Monday, December 04, 2006

CC smites forehead. Repeatedly. Hard.

According to this, as a prank, a DJ here in DC suggested tattoing Muslims and/or making them wear armbands.

And of course, lots and lots of people were in favor of the idea.


Off to work.


Ps. I brought up some questions about anti-Racism work in my YRUU leader meeting yesterday and the head of the program said that if I wanted to take some kids to the YRUU anti-racism shindig in New Orleans in February, I could, in fact she would LOVE to see me go. I don't know if that person was sicking me on the anti-racism conference or sicking the anti-racism conference on me, but from the context I gathered one or the other was true.

I realize I come off as a contrarian, but I honestly am not asking questions like "How do cultures that mistreat women fit into the general theory that all cultures are equal and should all be respected and not judged by white American standards?" to amuse myself with my own cleverness. To me, that seems like a very basic question and one to which I don't have a really satisfactory answer myself. But it's the sort of thing one expects folks who do this stuff as a major life project to have worked out, and I haven't ever gotten a truly straight answer on that from someone who actually does anti-racism work.

who asked that question in a more thoughtful form here


Anonymous said...

I think part of it is being able to see that the Other culture isn't some monolithic whole. I don't feel compelled to respect any mindset that does not itself recognize the basic common humanity of all people, regardless of race, gender, etc. Yet I can see how some people will hold beliefs that I don't share due to reasonable priorities. For example, someone who honestly thinks there is sense in the Hindu caste system because it makes for a more orderly society -- I can respect that despite its being completely at odds with liberal capitalistic Western mores that don't tend to prioritize orderliness. Someone who likes the caste system because it allows him to treat certain other people as subhuman, no respect. Or giving dowry when your daughter marries -- it's been technically outlawed in India because of all the bad stuff it leads to, but if you go by what the original intent for the tradition was (to ensure the daughter has assets of her own in case the marriage ends for whatever reason), it's not a bad thing and I might tell parents whose daughter is marrying to put assets in her name that she can access only upon the end of the marriage.

I'm applying all this to what might be considered "my" culture, but it follows for others' cultures as well. I think there are good reasons for Muslim women to cover themselves, and also bad reasons. & so forth.

Anonymous said...

Not quite on topic, but if you haven't read this about chaplains at workplaces, you might find it interesting. The guy at the Tyson's plant really does seem to take his role as a non-denominational spiritual assistant seriously.

Anonymous said...

I think I was sicking you on them... I deeply admire your candor and your eloquence on issues. You are well-read and very considered in your approach. I think too often at these kinds of events "we" are sucked into the "expert" perspective and I know I am often afraid to question the methods or the issues. All the issues are presented so matter-of-factly and one-sided. There's always at least two sides to every issue -- usually 100. I'd like our Social Justice training events to dig deeper and promote more critical thinking about the various perspectives that exist. I'm an ultr-liberal, but I still see that there are legitimate perspectives on from the conservative camp. I'm also an idealist and I believe that when we sit down and examine what we are truly committed to and what we most want from this one wild life, that we aren't really too far apart. But, I'm probably being too idealistic here...there probably are neocons and religious right folks whose vision is so far from mine that we might never find common ground. In the end though, we all just want our children to lead happy, fulfilling lives and not hurt anyone else.

I thought about your question after the meeting. I think that there are basic human rights that transcend cultures that we have an obligation to respond to. There have always been oppressed and abused people who did not see themselves as such because when all around you are in the same wretched conditions, there may be no vision of another way of being. The challenge is to effect human rights changes in another culture without imposing our own cultural biases. So, when we see genocide in Darfur, we need to respond. When we see women mutilated and oppressed, we need to speak up..and act up.

So I say all this from my comfy home here in No. Va. - so far removed and so caught up in my day-to-day demands that I do so little to actually effect major change in this world. The news the other night just went on and on and on with earth-shattering items: global warming, nuclear weapons, baby mutilations... I think there should be a rule that for every tragic story on the news there are two heroic stories (and this was on BBC - I NEVER watch network news...that would be way too depressing!).

Blah, blah, blah... now you know why I don't have a blog... a lot of blather with not much to say!


Chalicechick said...


Hi there,

I actually have been thinking about going if some youth would like to go. At the same time, I don't know that such a place would be a great forum for my concerns, particularly since I'd be there as an adult among youth.

I get what you're saying about there being an inherent moral standard somewhere, but am at a loss as to how we determine hwo influenced by culture our view of what a basic moral standard is.

Of course, I have a pretty strong idea of what mine is, but I never claimed to respect all cultures equally.

When I saw you found my myspace page, I figured you'd find the Chaliceblog eventually and I was tempted to come back and vet this post lest you should get the impression that I regularly write about the church or the youth group. Though it happens occaisionally when something really makes me think, I really don't make a habit of it.

Anyway, welcome, and feel free to check out
The Chaliceblog Glossary
if you run across a running joke you don't get. I try to keep that updated.