Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|are we too racially sensitive?|
|07/23/01 at 20:58:07|
although with muslims race may not be the only factor, this is just an interesting look at how racial prejudice affects everyday life in the US... anyone have any thoughts to add to this? :)
[color=blue]Getting Under Our Skin
Can Casual Comments and Gestures
Be Racially Charged?
July 23 — If a white woman with long hair flips her hair back in the presence of a black woman, might her actions be racially charged, or interpreted that way?
Perhaps, suggests author Lena Williams. Williams says because the media ideal is long, straight hair, a white woman may be insulting — even if she's not aware of it — a black woman, whose hair, she says, may be coarse or nappy.
Current census reports tell us the United States is more diverse than ever, so one might think in the new millennium we have figured out how to socialize with people of different races. But according to Williams, author of The Little Things: The Everyday Interactions That Get Under the Skin of Blacks and Whites, it's these kinds of gestures that keep racial tension alive and well. Read an excerpt.
"They're not the big issues. It's everyday interactions," says Williams, a New York Times reporter. "Things that we are doing that may be … aggressive, may be irritating, may be misinterpreted."
Locking Doors and Getting Too Personal
For example, when driving on the highway and passing others, says Ron Green, who is black, "I'll often see people reach over and … lock the car door." Green's interpretation is that his race is the catalyst for fear.
Green says he's also offended when a white person asks, "What's the latest dance?"
Another African-American man, Ronald Wyche, says he's insulted when whites ask his opinion of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. "They say, 'What about Farrakhan? Are you going to condemn him?'" He says he responds, "Why do I have to condemn him? Do you have to condemn [conservative televangelist Jerry] Falwell?"
Dr. Alvin Poussaint, a black Harvard psychiatrist, feels some whites get personal with black people too quickly.
"When a policeman calls me Alvin, I recoil. Because I know that tradition in the South and around the country was not to address black people as Mr., Mrs. or Miss … I find it disrespectful," he says.
"This is where the problem is," says Poussaint. "Black people were historically viewed as non-persons who whites could just ask anything and become over-familiar with."
To follow up on Williams' revelations about what gets under our skin, ABCNEWS asked an independent marketing firm to assemble a group of blacks and a group of whites from across the country, drawing on people of all ages and income levels.
Such slights, according to members of these focus groups, are commonplace. "I was looking through the store, and the storeowner said 'Everything in here is expensive,'" says one woman. "Just to assume because I'm black that I couldn't afford what you have in the store."
'It's a Black Thing'
Williams says many white people don't realize such actions can be interpreted as offensive. What they might consider chit-chat or pleasant cocktail conversation about one's job, for instance, can actually be perceived as insulting.
"It's the tilting of the head, the mouth kind of opens a little bit, the eyes squint, and they say, 'You work for who? You're the CEO?'" says Williams.
Focus groups also pointed out that racism is not a one-sided affair, as both blacks and whites can be guilty of making assumptions.
"When I was going to a fraternity party at a black fraternity," says a 34-year-old white man, John Rosenwinkle, "and was told, 'What are you doing here, cracker? You're trying to get into our party.' That offended me."
Likewise, says Larry Isard, it can be offensive for a white person to be told, "It's a black thing. You wouldn't understand."
"Why would I understand what somebody else is talking about?" asks Isard.
Are We Too Sensitive?
While some of these interactions may have racial overtones, ABCNEWS' Elizabeth Vargas asks: Can racial sensitivity go too far?
"I think sometimes, yes, based on what their past experiences might be," says Poussaint, adding that there are instances when some blacks might see nearly every issue in terms of race."
Williams says such slights and insults can often result in pent-up frustrations and hostility, but she suggests ways for moving beyond color lines.
"Some of this stuff we have to laugh about," she says. "First we laugh … then you can go to the big things." [/color]
|Re: are we too racially sensitive?|
|07/24/01 at 19:35:03|
I do not think we as Muslims are too racially sensitive. We should stand up for what is right. Example: If I was watching a movie,that sterotyped Arabs/Muslims as terriosts or savages beasts,etc. I will definally write a letter complaining. No one should call any race-racist names or sterotype them in any way. Regardless of Free Speech. If you notice a lot of movies have sterotype Muslims/Arabs and disbelivers actually believe it.
_BUT_ if a Arab/Muslim makes jokes like to a group of Arab/Muslim I won't take it personally cause we can relate. Just like you see blacks/African Americans make jokes about their race. Does this make sense?
|Re: are we too racially sensitive?|
|08/02/01 at 12:49:31|
|As Salaamu Alaikum,|
Are you asking if we feel that we are too sensitive about being Muslims/Arabs (in some cases), or if we are sensitive about racism towards Muslims of other nationalities?
It has bothered me for years that anything having to do with Arabs or Islam immediately brings forth ideas of terrorism. It never fails. I was just watching a movie last week or the week before, where someone unleashed a biochemical weapon on a cruise ship, and the first person to be suspected was a man who traveled alone "with an Arab/Islamic" name! I knew as soon as the word terrorism was mentioned that they would have a Muslim to blame it on. Ofcourse, when they searched his cabin, they found a fatwa written in Arabic from Osama Bin-Ladin. COME ON!!! Now there's a show that's supposed to come on this Fall about some government organization that ruthlessly tracks down criminals. Ofcourse the preview shows that they're trying to "nab" terrorists. One of the characters is shown turning over a piece of evidence with guess what on it......that's right, Arabic writing! It's enough to drive a person insane!!!
As for racism amongst Muslims, I'm sad to say that I've encountered that as well. It's usually just initial prejudice though. I have toooooo many times been mistaken for a Nation of Islam member. Even though I may be in full hijab, it's been assumed that because I'm a Black American and claiming Islam, that I'm with the NOI. When I ask why they think this, they say it's because a lot of Blacks are w/ the NOI. I even had one brother from Algeria bring me a bag a books, the kind that you might give to someone who was just learning. Instead of being insulted, I tried to be appreciative, because even though he was mistaken he was trying to show me to the path of Al-Islam. After getting to know him (because we hadn't ever spoke before that day, he just saw me on my way to work many mornings) and another brother from Mauritania, they said that they would have that a I had studied my whole life in a Mid-Eastern country. After the prejudice is banished, everything is usually wonderful afterwards. Muslims are the most hospitable and level headed individual in the world.
|Re: are we too racially sensitive?|
|08/05/01 at 19:20:05|
There is this popular T.V. show called Dark Angel. Basically the people in the show are now living in a 3rd. World Country. (the U.S.) The intro talks about how terriost turned the U.S. into a 3rd. war country overnight. I seriously never knew what "terriost" they were talking about until they had an eposide talking about the terriosts. They were some Islamic group/person from the Middle East. I think thats the region they mentioned. Hmmm..why doesn't that surpise me?!
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