Colour Blind : Hate is taught

>>  Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I read a post today about discrimination.   What would you do if you saw someone being racially abused by a stranger?  Would you step in?  It's a difficult question and I guess much of the answer would depend on the circumstances and how safe I felt in the environment.

It reminded me of a post I read on Dave's Travel Corner called "From the Outside In: My Reflections as a Non-Muslim Wearing the Burqa in Silicon Valley".  It really is worth a read.

It is written by a white American women who decided to wear a burqa for a day in California.  I was immediately shocked by quotes like :

"I remember being both fascinated and repulsed by something so foreign to my awareness and so contrary to my perceptions of what equality and freedom means."

Her writing is not meant to be racist and yet at each paragraph I found myself amazed at a how discriminatory it is. 

"On the flight home from Turkey my mom and I had the good fortune of sitting next to a burqa-clad woman. We observed her interactions with the world through just slits in her eyes. Underneath the multi-layered black drapery, we noticed her hands and arms were covered in long black gloves. Her children and husband sat around her. When she ate she lifted the veil slightly and manoeuvred food underneath toward her mouth. She was very attentive to her children, catering to their every need."

Why would she feel the need to comment that a mother was very attentive to her children.   Did the writer expect her to be beating her children because she was wearing a burqa?   

She decides to wear a burqa for a shopping trip and comments on the reactions of the people around her.  I felt really uncomfortable about this on many levels.  It seemed incredibly disrespectful to me.   I don't know if it's my own boundaries that make me feel this way, but it just seems wrong.  I wouldn't be happy for someone to take communion to see what sort of reaction that could provoke.  It's not the fact that she is wearing the burqa, it's her reasons for doing it that make me feel unhappy about it. 

But at the same time I was also totally shocked by the reactions of people around her.  Suspicious and unaccepting.  Now in fairness if you watch the video she doesn't look right.  Her walk and mannerisms are incongruent with her dress and even in the UK, I think this would make her stand out as odd. So perhaps that was part of the problem, but is America really so totally unaccepting of Muslims or was it a general 'I wish they all could be Californian in California'? 

I know the UK has some difficulties with racial integration but mainly, or mostly, we do it well.  We have a strong mix of so many different cultures, races, religions that we don't really know who we are as a whole any more.  Actually I quite like it that way.  I just want my neighbours to be pleasant, considerate and law abiding.  I don't give a monkey's what race, religion or sexual orientation they are (and for sexual orientation I want the law changing so it is fair for all).

Sometimes I have tried to catch the eye of a lady in a burqa to acknowledge, to share a commonality in a look, mostly I fail.   I have wondered if it is because most random strangers I try to nod at don't acknowledge me back, in that city way, or whether there is a separate cultural issue that causes a level of divide.  Do you remember the Burka and the Bikini discussion?

Where does that ingrained mistrust and misunderstanding come from that are the foundation stones for much greater levels of racial dischord and even hatred?

Hate is taught.

I've said it before and I'll say it again;

One world. One people.

It doesn't matter that they look different, so do you to them. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP