Monday, December 9, 2013

Prejudice, Discrimination... Hate

My husband's grandmother was a wonderful woman. She was opinionated, I loved that, full of love smart and a great cook. She was the oldest child in her family and spent much of her childhood taking care of her siblings. As a wife she took care of her husband and children and as a grandmother she took care of her grandchildren. She cared for and loved people.

When she and her husband retired in Florida she had her purse stolen many times. And every time someone stole her purse it was a young, black boy; every time. Over the years this experience lead to a prejudice toward black boys that could not be shaken. If you talked to her and didn't know her or her experience with the purses being stolen, you would have called her a racist. Even knowing her experience you might likely call her that because you might tell her that she should not be against all black boys/men because of her experience with a few. And you really would be right about this.

So, why then is it okay that our country is against all Muslims because of the actions of a few? I was reading in the paper how we still aren't over 9/11. Of course we're not... we're still not over Pearl Harbor either... when your country is attacked you don't "get over it." But the story was about a billboard that had a picture of an American Soldier with a woman, presumed to be his wife or lover, and is Muslim. New York refused to put up the billboard because New Yorkers "just aren't ready yet." Huh? I understand that we are still mourning the losses and suffer from this tragedy that struck our entire country, but this loving photo of a man and a woman together on a billboard is not offensive. It's not.

Thankfully we did not repeat history and put all the Muslims in America in internment camps, which is what we did with all the Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. Although, arguably, we did do a little bit of that and perhaps a little bit worse when we started rounding up "potential" terrorists and throwing them in Guantanamo, all of whom happen to be Muslim or "look" Muslim; and even worse than that, torturing them.

You can't put a face on the enemy. Just as my husband's grandmother was wrong to prejudice herself against all black boys/men because 6 or 10 stole her purse over the years, so is it wrong for us to make enemies out of every Muslim. Muslims are not the enemy because a certain group of extremists that happen to call themselves Muslim are killers. True Muslims will tell you that these extremists aren't even Muslims, just as Christians would tell you that extreme Christians that murder in the name of Christ are not true Christians. I might go on to argue that those who cannot forgive are not true Christians either.

Nelson Mandela died last week. Do not allow his memory to be lost. He suffered unlawful imprisonment for 27 years, was released and forgave those that imprisoned him and worked many years to live with them... his enemy, in peace.

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