Sunil Tripathi, young Indian-American, who has been missing since March 16, was vilified on social media sites reporting that the Boston Police Department scanner had named him as one of two men suspected to be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, that left three people dead and about 180 injured.
Many hours later, the Boston police said both the marathon blast suspects, one dead, the other on the run, had both been identified as brothers from Chechnya.
In a statement on Facebook his family said, “We have known unequivocally all along that neither individual suspected as responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings was Sunil. We are grateful to all of you who have followed us on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit-supporting us over the recent hours.” (Read statement here)
For the Tripathis, a few hours on Thursday evening were made up of a nightmare unimaginable even for a family that would have thought of every eventuality in the last three weeks as they have waited for some news about their missing 22-year-old son Sunil.
The name Sunil Tripathi suddenly began trending worldwide on Twitter, as a debate raged online whether one of two pictures of the suspects released by the FBI was indeed that of Mr Tripathi. Even though the photographs that the FBI released of the men they called Suspect 1 and Suspect 2 clearly showed two white men. See tweet
At 2.24 am local time, NBC News tweeted to say, “Speculation that one of bombing suspects is a missing student is not correct, sources tell @PeteWilliamsNBC.” See tweet
Apologies followed. And the demand for apologies. “Sunil “Sunny” Tripathi, 22, is still missing… I send my deepest regrets for falsely identifying him as a suspect,” said a Twitter user, who had earlier tweeted repeatedly about Mr Tripathi as a suspect.
Others were angry. Jammu and Kashmir Chief minister tweeted, “In spite of the Sunil Tripathi fiasco social media users will still believe in a God given gift to tweet/post first & confirm much later.”
Sunil Tripathi is a philosophy major, on approved leave from the elite Brown University, his family has said. A Facebook page - ‘Help us find Sunil Tripathi’ - attracted more than a million views within the first week of being set up by his parents. It described the student as 6’0 tall, 130 pounds, with brown eyes and short brown hair, “a kind, gentle, and shy young man.”
Sunil, they said, “has been struggling with depression since he took a leave of absence from Brown last year. A note suggestive of suicidal intent left behind in his apartment has his family extremely worried.” His father, Akhil Tripathi, runs a software firm in Pennsylvania.
He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a Philadelphia Eagles beanie, and a black sweatshirt. He left behind his ID, wallet and cell phone, the police said.
Security agencies, including the local police and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation, joined in the search for Mr Tripathi.
But mindless fangirls will defend semi-attractive white boys no matter what racist shit they pull…
Also, keep in mind that this is the second time Colton Haynes has done something like this.
On September 24, NPR show Radiolab aired a 25-minute segment on Yellow Rain. In the 1960s, most Hmong had sided with America in a secret war against the Pathet Lao and its allies. More than 100,000 Hmong died in this conflict, and when American troops pulled out, the rest were left to face brutal repercussions. Those who survived the perilous journey to Thailand carried horrific stories of an ongoing genocide, among them accounts of chemical warfare. Their stories provoked a scientific controversy that still hasn’t been resolved. In its podcast, Radiolab set out to find the “fact of the matter”. Yet its relentless badgering of Hmong refugee Eng Yang and his niece, award-winning author and activist Kao Kalia Yang, provoked an outcry among its listeners, and its ongoing callous, racist handling of the issue has since been criticized in several places, including Hyphen. When Hyphen’s R.J. Lozada reached out to Kao Kalia Yang, she graciously agreed to share her side of the story for the first time. What follows are her words, and those of her uncle.
On the date of the interview, Wednesday May 16th, 2012 at 10 in the morning, Marisa Helms (a Minnesota-based sound producer sent by Radiolab), my husband, and I met with Uncle Eng’s family at their house in Brooklyn Center. In customary Hmong tradition, my uncle had laid out a feast of fruits and fruit drinks from the local Asian grocery store. He had risen early, went through old notebooks where he’d documented in Lao, Thai, Hmong, and a smattering of French and English, recollections of Hmong history, gathered thoughts, and written down facts of the time. The phone lines were connected to WNYC studios.
Pat and Robert introduced themselves and asked us for our introductions. The questions began. They wanted to know where my uncle was during the war, what happened after the Americans left, why the Hmong ran into the jungles, what happened in the jungles, what was his experience of Yellow Rain. Uncle Eng responded to each question. The questions took a turn. The interview became an interrogation. A Harvard scientist said the Yellow Rain Hmong people experienced was nothing more than bee defecation.
