I have a touch of writer's block. I set these arbitrary number goals that seem like such a good idea to make sure I write and write a lot and then...
(Imagine a giant flashing cursor in a field of endless white here)
I'm sure it has to do with the fact that I want to do 31 blogs this month and I am not really sure if I am going to get through that. Or then again it could be because I've got a lot of half formed ideas tossing in my head right now and I'm not sure which thread to pull. Or it could be because part of me feels a bit like I've said everything I have to say right now and maybe I should just be quiet for awhile.
Okay, so let me pick a half formed topic and just run with it.
What do you do about friends who hold beliefs that you find to be not just "not yours" but truly offensive? You like other things about them but every once in awhile they pop off with something that you just are taken aback by. It's racist. Or sexist. Or homophobic. Or just really not your thing at all. What do you do? Do you call them out on it? Ignore it? Tell yourself that they have a lot of other fine qualities?
I'm sort of struck by this on Facebook every once in awhile. Someone will post some stupid little meme and I will think, "Can you not see how racist/sexist/vile that is?" But then I wonder, do I say something or just ignore it. And usually I just ignore it. I'm not going to change anyone's mind, right? But them sometimes I just can't so I have to say something. And it usually does zero good. So what should be done?
I will give you a for instance here. Last week a friend of mine posted this really truly awful piece about a supposed crime. I have to say supposed and allegedly here because it was (to me) obviously completely made up. I mean top to bottom fabrication. The blog he linked used a lot of "unnamed sources" but he believed it because it was written about a Muslim. And he believes that Islam in inherently violent. So for him once he started reading this truly vile story all of his bullshit meters shut down because he easily believes the worst things about someone as soon as you say Muslim. When I pointed out that this was an "unnamed sources" "people say" article I was ignored while the "SEE???" people fed off of each other. And then the last thing he said in comments was "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Which made me think...should I have done more?
Because see, that's the thing. I don't think he realizes that from my point of view those sorts of links, the look at this how awful, stuff is the evil. Now, I am going to do something that I never do. I'm invoking Hitler and Nazi Germany.
When you study WWII and the holocaust specifically what is one of the major questions you are always left with? How could this have happened? How in the world could an entire country full of people start to believe the things that were said about the Jews? There was a systematic dehumanizing done first. Propaganda. Books for kids. A whole slew of time spent making sure that Germans did not think of the Jews as people but as a problem.
And as I watch people who I normally consider decent individuals lump an entire religion together under an extremist umbrella and cannot see, in fact will flat out argue with you, that they are wrong about doing that, I wonder how close we really are to doing the same thing. Watch CNN "interview" Reza Aslan and remind yourself that you are watching CNN, not Fox Fearmonger News. Watch Bill Maher be embraced by the conservatives for his ignorance on Islam (while they lambasted him for his ignorance on Christianity not once NOT ONCE thinking, well if he got our religion wrong maybe he is wrong on this as well). When people whine that the moderate Muslims don't say anything but pay no attention to the fact that they are, you just won't listen, well I worry.
I don't believe in their religion. I find parts of it to be repugnant. But I feel the same about Christianity. Doesn't mean I think one is bad and one is good. Doesn't mean I can't look at someone who identifies themselves by a religion and still be able to understand that it's not the religion, it's the person. KKK members identify as Christian. Doesn't mean we all think all Christians hold racist beliefs even if they don't act on them like the fanatics do?The Catholic church has a pedophile priest problem. Do I think all Catholics, hell even all priests, are pedophiles? No. And neither do you. But you might feel perfectly fine spreading nastiness about Islam. Because well, that's them...
Like I said at the beginning, this is a half formed idea. I have no ending for this. I just wonder. What do I do? Do I keep pointing out, "unnamed sources say", linking to articles featuring moderate Muslims, walking away and letting them stew in their own bitterness and hatred because I'm not going to change their minds? Never wrestle with a pig. You'll just get dirty and the pig likes it.
I wish I had more answers.
But all I have is this, spend more time questioning what you see and not buying in to the easy hate. You don't want to be a footnote question in a history book in 50 years, "Why were the Americans led so easily in to hating an entire religion?"