News & Features » Miscellany

Guilty of Poor Grammar — Not Bigotry

Letters

comment
Guilty of Poor Grammar — Not Bigotry

As I was reading Jessica Haddad's Back Page column ("Know My Name," Sept. 25), I ran across a quote from an Internet posting she presented as evidence of anti-Arab bigotry. What was really interesting to me is that I wrote it.

To support her argument, Ms. Haddad selected this phrase from my posting: "All foreign nationals from countries identified as belligerent, should either be deported or detained."

The entire sentence I wrote read as follows: "While I would hope that all U.S. citizens, regardless of where they come from, would be outraged, if and when Congress declares a state of war all foreign nationals from countries identified as belligerent, should either be deported or detained."

This was a hastily written Internet posting, and I shamefully admit my poor grammar. However, poor grammar does not make one a bigot.

Black's Law Dictionary defines belligerent as meaning engaged in a lawful war. When I used the term "belligerent country" I was referring to a political state, not a nationality or an ethnic group. In fact, there is no mention of any ethnic group in my posting. The point of my posting is now moot, since Congress has not declared war on a country and most likely will not. However, if it did, it would be completely within the realm of accepted international practice to expel citizens of countries with which we are at war.

If this statement makes me a bigot, as Ms. Haddad's column insinuates, then bigotry must have also been the motivation for the 189 countries that endorsed this practice, as detailed in Part III of Geneva Convention IV, 1949. I doubt that it was theirs and I am sure it was not mine. - Steve Clark



Add a comment