Jul 12, 2010

The Faith Club - Chapter 5

Okay, this one was about stereotyping...an easy trap that anyone can fall into.  Unfortunately, it's filled with more whining.  Seriously ladies, GROW UP.

Then, they go from whining to hyper-sensitive.  On page 67, Ranya says "I feel like I am fighting stereotypes every day, A mother hosting my daughter on a playdate asked if Leia had any dietary restrictions."  Uh...that's a stereotype??  I'd take that as a respectful question! In this day and age, it doesn't even have to do with religion -- there are many children with allergies to all kinds of things, this question is now a common thing to ask.  Seriously, stop the whining!!

I soon came to a part that I agree with though.  On page 70, Ranya talks about the stereotyping of Muslims, "I think Muslims and Arabs are now the only groups in our society about whom other people think they can make racial slurs and jokes without being labeled racists...you can find that stereotype of Muslims everywhere now - that they are aggressive, violent, abusive of women - and people don't feel any shame about holding or expressing it."  I agree.  I do...except that I would go further.  I would go on to say that a typical Muslim woman who wears a head scarf and looks like the picture here -- most would consider them uneducated, demeaned, beaten, subjugated, oppressed....need I go on??  I know this because I was able to see both sides of the situation.  I went from Non-Muslim (assuming those poor covered women had such sad lives) to a covered Muslim woman who can walk into a store and have people say to me, "Hi...Can ...I ...Help...You??" in a loud and slow voice because the first thing that they think is that I can't speak English.

There was another quote that I agree with on page 74, "Every minority or ethnic group has at one point or another suffered from being stereotyped, but these days most people tend to view stereotypes as stereotypes and have a sense that they are not true.  I think Islam is the exception to this rule: in the West most people have only one image of Islam - they carry a stereotype of Islam as a violent, radical, and regressive religion."

As I said, I agree with this as well.  Just as any religion, we have our bad apples, but the world doesn't turn on Christianity as a whole because Timothy McVay bombed that building in Oklahoma City.  They didn't judge every Sikh after the Air India bombing.  The wars that seem to go on in countries all over the world are proclaimed as guerrilla attacks...yet, if a Muslim is involved, it's suddenly an "Islamic Terrorist Cell".  Why?


Erin said...

I'm with you on the whining. I'm finding it hard to take their discussion seriously with the childish behaviour that they are displaying.

I find the whole "mantle of victimhood" to be a very strange thing, that Priscilla seems to think she's the only one who has suffered ( has she personally, not sure there). Not trying to minimize the Holocaust here, I'm just thinking of the quote on pg 74 as well. Through history, how many have died due to Faith, Politics, civil war and greed?

I didn't like the way Ranya was shunted to the side during the "discussion" between Suzanne and Priscilla, like these 2 women are still viewing her opinions as having less weight than theirs.

I have never thought of a woman who wears a headscarf to be less educated or intelligent than anyone else. Maybe over the years I have lived in too many places with folks who's lives differ from mine to care about what's on a person's head ( though I must confess I find it odd when a woman has her face covered, maybe because it's less common?).
I do have friends who are surprised when they find out I have friends who do cover their hair ( well, some in my past, and one presently)...I even had one friend ask me if my husband was ok with it. I had to close my jaw with my hand on that one.

Stereotypes bother me a great deal, and I try not to judge anyone by them...but I'm human, and it does happen.

Hethr said...

So, Erin...is your husband okay that we're friends?? ;o)

Erin said...

More than! :o)

NanLT said...

Hmmm... I didn't get the impression with this chapter that they were whining. Here, instead, was a safe place where each woman could voice those fears she had held inside.

I worry people judge me because....

I fear being judged because....

It doesn't help that the entire chapter starts with the impression of foot stomping. "Stop Stereotyping Me!" but, throughout you see the women discovering more about themselves. Not about each other - but about themselves. Each discovers within herself her own prejudices and fears.

Discovers, faces, and because she is in a safe place where she can speak these feelings out loud, she is able to release them. Each started out reacting to what the other women said based upon her own internal fears. By the end, you saw that all 3 of the women had moved beyond that and were able to act instead of react.

Anonymous said...

The world didn't turn on Christianity when Timothy McVay bombed that building, because he didn't do it in the name of God as Muslims do in the name of Allah, period.

Hethr said...

Wow -- that's a blatant lie right there. To your point of view then, ALL Muslims all around the world are raised and have the "death to America" philosophy.

This is wrong and is only spread by ridiculous fools who open their mouths (or type) before they think.

SOME people who CLAIM that they are Muslim or acting in the name of Islam do this - the fact is that they are not gaining this opinion from any part of Islam.

But, I thank you for your ignorant comment. It just proved my point.

Chantilly said...

I am having a hard time with Suzanne as I find her "innocence" fake.
I have to be honest that I did not know much about the muslim culture before knowing you but never did I think Muslims were any different than me. I am having difficulty expressing my thoughts on this book

Hethr said...

