Hartman: Anti-refugee activist use broad generalizations that are 'remarkably insulting'

"Why is it so difficult to judge individuals on a case by case basis and stop leaping to conclusions because they don't look like you?" - Chad Hartman

The Chad Hartman Show
June 21, 2019 - 12:05 pm

In the wake of a New York Times story Thursday on the reoccurring tensions around refugees in St. Could, Chad Hartman of News Talk 830 WCCO had a pair of guests from different sides of the issue that were both featured in the piece. First, he interviewed John Palmer, a former university professor and anti-refugee activist, and then Ekram Elmogem, a young Somali woman who said she had been harassed by white residents.

After the two interviews, Hartman made his position clear: while he's open to the debates around specific policy aspects of refugee resettlement, like how many refugees the country should admit, he thinks that anti immigrant activists like Palmer are wrong to use high profile incidents, such as the 2016 ISIS-inspired knife attack at a St. Could mall, as a way of attacking or denigrating the state's entire Mulsim and refugee population. 

For Hartman, the problem occurs when people like Palmer attempt to attribute traits to an entire group based on the actions of one individual or by a small faction or the population. 

"That is just a broad generalization which denigrates individuals," Hartman said. 

Late he added: "To say others who just happened to share religion, or by the way their skin isn't white, to go to that conclusion... I just find remarkably insulting."

"Why is it so difficult to judge individuals on a case by case basis and stop leaping to conclusions because they don't look like you?" he asked rhetorically at another point in his monologue. 

Listen to Hartman's reaction here: 

Hartman zeroed in on how Palmer had cited a study indicating the IQ levels of Somali people were different from Americans. Some important context: The genetics of IQ and the genetics of race are two very different and very complex fields of study, and there is no reliable research allowing for any scientific conclusions to be be drawn by comparing IQs levels between two large, genetically diverse groups that live in different countries. 

As Hartman pointed out, in a country with as high population as the United States, you are going "to have some brilliant, amazing, fantastic genius level people and you're all going to have some fools, who are ignorant." For Hartman, Palmer's use of IQ, was both incorrect and an, "extraordinary generalization."

As for the 2016 attack, Hartman recognized that it was indeed religiously motivated, but he pointed to mass shootings committed by white males, sometimes also under the guise of religion.  

On that issue, Hartman's producer, Sheletta Brundidge, who is also an on-air personality and the host of the Two Haute Mammas podcast, had her own point to make: 

"I'm just tired of people from the Muslim community and Somali community feeling like they have to apologize when one person commits an act of terror as if it's a reflection of everyone who looks like the person committing the crime," she said.  

"You know, when Dylan Roof went in and shot up a church full of people who welcomed him in, in South Carolina, white men weren't running to the microphone in every city saying, 'We're not like that. It's not us. Don't judge us. We're sorry on his behalf and we're going to do better to promote unity and show you the white man are great people.'

"White men don't have to do that, so why do the Muslim people, here in this country who are refugees or Muslim American or people specifically from the Somali community in St. Cloud have to do that? It's not fair," she said. 


While St. Cloud has seen its fair share of political tensions around the city's growing Somali population, there have also been success stories, perhaps none more prominent than that of  Halima Aden, a model from St. Cloud who became the first woman to pose in SI Swimsuit while wearing a hijab and burkini

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