Stereotyping is Another Form of Bullying
Mocking Muslims is a Regular Pastime in American Society
Why is it OK to bad mouth Muslims, any Muslim person or group, stranger or acquaintance or coworker, bus or cab driver, shopkeeper and more?
To stereotype Muslims online, on cable news programs, radio shows, on social media, based on lies and rumors and Islamophobic diatribes, movies, videos and gossip?
The only answer is: it is NOT!
I was born in America, albeit into a Territory of the United States that eventually gained statehood in my teenage years. I looked like the majority peoples, spoke without a foreign accent, practiced the majority holidays, and understood that we had a position of honor because we deserved it - smart, determined, hard-working, educated as we were, possessing all the good traits. Well, that was how it seemed to a child's mind, but it didn't set well with me.
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS copyright 2013 by Leslie Sinclair - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - no use permitted
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This is an Enlightening Read About Stereotyping Muslims
You may value the explanations presented in this text about how we in the west learn to view Muslims and Islam.
Amazon Reviews are lengthy and wide ranging so you can get a perspective on how this book is received.
Detail From my Queen Isabella Painting Â© 1990
During the 50s I heard adults slam Germans (living in Germany or descendants of Germans born in America), Japanese and Koreans for causing World War II, the Korean War, and the state of fear and change in the United States of their birth. Then I learned that it was alright, even funny, to mock people of old world religions who practiced habits that didn't make sense to my family.
It even shocked me early on to hear people important to me puff themselves up and polish us off like a gilded species, in contrast with a people dumb enough to be enslaved and hauled across the Pacific Ocean to build our marvelous national railways, and even farther back in time - to the indigenous peoples who welcomed our ancestors to this continent centuries ago, people gullible enough to think we'd give them their due respect.
Humor Camouflaged Prejudice
So I grew up infused with the acceptance of prejudice and bigotry as the way it was in our land of the free.
We Americans have always been a rather exclusive group, seeking release from the religious prejudice and bigotry in the old countries and proclaiming a freedom of religion on the continent we stole from the first peoples who already called it home.
We learned by osmosis that these Native Americans, who lived in sync with the land they regarded as a loan from the Creator, didn't get it; we were destined by virtue to rule this land.
Whenever my conscience developed it prickled with each new realization that other peoples weren't given the same level of respect I inherited due to the notion of white privilege that frosted the cakes of our lives.
The little me shriveled a bit inside whenever I overheard the leader of a great religion being the butt of some elders' jokes, or when another religious body was made out to be an evil of a different sort, or when foreigners with a darker skin color or a remarkable facial structure were nicknamed in a smart-alecky way.
I Shed My Protected Status for My Beliefs
After graduate school, after raising a family, I refined my religious beliefs.
With my conversion from one to another of the great monotheistic religions, I was suddenly plucked out of the privileged white class.
I was plunked down into the burlap bag of foreign-like minority. Now this became obvious only because I added one thing to my style of dress - a headscarf.
I simply wore it with my already long and loose clothing, and overnight people in my neighborhood could no longer see the ordinary me. Now that was well over a decade ago and one would think that I'd be accustomed to my new place in the social order.
But the macho mentality, as portrayed in the bottom left of the detail of my painting, had lessons to teach me about who's in and who's out.
How Institutionalized Bullying Feels
But somedays, like today, I feel again like the little child who winces inside when others bandy about the name of my religion with the same sort of suspicion and dismay that I observed in the power figures of my childhood - as if it's a blessed thing to do. It troubles me that in the year 2013 people are so callous that it's easy for them to be oblivious to the way they privilege people like them over people like me, or over any other people that are different from them.
The detail from a 1990 painting of mine depicts a disabled person in a wheelchair who observes a vibrant young horse prancing in youthful joy on the chair tray, a simple metaphor for the way our fresh young souls suffer the crippling pollution of bigotry when we fail to examine our prejudices.
The headscarf reference was a giveaway
I'm writing about the institutionalization of bullying where the term Muslim is used in conversation or statement.
I can't help but ask the question:
why is it fine and normal for social media groups to chat within their huge groups about Muslims as if they are one big cohesive group - one the same as the other - and all representative of the truths about Islam?
Liberty for Me Too?
Photographs Are All Details From My Paintings
Questions We Might Consider if We Want to Break Stereotypes About Muslims in 2013
Why does anyone stoop so low as to suck up the lies vomiting forth from hateful cable News?
Why does anyone still cling to the fallacy that Saddam Hussein caused the planes to crash into the buildings and onto that great green field?
Why do otherwise gentle smiling grandmotherly women shout long and loudly "Hero! Hero!" on the heads of American military members who fired brain popping missiles at family wedding celebrations?
Why do we think it is heroic to take megaton aircraft to decimate the lives of innocent children and their families, and praise those flyers' success in hitting the targets and flying back home unscathed themselves? Who do we think they are killing - the 9/11 bombers are already dead.
I think I have the answer.
We are killing that little child self in me, the self that inhabits the hearts of our babies, our tots, our children, our kids, our youth, until they unwrap the gift of the difference-between-us-and-others.
Our young ones are purely beautiful souls who see people as creatures to love if they're exposed to loving instead of cruelty.
But if we teach them the art of Ridicule, then they learn its companion skills: mockery, bullying, and disrespect.
Beauty & Truth From a 9/11 Survivor Child
- On 9/11, A 12-Year-Old Kid Learned A Hard Lesson
This is a brilliant dramatic reading of his poem by a young man who was a boy on 9/11 and suffered the fear that he had lost his father..