Never one to shy away from an argument, I’ve thrown down the proverbial fisticuffs more than once. It’s not that I enjoy confrontation; quite the contrary, actually. I aspire for a world where we appreciate one another’s differences and varying perspectives. I long for the day that we can engage in respectful dialogue about even the most “touchy” topics.
Breast vs. bottle, anyone?
Since that day ain’t even close to gettin’ here, I feel the need to be the voice for those who can’t use theirs. As such, I’ve been called a big mouth. A trouble-maker. A bitch.
Human rights issues are particularly near and dear to my heart because–spoiler alert!!–we’re all human.
I’ve engaged in many a debate regarding politics, race, ethnicity–you name it. I’m always in favor of the person. Most recently, I posted the following Facebook status after reading one too many updates that perpetuated racism and prejudice in response to the Boston bombing:
I’m so grateful that Boston caught this kid–and he is a KID–responsible for taking the lives of the innocent and injuring so many others. That said, I’m having a hard time with the fact that so many people are now hating on immigrants, Russians, anyone who is NOT American. Check your family trees, people–none of us started out here. Whatever happened to being united by the human experience? Fist pumps for Boston, thumbs down for some of you!
Unfortunately, not all of my “friends” agree with me. One of them went so far as to say that he hates all Muslims because the recent terrorist attacks on our country have been linked to Al Qaeda and the Muslim faith.
Truly, I’m not trying to “stir the pot,” but the English teacher in me can’t ignore such blatant ignorance. I feel the itch. There is a lesson coming. I hope you’ll stick around and pretend to be my students for a minute. You can even use your cellphones in class. Here goes:
1. Al Qaeda is a militant group that trains for and intends to kill.
2. Muslims are a religious people who peacefully abide by the teachings of the the prophet Muhammad. They, like Christians, are a monotheistic people, follow a holy book, and believe in the power of prayer.
3. Despite some Muslims living and practicing in the same geographic areas as Al Qaeda, not all Muslims belong to Al Qaeda.
So let’s pretend you’ve been living with your head up your ass for the last 10+ years and don’t know what Al Qaeda is or what a Muslim believes. I will gladly put this into perspective for you:
1. The Westboro Baptist Church is a group of Christians that uses the Bible to teach its members to judge and hate.
2. Christians are a religious people who peacefully abide by the teachings of Jesus Christ. They, like Muslims, are a monotheistic people, follow a holy book, and believe in the power of prayer.
3. Despite some Christians living and practicing in the same geographic areas as the Westboro Baptist Church, not all Christians belong to the Westboro Baptist Church.
Now, just for kicks, let’s pretend that you’re not a religious person, and you could not care any less about this Muslim and Christian “stuff.” Allow me:
1. The Ku Klux Klan is an (extreme) right-wing group of Caucasians, mostly men, who believe “white is right.” They have gone to great lengths to keep different races and ethnicities from infiltrating white America, so much so that they have actually been referred to as a “terrorist” group.
2. My husband is a white dude. He’s pretty conservative.
3. My husband is not a Ku Klux Klan member.
See how silly this is?
Except that it’s not silly; it’s dangerous. Blind hatred and misinformation are dangerous. Not allowing oneself to know the person instead of the adjectives that describe him/her is dangerous.
I’m willing to bet my Facebook friend has never had a conversation with a Muslim. I’m also willing to bet he hates Russians after the Boston bombing. And it wouldn’t surprise me if he thinks I should cover my mouth with my apron and get back into the kitchen.
These kinds of outdated ideas and perceptions are putting us decades behind other countries. But that’s a post for another today.
Today, I’m just making trouble with the help of my man, Atticus Finch:
If you just learn a single trick…you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. —Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
If you’re up for a climbing inside someone’s skin in the non-Hannibal Lecter sort of way, please click HERE for an article written by fellow Families in the Looper, Melanie Tahiri. Melanie is a Muslim and shared her thoughts directly after the Boston bombing, before the suspects were identified.