Celebrating arabs and grateful terrorists: Rumor and the politics of plausibility

Gary Alan Fine, Irfan Khawaja

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Within hours after the attacks on the World Trade Center, rumors began to circulate across America of "Arabs dancing in the streets" in celebration of the attacks. The rumors were first shared on talk-radio with callers reporting celebrations that they claimed to have witnessed themselves. A second rumor paints a more benign vision. In this rumor, as much about gender politics as about terrorism, a young woman is warned by her boyfriend, a man of Arab ethnicity that she should avoid a location on a particular date. Americans have the strength and weakness, respectively, of pragmatism and a political culture in which a broad consensual politics crowds out alternative views. In the days and months after the rumor spread, it was used to make political points beyond the boundary of the rumor itself. The second rumor complex has a different relationship to action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRumor Mills
Subtitle of host publicationThe Social Impact of Rumor and Legend
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages189-205
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781351492522
ISBN (Print)0202307468, 9780202307473
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Celebrating arabs and grateful terrorists: Rumor and the politics of plausibility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Fine, G. A., & Khawaja, I. (2017). Celebrating arabs and grateful terrorists: Rumor and the politics of plausibility. In Rumor Mills: The Social Impact of Rumor and Legend (pp. 189-205). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315128795-18