Anti-Terror War Not Spreading Ethnic Discrimination

KNOXVILLE – Civil liberties groups have expressed fears of ethnic profiling and discrimination against Arab-Americans since September 11.

But a University of Tennessee history professor says the U.S. war on terrorism has not been the cause.

Dr. Robert Norrell, who holds UT’s Chair of Excellence in History and studies U.S. race relations, says most Americans have not lashed out at innocent Middle Easterners.

Dr. Robert Norrell

“I don’t think that the mistreatment of any minority group in this country has significantly increased since September 11th,” Norrell said. “I just have seen not nearly enough evidence to persuade me that that is true.”

Norrell says public opinion in the U.S. has focused on improving safety in the aftermath of the attacks.

“People are correctly alarmed about safety in this country and the real threat of terrorism,” Norrell said, “but I think it is a tribute to American values and the overall decency of most Americans that we have tolerated very little group hostilities as a results of the horrific things that happened on September 11th.”

Norrell currently is working on a book on American race relations for the Oxford Press.