“Why do they hate us?” It's a flexible question, isn't it? Born in indignation for the things that we don't really understand, this question brings victimization to a whole new level. It implies that the poser of this question can do no wrong. After all, if “they” hate “us”, surely “we” did something wrong, right? If “we” did something so terrible that “they” hate “us”, surely “we” know what we did. After all, such strong feelings don't come from thin air. These terms in quotation are debatable, pronouns that take the place of no obvious nouns. To whom do these words refer?
These people are the people on either side of the line in the sand. It doesn't matter from whose perspective you view it from, “they” are all that is evil in the world, and “we” are the freedom-fighters, the few who fight against those who oppose us. Those hedonistic westerners with no morality. Those turban-wearing suicide bombers. Both are firmly convinced that “they” are the enemy, and “we” are fighting for what is right. But when right is a moving target, hiding behind various forces that obscure it for a multitude of reasons, how can anyone hope to hit it?
It was mentioned earlier that the wording of “why do they hate us?” itself implies victimization. For a sentence so short, wording will not help—it is general meaning that holds the answers. Just having to ask shows that the one doing the asking genuinely doesn't know—as if they could do no wrong. It doesn't matter if you ask why Muslims hate Americans or why Americans hate Muslims. It doesn't change the fact that either way, the answer probably won't be satisfying; after all, it implies that maybe we just don't know what it is that makes “them” hate “us”.
Search “Why do Americans hate Muslims?” on Google and you get 288,000 hits. If there are so many web pages on the subject, why does the question even need to be asked? The answer to this question is much simpler than it appears to be at first glance. It is a lack of education and awareness. A 2006 Gallup poll found that 39% of respondents feel that American Muslims aren't loyal to the USA. Even if that's not the majority, that's still significant enough to mention. At first, you'd think that the sample pool was prejudiced, or they didn't know any Muslims personally. Not so. That same poll found that 59% of respondents stated that they didn't have any feelings of prejudice against Muslims.
Why are these results so dissonant? It leads one to think that most Americans really don't know what they're really talking about—and that's probably fair to say. The remnants of isolationism in our culture rear their ugly heads in the form of our educational system and media. Public schools spend next to no time on the cultural nuances of other countries. Popular news sources are more likely to cover which celebrities have gained a bit of weight than children living in the hovels of Gaza, Palestine. After all, with very few sources of information, how can the American...