Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ignorance

I bought this beautiful shirt from Threadless the other day (click the image for a bigger version). I love the message behind it, that all people can get along and have fun if they put aside their differences. It makes me happy and squishy inside and I knew I had to have it.

So I wore it to work and proudly showed it off. One co-worker frowned and pointed:

Co-worker: "Who's that?"
Me: "Uh ... that's a Muslim Imam*."
Co-worker: "Oh ... I thought maybe it was Saddam Hussein or someone because he was wearing a turban."

WHAT. I was actually so stunned I had no idea what to say, I think I ended up laughing nervously and walking away. It deeply saddens me that "turban = terrorist" to so many people now. Growing up in London, I saw people wearing turbans every day and it never registered as unusual. But recounting this story to Americans here, they've nodded sadly and admitted that to many, turbans now mean a person cannot be trusted.

I wish I could pass it off as one ignorant person, but the truth is that it is a consistent issue with humanity. We love to segregate people and fit them into nice little niches. After all, it's much easier to simply dismiss someone outright for the color of their skin or for their religious beliefs than to get to know them and judge them fairly.

An ex-co-worker and I decided to have coffee and catch a movie after work one day. He admitted that I confused and frustrated him, because he couldn't fit me into a niche. I have long, black hair and facial piercings, which made him think I was a goth. But I am Buddhist, I generally listen to Japanese pop music and I knit on my breaks at work, I love to cook and take care of my pets and I am bi in a same-sex relationship. He had no idea how to segregate me, and when I suggested that he just accept me for who I am, he looked totally lost.

Some people need to learn to form impressions with their heart first, and eyes second.

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* After a bit of research on Wikipedia, I have discovered I may have been wrong to call him an Imam. In fact, I'm not sure exactly what would be the correct term, or whether it can even be determined from the picture. A Mullah? Muezzin? Any Muslims reading this that could clarify for me?

7 Comments:

At 8/08/2007 9:52 AM, Blogger Steph said...

just a hi - i'm doing the opposite of you - i'm an american living in london :)

 
At 8/12/2007 12:45 PM, Blogger Subservient No More said...

Hi! I like your new shirt very much, so of course I have to throw my fifteen cents in on the issue of the turban. I thought Sikhs wore turbans.

Maybe lots of people wear turbans. I'm not sure. On your shirt I think the turban man is meant to be some sort of Muslim something though because of the point of the shirt - with everyone getting along.

I'm glad I found your blog. I will be back.

 
At 8/15/2007 2:57 AM, Blogger Otana said...

Hi Subservient No More! I've been a long time reader of your blog, I found the stories about Basura fascinating. Glad to hear you got out of there though.

And you could be right, I believe Sikhs do wear turbans. Growing up in London meant I saw a lot of Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus amongst other religious practitioners, and the sight of turbans was so common that I never really looked twice at them.

I don't update very often, but I hope you'll enjoy it when I do. :)

 
At 8/15/2007 2:57 AM, Blogger Otana said...

Hi Steph, glad to meet you! I'm interested in both sides of cross culture, I'd love to hear your opinions on being an American in the UK.

 
At 9/30/2007 11:24 AM, Blogger Lapa said...

TOP PORTUGUESE UNIVERSAL WRITER: CRISTOVAO DE AGUIAR.

He has, also, translated into Portuguese the Wealth of Mations by Adam Smith.

He has been awarded several prizes.

Don't forget the name of this great author, you'll be hearing of him soon.

 
At 12/23/2007 2:46 AM, Anonymous Dongnuts said...

I just live how you got that pic of the jew dancing in the middle of the rest of the subhumans..when little do they know that the FILTHY KIKE is the reason why the countries of those other fucks are IN SHIT

 
At 12/21/2009 5:38 PM, Blogger Yajirobe-sama said...

Oh, what a fucking bitch YOU are.

Tell your bitchy dyke friend to leave me alone.

 

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