Sunday, January 16, 2005

Like I didn't see this one coming...

First, biologically speaking, there is no such thing as "race". Race is purely a social construct and it's derivations have as much to do with ethnicity as physical appearance, so it's quite acceptable to use the word "race" to describe people of Arabian descent when compared to people of European descent.

According to the ADL, a group that represents a race of people that know a little something about "racism", they define "racism" as:

"prejudice or discrimination based on the belief that race is the primary factor determining human traits and abilities.

With "race" as a social construct based on ethnicity, the automatic attribution of traits due to membership in the social construct is "racism".

Did I throw the word out too soon? Perhaps, because in the original post, the authors didn't draw any inferences from the graph, although I was responding more to commenters than the authors.

If that graph was about "European Muslims educated in radical Pakistani madrasas" or "European Muslims trained in Palestinian terrorist camps" and you were to draw inferences from that about expected outcomes, that's one thing. Drawing inferences about behavioral traits solely based on being Muslim, especially when supported by generalizations drawn by non-representative instances of activity from members of the social construct is real "racism".

For now, let's talk about assimilation:

Hartford Bids a Bilingual Goodbye to a White-Collar Past, New York Times, May 5, 2003

According to the 2000 Census, almost half (46.3 percent) of the city’s Hispanic population speaks English “less than very well.” Almost a quarter speak English “not very well” or “not at all.” As the city moves its essential services to Spanish, there will soon be no necessity to learn English. Even Mayor Perez notes that, “We’ve become a Latin city, so to speak. It’s a sign of things to come.”

USA Today

Si usted no habla español, puede quedarse rezagado If you don't speak Spanish, you might be left behind

¿Entiende Ud. español?

If your answer to, ''Do you understand Spanish?'' is ''no,'' get ready to be left behind.

With the surge over the past decade in the Hispanic population in the United States, speaking Spanish is becoming more of a necessity than a choice in many parts of the country. From feedlot managers in Nebraska to New York City stockbrokers, Americans are scrambling to learn a language that is now spoken by many of the 35.3 million Hispanics in the United States.

Based on 1980 and 1990 Census data on the increase in the population of those whose English-speaking ability was classified "not well" or "not at all," if the current trend continues, by the year 2050 there will be over 21 million people unable to speak English in the United States, making up 5.75 percent of the entire population.

Language is a principle component of cultural identity. How does this country respond to the "erosion" of American cultural identity? With this:

Buenos Días. Esta semana me reuní con algunos conciudadanos en distintas partes del país para discutir una de las grandes responsabilidades de nuestra Nación: la de fortalecer el Seguro Social para nuestros hijos y nietos.

Why is this OK, but the erosion of European culture due to Muslim influx is not? Could it be that Hispanics are traditionally Catholic and not those awful Muslims?

Of course, we're just talking about language here - according to your premise, cultural assimilation (outside of language) will occur due to home ownership and suburbs, two phenomena of post-WWII America?

You're going to have come up with a better explanation than that - U.S. assimilation is a 19th century concept - the term "melting pot" was coined in 1908 to describe events that had been underway in America years before suburbs or a high degree of home ownership. Just because Europe doesn't have suburbs isn't a obstacle to cultural assimilation. By the way, owning a home doesn't make someone "become American" - land ownership as condition of full citizenship when out with powered wigs.

Third, condemning all European Muslims for the murder of Theo Van Gogh is ludicrous. By that logic, I'm going to be very nervous when Texans move into my neighborhood because of the murder of James Byrd - all those animals from down South that can't get along with black folks...goodness knows, they have such a history of violence that should be held against them under all conditions for all time.

Just like that Spanish Muslim Cleric, you better watch out for white folks from Georgia. William Pierce, author of the Turner Diaries was from there, before he moved to West Virginia. There's another state - watch out for those Mountaineers with their embrace of white supremacy and violence against government.
I'm not sure we should ever trust a military guy either - after all, Timothy McVeigh was in the military...

Sacre Blue! Imams in France aren't French! Neither are Catholic priests in the land of Joan of Arc.

One out of every five people on the planet is a Muslim. The overwhelming majority of these people are not terrorists or suicide bombers, just like every Southern white isn't Klan, and every ex-military guy isn't a bomber, and every West Virginian isn't a white supremacist.

My story about my Indian friends was to illustrate the point that most people, regardless of religion, race, or national origin, want the same thing. They just want to get through the day, whatever that means wherever they live. For some people in the world, that's just getting enough food, for others, it's paying the mortgage and saving for college.

Lastly, the key to success in Iraq is based on the idea that a Muslim population can function as a democratic society. Turkey does, and Indonesia is trying. In Europe, Muslims are moving to or being born in countries with stable democratic political institutions, a much easier framework for democracy than building one from scratch in the wake of a military dictatorship. If it's unfathomable that Muslims will continue with established Western democracies in Europe as their population increases, then what you makes think they'll build one from scratch in Iraq? We might as well get out now and let them all kill each other.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

koran teaches muslim law >supercedes government law it makes difficult for muslim assimilation because in some cases you must disobey your god or your country

1:36 PM  
Blogger Outlier said...

"Expressions of Islam, such as many of its fundamentalist versions today, are linked to the development of particular sets of social, economic and political factors which gave rise to them. The appearance of homogeneity and conformity in Islam is deceptive. Muslims continue to debate the implications of the Koran's teachings for everyday life, and the relation between religious and governmental authority. Taboos and dietary rules are strictly observed in some places and not in others. Women and men have have a more equal relationship in some forms of Islam (such as in Sumatra and Indonesia), than is the case in extremist forms of Islam (as in Talibanist Afghanistan). Most families in the Islamic world are monogamous, and the practice of polygamy is usually dicated by economic factors and the insistence of Islam to integrate all members of society into a family structure."

I think it's shortsighted to make a sweeping generalization to say "the Koran teaches..." and expect that all people of the faith are going to act in a unified manner. The interpretation of the Koran and application to secular life is an ongoing transformative process, shaped as much by the circumstances of the interpreters as by the text itself.

For example, the Catholic Catechism, based on biblical, not papal authority, exhorts Catholics to be obedient to governing entities.

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves." Romans 13:1-2

Despite this, we've had violent revolutions in France and all across Latin America. If Catholics can ignore their church, why can't Muslims? I'll admit, I'm not that familiar with the Koran to clearly understand the secular/religious instructions either.

Traditionally Muslim countries have been violent, but to blame it solely on religious ignores the effects of colonization, as well as the innate difficulty of establishing democracy. Look at France since their revolution - two monachies, two empires, one dictatorship, and five republics. Look at early German democracy for another example of failure.

Bernard Lewis suggests that the only reason Turkey is a functional Muslim democracy is that it was never colonized, and it has the closest relationship with the West. Western culture dulls the fundamentalist aspects of Islam, so Muslim immigration to Europe is more likely to create a new strain of moderate Islam than an importation of radical fundamentalism. Just look at the difference between Old World and New World Catholicism.

3:04 PM  

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