Natalie’s Bridge to the Blog

This morning we touched on the word “metropolitan” and how that related to eurocentrism. I couldn’t help but think about the concept of eurocentrism in relation to the recent Belgium terrorist attacks. Why do we only care about the loss of life in predominately white, European countries? Why are we still in the mind of the colonizer?

Paris, and then Belgium. Every time a European country is attacked it is brought to the forefront of our attention in the western world through media outlets. The president was even criticized for not stopping his Cuban trip immediately and flying to Belgium to “stand with our allies”. But I wonder why we don’t stand by our allies or innocent lives at sake in the Middle East. Why don’t we stand for the loss of human life by heinous terrorist attacks anywhere? Even in the early hours of coverage, news outlets threw out that they suspected the perpetrators to be Syrian refugees. As if the xenophobia toward Syrian refugees wasn’t strong enough, the Western media gave Americans one more reason to fear them.

And what’s worse, European tragedies are used by the media to scare our western sensibilities. An airport and metro was attacked, filled mostly with upper and middle class Europeans, and the western world loses its mind. We like to think we’re safe in our privileged bubbles, safe to jet-set and commute in our “civilized” society. All the news outlets keep saying “what if we are next?”. ¬†And yet, these things happen in the Middle East numerous times. Where is their airtime? It’s clear to support “third world” countries that lose just as much (if not more) innocent lives by the same terrorist groups is not trendy but it was definitely trendy to support Paris as we saw with the Facebook “Stand with Paris” french flag filters. Beirut was attacked just hours before the Paris attacks and yet got almost no media coverage. Paris was covered for days, if not weeks, after their singular attack.

I would just like to say I don’t think the victims of the Paris or Belgium attacks don’t deserve to be mourned because they were and are both tragedies. However, I think it should be noted how eurocentric we can be when it comes to tragedy. Has anyone noticed this too?

3 thoughts on “Natalie’s Bridge to the Blog

  1. mitchelleubank25

    I’m afraid that I, too, have noticed the exceptionalism presented with coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Belgium, and the sad thing is, this isn’t just limited to terrorism. Back in 2009, I remember the Iranian election protests – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was “re-elected,” and the citizens demanded a recount – being supplanted by the news of two American celebrities’ deaths on the same day, and even then, they only focused on one of them. The date was June 25, 2009, and the celebrities’ names were Farrah Fawcett… and Michael Jackson. We cried more about the death of a “white” man, than that of a white woman, or the plight of an entire Middle Eastern nation. Couple that with how death by terrorist attack is second nature to Middle Eastern nations, essentially desensitizing the citizenry to violence against other human beings, regardless of where they’re from, compared to the near-rarity of said assaults spilling over into European and American daily life, and it kind of makes sense why we would act this way. If nothing else, it isn’t just American exceptionalism at work, so much as it’s exceptionalism in general, and if you don’t believe me, then look up the YouTube video where a Russia Today reporter quits on air, because of the network’s pro-Russia stance regarding the 2008 attack on South Ossetia.

  2. briannarosem

    I kind of see where you are coming from and kind of don’t. As a nation, yes I feel as though we are very concerned with European countries and the tragedies that occur in their countries. We do place media coverage on those events and I’m sure there are way more terrorist attacks or attacks that occur in smaller locations in under-developed countries we do not hear about. I understand that we as a nation need to be more concerned over ourselves and what our problems are. But with that being said I don’t think these things shouldn’t be morned. As the terror threat in the world becomes greater, all countries are becoming more alert of surroundings and tragedies. Following trends and keeping track of everything the groups allow public about the attacks. I think it is okay to mourn these events. We as a nation need to not only focus on ourselves, but our allies. It may seem unnecessary now, but what if god forbid we were the ones being attacked? Would we want the support from other countries? We would. Support is what gets people through tragedies. It is a hard thing to see and understand until you think of it the other way around unfortunately.

  3. rtolson

    I agree that there is euro-centrism in terms of how the media portrays certain news events and does not highlight others. The “other” being attacks in countries that are not predominantly western civilized but I think it should also be noted that’s a veil to say, countries that are not majority white. One cannot deny the power and privilege that white individuals have, it is at the root of all of our social institutions. We should mourn for all, but do not let that be a way of not highlighting the prevalent oppression and killings of minorities around the world .

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