Sunday, September 12, 2010


And all illegal immigrants are not drug lords, come to think of it.

I was involved recently in a discussion of why folks are so dead-set against the building of a Muslim community center not terribly far from (but not at, on or next door to) Ground Zero. To be against it, you have to believe that Muslims are terrorists. Otherwise, why shouldn't a community center be built? Would a church or synagogue arouse such ire? Within the discussion was a mild debate about whether it was fear or ignorance that caused such bigoted reactions, sometimes from otherwise fairly decent folks. My response:

In its way, ignorance is one cause of fear. We always fear the unknown. If allwe know about Muslims is that some crazy ones flew into the Twin owers and killed thousands of people, on purpose, and claimed it had something to do with Islam, then all we know is that Muslims are bad. It's not true, but our ignorance produces that "knowledge," which is scary, so we fear Muslims, and fear becomes hatred.

If we knew any Muslims personally, one of two things would happen: either our ignorance would be counteracted and we would get a better perspective and put our fear where it belonged (it's reasonable to be afraid of terrorists!) or we would cling to our ignorant belief and consider any contradictory evidence either untrue or an anomaly. My mother got this all the time: "You don't look Jewish; you're pretty!" and "You don't act Jewish; you're nice!" and those were meant as COMPLIMENTS! The people saying these things could not reconcile their previous impressions with the new ones and change their beliefs, so no matter how any pretty, handsome friendly Jews they ever met in their lives, even if every Jew they met happened to be cool, those ews would remain exceptions to the previously learned rule that Jews are ugly and mean. So people have to be exposed to the truth but they also need to be taught how to handle it!