Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

22 Dec 2002, 0:26 a.m.

I Used to Want to Be Cokie Roberts

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I lay in couch (bed workalike) a few mornings ago as NPR woke me. And I heard about the INS's new registration policy. I heard defenders and critics discuss the new laws requiring fingerprints and interviews with young men on temporary visas from selected countries. And I thought, uneasily, ambivalently, "I don't trust our government with that power and information these days, but maybe we need to have this sort of program. Maybe we need to become more like Israel. Maybe security requires it."

The announcer added, "Notably, Saudi Arabia is not on the list --"

"[Multiple expletives]!" I exclaimed, insta-rage filling my skin and veins.

I could just imagine. Setting: airport security. "Well, he's got a knife, and a gun, and a bomb -- oh, wait, he's from Saudi Arabia! They're our ally! Yes, sir, go right on through!"

Next turn of events: I discovered that the government had added Pakistan and Saudia Arabia to The List. I gladly switched back from Enraged to Very Relucantly Supportive. "All right, if Saudia Arabia's on the list, then the list may actually do good," I considered.

Next turn of events: I hear about massive arrests and mistreatments of foreigners who showed up to register in accordance with the law. I join other webloggers in opining that the next time Uncle Sam asks the furners to turn themselves in, they'll consider this incident a lesson and decline.

Sometime soon, I expect, I'll feel government or social discrimination because I look brown. And just when I was hoping my comedy career would take off.