Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Seeing RED

I seem to attract certain discussions. I'm married to a Muslim so that makes it irresistable for some to take subtle jabs at me... This is happening a lot recently since a guy from work started eating at the same time as me... Not only does he take MY SPOT at the table, but he always starts discussions I don't want to go into, not always directed towards me, but somehow I can feel the direction when he looks towards me more than others even if I'm not talking at all when they are. It also happens with other co-workers and sometimes even certain family members...

I don't think he has bad intentions, but he likes getting reactions out of people I guess...

Today though, I was seeing red BIG TIME. I can't remember how it happened but another co-worker started with some really ignorant remarks that made me just really angry and frustrated. She has done this before but I'm a lot more fragile lately with this other guy being here every lunch hour...

We saw Egypt in the news and honestly, I have not been watching the news at all lately and seriously don't know what's going on beyond Morsi giving himself extra powers... So when my co-worker said,

"Wow, in those countries people sure don't work much. I guess they all work the night shift or something. haha" and goes on to say that we all have problems, it's the same here that we don't like our Prime Minister, should we all be on the streets?

The disgusting tone in her voice when she was referring other countries, the idea that people are protesting out of laziness somehow or ditching other responsabilities to go have fun in the streets, the idea that what they are protesting for is not worth anything and is the same as if people in Canada ditched their jobs for a week or two to protest against Harper...

There was too much ignorance for two sentences, I didn't know what to say! I was like boiling inside wanting to smack some sense into her, at the same time... I didn't know what to say! It didn't help that I had not been keeping up to date with the news and I guess I helped my own frustration by being pretty ignorant myself...

I was red, I was shaking quietly... Then I left.

The guy had made some comments about the brotherhood somewhere in the convo about how they are the worst thing ever for Egypt and ended up apologizing for being insensitive. I appreciate him noticing the state I was in and taking some time to reflect on what he might've said to offend me but I told him, it wasn't his comment that made me this way. I feel seriously weak and still upset even if it's like 3pm now...

I might just be tired. Hard time sleeping since Saturday and I don't deal well with lack of sleep...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Religion as a Test

I always saw religion as a test in a sort of way. That the way we understand, practice, advise in religion. The things that people tell us or teach us that we chose to accept or reject, or emphasize. All this is a sort of test.

Example: I know at least two people who believe that homosexual sex is forbidden and I know at least two extremely different ways of dealing with this belief. One is to insult and grow hate towards gays and the other is to deal with them as they would with any other person who is not perfect in this life. With some respect, all the while not condoning or encouraging the lifestyle they personally disagree with. Just with the way that I wrote this paragraph, you can see who I feel has done a better job on "the test".

I personally don't believe it's forbidden so I'm not talking about myself in the above paragraph at all.

I've started to see religion in a slightly new way. Not even as a way to test us, but as the test itself. Will we fall for the desire to be part of a group, putting what we know is right aside to follow what we want to be right? Or will we actually follow what we believe deep inside us is right and deal with the criticism (and other consequences) that come with that?

This desire goes beyond religion and is something that even atheists or people who don't practice their religion go through though... They might not be part of a religious community, but they also have pressure to believe certain things and do things a certain way. Will they do it that way or will they search deeper?

People who are committed to their religion can read this post and think that the people who aren't committed to a religion are conforming to the society around them, not questioning as to what is right while they themselves have thought and made the decision to practice despite the consequences (like wearing hijab in the west, arranging breaks at work to pray 5x a day, etc.).

And those who are not practicing religion might see those who are as caving into pressure within the family or community, or falling for their need to belong to something if they converted after going through difficult relationships with family.

All of this for me to say that I don't know who is on a better path but they sure have a lot of similarities. Whether someone is or isn't religious, there are difficulties there to lead a person away from things that are good and I personally cannot say with any sort of conviction that I believe that religious people (like Muslims) are better off or closer to the right path than an atheist or non-practicing whoever. I simply don't believe that.

I just respect everyone's journey and the necessity of going through it their way.

Friday, December 7, 2012

People Living Up to Stereotypes (Americans... Muslims...)

I hate stereotypes and how they affect the way people see and even deal with other (different) people... I try not to be affected by stereotypes when I meet new individuals and I think I do a good job of starting my interactions with people on a close to clean slate (generally). I like to think that I stay away from the most harmful aspect of stereotyping  which is consequences towards individuals caused by stereotypes of their "group".

We all know that stereotypes don't represent everyone in the group and a lot of times don't even represent a big percentage of the group, but they also don't come completely out of nowhere either. I hate when I see things confirming stereotypes because it amplifies the stereotypes and backs them up!


These days, I'm working in the American department at work... I'm not proud of the field I work in so I don't even want to go into it at all but we attract clientele that is struggling financially and kind of poor. And I hate to say it, but the people I have spoken with at work in the past few weeks have confirmed stereotypes of Americans as being rude, uneducated, arrogant, loud. It has also made me fall into the trap of imagining them as fat, materialistic and dumb too, which I have absolutely no basis for. It's upsetting me to be falling for stereotypes and not being able to "start on a clean slate" with each individual client I speak to... I am trying to be honest with myself in this post so I can try not to do it because I do often start a call with the assumption that this is what I'm dealing with. And then it pretty much always with. Would these people stop living up to the stereotypes?!

I hope I'm not offending any American readers because I don't have this experience with the Americans I know from online but that is ALL I SEE at work. I've done the same job for over 3 years on the Canadian side and we get assholes regularly but it's not like this...

My American friends and acquaintances from online are all really nice people that I have a lot of respect for and just thinking about offending them, I feel bad. But I feel like I'm being completely honest in my post and I have good intentions so I will post it when I'm done.

If you want stereotypes of Quebeckers, we are seen as villager-style, dependent on government handouts, huge complainers, we hate English or are ignorant when it comes to English. All of this is partly true for at least some people from here. There ya go, I evened out the field a little. None of this is true of me just like none of the stereotypes I talk about are true of my American friends.

Here's a Molson commercial about Canadian stereotypes (if you want to watch one of the two only, skip down and watch the other):

And a funny video parody response to the Canadian one about Quebec stereotypes called "I am not Canadian":

To continue, it's Muslims' turn

I want to continue on the topic of stereotypes and talk about other stereotypes that affect me. Ones about Muslims. Muslim men mostly. I've had such negative experiences with Muslim men, directly and indirectly. A lot of my readers know what I'm talking about - in a lot of cases, I'm talking about their ex husbands! hahaha But seriously, these dumbasses live up to the stereotypical Muslim man, out to control every aspect of his wife's life all the while living it up with completely different standards. This is not what being Muslim is all about and it's not the majority of Muslim men and it's not Islam, but it's what I keep seeing! And it's not making me assume things of Muslims but it is making me continue to have this identity crisis when it comes to Islam.

Please give me some feedback about this post. As Americans, are you offended? As Muslims, are you offended? I'd be happy to have someone clear things up for me that I might be getting wrong...

Thanks for reading.

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