My uncle explained Hmong knowledge of the bees in the mountains of Laos, said we had harvested honey for centuries, and explained that the chemical attacks were strategic; they happened far away from established bee colonies, they happened where there were heavy concentrations of Hmong. Robert grew increasingly harsh, “Did you, with your own eyes, see the yellow powder fall from the airplanes?” My uncle said that there were planes flying all the time and bombs being dropped, day and night. Hmong people did not wait around to look up as bombs fell. We came out in the aftermath to survey the damage. He said what he saw, “Animals dying, yellow that could eat through leaves, grass, yellow that could kill people — the likes of which bee poop has never done.”
My uncle explained that he was serving as documenter of the Hmong experience for the Thai government, a country that helped us during the genocide. With his radio and notebooks, he journeyed to the sites where the attacks had happened, watched with his eyes what had happened to the Hmong, knew that what was happening to the Hmong were not the result of dysentery, lack of food, the environment we had been living in or its natural conditions. Robert crossed the line. He said that what my uncle was saying was “hearsay.”
I had been trying valiantly to interpret everything my uncle was saying, carry meaning across the chasm of English and Hmong, but I could no longer listen to Robert’s harsh dismissal of my uncle’s experience. After two hours, I cried,
“My uncle says for the last twenty years he didn’t know that anyone was interested in the deaths of the Hmong people. He agreed to do this interview because you were interested. What happened to the Hmong happened, and the world has been uninterested for the last twenty years. He agreed because you were interested. That the story would be heard and the Hmong deaths would be documented and recognized. That’s why he agreed to the interview, that the Hmong heart is broken and our leaders have been silenced, and what we know has been questioned again and again is not a surprise to him, or to me. I agreed to the interview for the same reason, that Radiolab was interested in the Hmong story, that they were interested in documenting the deaths that happened. There was so much that was not told. Everybody knows that chemical warfare was being used. How do you create bombs if not with chemicals? We can play the semantics game, we can, but I’m not interested, my uncle is not interested. We have lost too much heart, and too many people in the process. I, I think the interview is done.”
Before we hung up the phone, I asked for copies of the full interview. Robert told me that I would need a court order. I offered resources I have on Yellow Rain, news articles and medical texts that a doctor from Columbia University had sent my way, resources that would offer Radiolab a fuller perspective of the situation in Laos and the conditions of the Hmong exposed to the chemicals. My uncle gave Marisa a copy of a DVD he had recorded of a Hmong woman named Pa Ma, speaking of her experiences in the jungles of Laos after the Americans left, so that the Radiolab team would understand the fullness of what happened to the Hmong. After we hung up the phone, there was silence from the Radiolab team."
- MUST READ: Kao Kalia Yang, “The Science of Racism: Radiolab’s Treatment Of Hmong Experience,” Hyphen Magazine 10/22/12
Whites are about 78% of the American public. According to Gallup, about 19% of whites were opposed to interracial marriage in 2007. That’s a pretty small minority of whites, but in total number, that’s something like 49 million people. There are only 69 million or so non-white people living in the U.S. That means that the number of whites who oppose interracial marriage is greater than all of any one U.S. racial minority group. Why are they so afraid?
I believe what whites have to fear is white people.
When white supremacy was challenged by the racial justice movements of the 1950s and ’60s, white elites pivoted from overt racism and co-opted the language and symbols, but not the substance, of racial justice. By doing so, they were able to position themselves as champions of a new colorblind code of civility that reduces structural racial injustice to an attitudinal problem. This enabled them to block attempts to reorganize unjust power relations while deflecting responsibility for continuing injustice on overt racists who were cast as ignorant, immoral, and backward.
This move caused whiteness to fracture. The dominant faction of elites adopted a strategy of coded messaging and avoidance of obvious racial conflict, while using overt racists as a foil against which to position themselves as racial egalitarians. When whites are exposed as racists, their anger is in part a reaction to the fear that they will be cast out of the dominant faction of whites and marginalized along with old fashioned racists like the KKK.
If you buy that, what we are up against, at least in part, is a factional fight among whites over how best to maintain supremacy. And for people of color to concede to that by avoiding direct attacks on racism is like cutting off our noses to spite our faces."
He lives for this, though. Every “fact-check” just makes him more powerful. The only answer is to deport him and build a fence along the Atlantic coast and around all of the Ivy League schools.
Alex Pareene, your god damn brilliance.
Remember when Pankaj Mishra rightly called Niall Ferguson a racist and apologist for imperialism and colonialism? Remember when Niall Ferguson defended the British Empire including its human rights violations in the Subcontinent, now Pakistan and India? Remember when Mishra reviewed Ferguson’s god awful “Civilisation: The West and the Rest”?
Let’s just say Niall Ferguson is a pathetic waste of space.