I completely understand, Chantilly -- I can't decide if I like it or not. I know that I don't like any of the "characters"...Suzanne is too sweet, Priscilla is too much of a victim, and Ranya is too wishy washy.

FlyBabySHE said...

Y'know..before I met hubby, I dated a Muslim guy for about a year. He's a sweet, kind, caring, funny, wonderful man, and he took the time to explain some of the basics of the Muslim religion to me. Not that I believed they were all a bunch of radical terrorists to start with, but neither did I realize that, for the most part (as with any religious group), they're kind, loving, generous, giving people. Yes, they have their radicals, but so does Christianity. I mean..we've all heard of the Crusades, right? Or the Spanish Inquisition? The witch hunts of Salem? It doesn't make any of it right. People are who they are, and assholes are assholes, no matter what colour their skin or what church they go to.

NanLT said...

At this time I wouldn't consider what Suzanne to be showing to be innocence - it's more naivety in my mind.

I've come across it a lot with people (generally Christian but they haven't had an exclusivity on this) who have never considered that there might be a religion out there besides theirs that meets the needs of its believers. They go on in their own inner world, never expanding their horizons beyond what is on their doorstep.

I predict that we will see a lot of changes in Suzanne and perhaps even her own crisis of faith in the coming chapters as the other two before more affirmed in their own beliefs.

NanLT said...

Just reread the first comment about asking about dietary restrictions. When the boys invited other kids to a birthday party for the first time, that was the first thing I asked the parents.

We have a lot of kids at their primary school whose parents were immigrants (last year in the nursery the children spoke 14 different languages at home). I know that from a religious point of view, we have families who are Christian (mostly church of England), Hindu, Muslim, and given a family surname, possible Jain.

Asking about dietary needs is a logical and respectful thing to do as far as I am concerned.

Keahn said...

Okay, I'm going to just lightly touch on a few things because I'm behind on postings AND I'm expecting a few of my grandchildren (yes, I was a child bride) to be dropped off in about 40 minutes. :)

Like NanLT, I did not take the question regarding dietary concerns as stereotyping. I was honestly puzzled when it was. It's often been my view that many people create problems where none exist and this appears to be one of those moments.

When Priscilla apparently was surprised to find out about the Islamic / Christopher Columbus connection, my first thought was,"Really? You had NO idea of the contributions Islam / Muslims have made to the world? Hmmmm...then you were REALLY out of place jumping all over Suzanne for not knowing anything regarding Jews being 'blamed' for Christ's crucifixion, Sweetie."

No, not EVERYONE in the West views the Muslim faith as a violent religion -- because anyone who has paid attention to HISTORY, religious or secular, can remember when Christianity / Catholicism was considered a violent religion, too.

I did agree with Ranya in that freedom of speech does NOT automatically condone hateful or derogatory remarks.

It did appear that everyone was a victim in this chapter.

When Priscilla says: "I think that it's like a schoolyard where there are social outcasts, and then there is the popular crowd. The Christians are the popular crowd,and you are one of them," my first reaction was, "Does she realize that even the 'popular' crowd isn't necessarily popular with each other?" It's sad, but even Christians do NOT all think and act alike! The denominations within the Christian community now fight to see which one is Top Dog -- as in, "If you don't practice Christianity OUR way, you're going to Hell like all the Others!"

I also found it interesting that someone, like Priscilla, who is so hung-up on stereotypes, actually referred to Suzanne's, "WASP reserve." OH NO YOU DIDN'T....

The fact that she then goes on to write of "how many months" she "had spent with Suzanne" in the group already made me ponder, "Months? You three have been in this group 'talking' for MONTHS at this point? It certainly doesn't seem as if you've gotten very far in your understanding of each other as people, let alone of different faiths, in MONTHS."

I agree with Suzanne in that the way many professed Christians spread the Good News actually is a "real turnoff" and ends up keeping more people away from the church than bringing them into the fold. Because,yes, their "message reinforces an image of Christians as judgemental and arrogant" -- as I've stated previously, "IF you haven't been saved OUR way there's no room on the HEAVEN BUS for you!" Oy Vey! :(

Hethr said...

"no room on the Heaven Bus"

I laughed out loud for real -- I have a new comment to go along with my "Suck it up, Buttercup" and other witty sayings. Thanks!

NanLT said...

Is the heaven bus anything like the short bus?

Sorry ---- the voices in my head made me say that. Time to take more medicine.

NanLT said...

Every time I scroll through this page to see if there are any new comments, I fall more in love with the outfit the woman in the middle is wearing up there. I love it.

Keahn said...

NanLT, yes -- I think (if I take HOW some Christians talk about Heaven and being SAVED) that the Heaven Bus is THE short bus (and I mean that strictly in the Christian sense). :)

P.S. The Hell Bus in the L-O-N-G one and I think someone, somewhere has my E ticket waiting.

NanLT said...

I actually had someone once tell me I needed to take out fire insurance - because I was going to burn in hell.

Of course, she also told me in all sincerity that the oldest religion in the world was Christianity.


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