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Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

“Nigga, Please.”

In 2010 on March 26, 2010 at 4:20 am

We all see it. We all hear it. We all face it. We all do it.   

What is it about the human nature that makes us discriminate?  Why are we so prejudiced?  Racist?  Xenophobic?   

We walk the other way and clutch our purses tighter when we see a black man. We cover our bodies as we pass by a group of hispanic men. We ignore the female comment about the latest March Madness basketball game. And we automatically think that the Muslim family on the airplane praying is related to Al Qaeda. Oh, and that Jewish man over there is definitely a cheapass.   

What is it about racism that attracts us? Society obviously deems it an unnecessary evil. So, why is it then that we continue this cycle of discrimination?   

As startling as it may sound, for most of human history, racism did not exist. There was very little to almost no interaction between different ethnic backgrounds.   

Racism started to take its root after the collapse of the first Indus Valley civilization. The Aryans, who migrated from Central Asia to India, established the first legal caste system, separating the light and dark-skinned tribes. The light skinned Aryan tribes overlooked the dark-skinned Dravidian tribes. Light versus the dark.   

Personally, I never understood it.   

Why is it that dark or black is connotated with evil?   

Even in the Babylonian Talmud, the descendants of Noah’s son Ham are “cursed by being black” and Ham is a “sinful man.”   

From these ancient practices and texts to the modern day Rush Limbaughs to our inner selves’, racism exists everywhere.   

Coming from a world of stereotypes and prejudices, I never realized the full extent of what certain words or acts can impose on certain people.   

I thought that saying the words “nigga” or “spic” were a part of an everyday vocabulary that oozed the new generation’s attitude. Say “nigga” so much that it loses its meaning.   

I was wrong.   

Despite the thousands of songs out there that use racial words as a common greeting, these racist terms still have their roots in well….racism.   

They were derived from hate and that will always be their origin no matter how many times we use it.   

So, next time, as you are walking down the city sidewalk, take a good look at your nearby surroundings and for once in your life, don’t judge. Don’t discriminate. Don’t stereotype. Instead, look at the Italian man. Look at the Syrian woman.  Look at the German transsexual.   

And cross out all the racial adjectives that divide us all.   

For once, just look at the human, for God’s Sake.   

The 2OO8 Debate

    

    

 

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Culturally Destined

In Uncategorized, Winter 2010 on March 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

     Bright red and pink chooriyans shimmering in the sun. Endless rows of vendors selling the latest pirated Indian movie. Spicy aromas of the sizzling shish kabobs with naan from the hot clay tandoor.

     While these arousing images might bring back memories of our homeland and its traditions; for others of us, they are just foreign words.

     Most of us reading this would resonate better with Macy’s sterling silver bracelets, ghetto outlet malls in the suburbs and super-sized hamburgers from McDonalds.

    Whatever the traditions may be that we connect with the most, all of us do have a culture in reality. This culture, in turn, becomes our destiny in some ways.

    Culture is what determines our fate from the daily day-to-day decisions to the decisions that affect us for the rest of our lives. What do we eat? Who do we marry? What is appropriate for us to wear?

    “The paradox of human nature is that it is always a manifestation of cultural meanings, social relationships, and power politics,” says Judith Lorber. “It is not biology but culture that makes our destiny.”

    And indeed, Lorber is correct. As human beings, we are mostly born with similar biological parts. So, why is it then that we have immensely different thoughts, values, ideas and morals?

    One word: culture.

    It is in our upbringing that culture differentiates us into one or another. It is our culture that brings upon us the demands of society. It is our culture that destines us.

    However, in the United States, the melting pot of the world, the line between one culture to another becomes blurred and we in it, become lost.

    We dabble between our ethnic restaurants versus the All-American buffets. We buy from the sales rack at the mall while purchasing the best quality ethnic clothes from our homeland. We run the risk of being labeled the “A” word: American. God forbid, someone calls us American. Why is that seen as an insult in the first place?

    We live in America. We work in America. We eat in America. And most of us will die in America. So why is it that we fear being labeled as Americans?

    One word: culture.

    Many cultures around the world are exclusive. Either you follow the basic customs of society or you will be exiled, even be labeled an outcast. Especially in Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, you are mocked and ridiculed if you are different.

    Yet, in modern America, diversity is celebrated. Whether Chinese, Russian, Pakistani or German, everyone here is an American, except for those who choose to cling on to their heritage exclusively. And whether you think they are missing out or not, they are certainly losing the chance to experience another culture. But, after all, it is not really their fault, is it? It is their culture that makes their destiny in the end…. 

This or That?

Glossary
Chooriyans – Bangles
Naan – Oven-baked bread
Tandoor – Clay oven

Hate: Another Word for Love?

In 2010 on March 7, 2010 at 11:23 pm

I hate you.

I love you.

What do these phrases actually mean? What do they actually signify? And most of all, what do they actually have in common? One can easily equate hate with words like anger, jealousy or evil. However, can’t one also equate the term love with the same words?

Many of you would argue “No, of course not. Love is this wonderful thing where two people fall for one another etenally, get married, have 10000 babies and live happily ever after.” And to that, I say… “Good for the five of you who it actually happens to.” However, for the rest of us who live in reality know all too well that anger, jealously and evil are all part of this love/hate circle.

Now, one may ask, “What is the overall point of this? What is this girl trying to say?”

My point is this: One cannot hate someone unless they loved them. The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is ignorance.

Now, take a moment and think of all the people you hate or have hated in your lifetime. For some, there might be a lot. For others, only a couple. And for the wimps out there, you might say, “Oh,I don’t hate anyone. I just don’t like them.” Yeah, whatever.

But, in that list, was there anyone who you hated from the start? Did you not care enough for them at one point that you were driven to this hate?

Now, I am not saying that you had to be romantically involved with someone or be best friends with them. And I am definitely not referring to the I-hate-Rush-Limbaugh-kind-of-hate.  I am just saying  that at one point, you cared enough for this person to have this deep hatred for them now. If you did not care for them or love them, you would not even think about them. But you do. Those nights when you are lying in bed staring the ceiling, you think….”What went wrong there? Why is (insert name) on my mind right now?”

And my friend, they are on your mind because at one point, you did care for them. You liked them. You loved them. They were special to you. And thus, I ask, is hate just another word for love?

Is the root of hate...love?