An American werewolf in Kabul: John Walker Lindh, the construction of race, and the return to whiteness
On 1 December 2001, North America was officially introduced to John Walker Lindh The American Taliban. Lindh was captured in Afghanistan fighting against the Northern Alliance. The event created a groundswell of news reports concerning the political development of Lindh. In this paper, I interrogate the ways in which race is reproduced through a popular online magazine and its account of the John Walker Lindh case. There is a series of narratives used to describe Lindh that relies upon a moral panic of sorts to accomplish two critical tasks. First, it polices the boundaries of whiteness by alternately whitening Lindh and othering Islam. Second, these depictions mobilize support for a metanarrative of national discipline exemplified by the Patriot Act. Both discourses represent a cautionary tale against border crossing and racial transcendence in a so-called post-9/11 era.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of British Columbia.
Publication date: 2006-07-01
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