Casey Kasem, 1932-2014: The Golden Voice

(Photo Credit: Ann Johansson-- New York Times)

Discrimination against Arab Americans was a blight he devoted good part of his energy to combating. He continues to speak out against anti-Arab stereotyping and discrimination in the entertainment industry. His involvement began when his son Mike (then 12) said to him, “Dad, I hate Arabs,” although Mike knew of his Lebanese heritage. Kasem was shocked. His son explained that he saw images of what terrible people the Arabs were on television and in films. Kasem wrote in "Parade" magazine in 1994, “As a student at Detroit’s Wayne State University, I’d learned how media stereotypes can create public attitudes. But that lesson only hit me emotionally when I saw how it affected my son’s self image.”

..."he is very active, a real doer and not a talker. He does not back away from causes he believes in, even if they are unpopular." For example, during the Gulf War, even though a majority of Americans supported the action, he publicly spoke against the war, telling C-SPAN, “I think war is archaic, I think it’s ancient, I think it’s uncivilized... It’s been customary for the world since the beginning of man to solve their problems with a club, with a gun... It’s acceptable because it’s custom."

Making the connections between the Israeli military campaign in Lebanon in 1996 and the Gulf War in 1991, "He asked people to imagine the feelings of horror as bombs dropped upon them and their children, as they tried to face a powerful military might, and “the possibility of cold steel blowing your head off, or your arm, or your leg, or paralyzing you,” he told C-SPAN. He believed that the word war does not tell the whole story, and should be changed. “Let’s change it from “war” to “slaughter.” Slaughter # 1, Slaughter #2, the Gulf Slaughter. Because that’s what it is...” ( From " Casey Kasem: One “Talker” Who is a Real “Doer” in Al Jadid, Vol.2, No. 6, 1996).

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