news

Carlos Restrepo is a junior journalism major and News Editor for The Journal

The American media has legitimized the voice of ignorant, angry Americans as the rest of the world looks back at this country in awe.
In the past months, media outlets have painted radicals and racists as normative American behavior.
A YouTube video showing tea partiers chanting racist and hateful comments to a group of Muslims in Orange County, California recently went viral.
The video, titled “Hate comes to Orange County,” shows American Muslims raising money for women’s sheltered being yelled at phrases such as, ‘Go back home,’ and ‘Muhammed was a pedophile.’
A councilwoman by the name of Deborah Pauly is shown in the video of the event saying, “I know quite a few marines who would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in paradise.”
Then, a few days ago, shortly after an earthquake and consequent tsunami hit Japan on Friday, several social media pages displayed messages that seemed well out of touch.
Some news pages displayed photos of these messages:
“Dear Japan, sorry about the earthquake and tsunami. karmas a bitch. Sincerely, pearl harbor,” Henry Gaxiola said.
“Dear Japan enjoy the tsunami – With love pearl harbor,” Ryan Hartmann said.
A search of — a search engine for Facebook statuses — reveals literally thousands of results for the search term “fuck Japan.”
Then you add the current witch-hunt style hearings in Congress regarding the radicalization of American Muslims, last year’s Quran burning in Florida, and Fred Phelps “God Hates Fags” protests, and add it up.
Those comments paint a scary picture to outsiders of America as a country that does not welcome other religions, hates other races, and wishes catastrophes upon other nations.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
As a permanent resident in pursuit of citizenship, I must say the vast majority of people I have met in this country have treated me with respect, dignity and equality.
I have seen the ugly truth of a few people who jump at the first opportunity to ask for cocaine when I tell them I am from Colombia.
I laugh it off.
I have been blessed to be in a country that has given me many opportunities, regardless of my race like attending this university, being the news editor of this newspaper, having a car, a job, and other blessings I never dreamed of having in my home country.
Unfortunately, only those who make outrageous claims and inflict hateful speech make it to the news. Publicized hate gets all the attention and good people simply shake their heads.
Hopefully, in a year or less, I will become a full American citizen, and I know I don’t want to be associated with those intolerant Americans who make a bad name for this country. This is a country of freedom, and in spite of what I see on T.V., I still believe in it.
Many have criticized peaceful Muslims for not standing up against radical Muslims. Today I call on peaceful Americans to stand up against radical Americans.
It’s your country, too.

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