Pinocchio’s conscience was a cricket. Do you remember that part of the story? Apparently, the Virginia legislature doesn’t need crickets because it’s got it own little “conscience clause” chirping away on a piece of legislation concerning adoptions that would allow religious organizations to disqualify potential parents they find to be “morally objectionable.” Specifically, “same sex couples.”
Abigail Fisher didn’t get into the University of Texas. And she feels that her race had something to do with it. Since Fisher is a white woman and not African-American nor Latina, she feels that the University took a look at race as a factor alongside her academic merits. Her lawsuit will be heard at the Supreme Court — where the issue of Affirmative Action will come up yet again. Are we finally at a time where we no longer need to look at race and ethnicity to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity?
So, people, are you ready for Hey! That’s My Hummus! the week of February 20, 2012? Here’s hoping your answer is in the affirmative…
To co-pay or not to co-pay? That was the question for a couple of weeks as new legislation was offered by the Obama administration regarding employers being required to offer full coverage for contraception to their employees. Was the resulting compromise? And, of course, the broader question, is access to contraception a basic right? We then switch gears and discuss a recent book by former female member of the Hasidic Satmar sect of Judaism and whether her decision to leave was a choice or an “escape.”
I also sound incredibly stupid as I can’t quite get the distinction between “orthodox” and “Orthodox” or “conservative” and “Conservative” Judaism. “Whatever.” Or “whatever.”
I need flashcards or something– which we also discuss.
Have thoughts, questions, concerns? Thoughts and questions can be directed to our twitter account or Facebook.
You ever wonder whether someone is a Jew or not a Jew? There’s an app for that. Or was in France for a while, anyway.
In this episode of HTMH:
” ‘Jew or Not Jew’ app riles anti-racism group”
PARIS – A French anti-racism group has threatened to sue Apple over an iPhone application called “A Jew or Not a Jew?” that allows users to consult a database of celebrities and public figures to determine whether they are Jewish or not.
SOS Racisme said the application, sold for 0.79 euro cents ($1.07) on the Apple Store France, violates France’s strict laws banning the compiling of people’s personal details without their consent.
(UPDATE: As of our recording, the clemency hearing was scheduled, but this morning’s news’ reports indicate that clemency was denied to Mr. Davis by the state of Georgia and that the execution is scheduled for tomorrow.)
** Have you listened to Episode 4: Conflicted, Slaughtering and Prince William’s Wedding, yet? Download on iTunes or listen here **
Grounded and crushed to a fine powder and then mixed with water, Mendhi, or henna, is an elaborate part of an Indian or Pakistani wedding. The bride’s henna is often a focal point in a marriage. There are various interpretations as to why henna is used in a wedding: luck, beauty, or good wishes.
Most of all, I think it’s just that it looks pretty.
One of the interesting assumptions on the part of a resource we mentioned in our last episode was that Mendhi is an “Islamic ritual.” Not true. Mendhi, or henna as it’s called in English and Arabic, is used throughout the world by various people as a form of decorative body art. In fact, some resources suggest that its use was first documented back in the Bronze Age. A famous henna ritual, for example, takes place among Yemenite Jews, in which the application of henna to a bride’s body takes several days.
It’s important, as I have mentioned in previous episodes, to remember that Islam, as it stands alone, is a spiritual way and a philosophy based upon strict monotheism, social justice and submission to the will of God. Its prolific dispersion throughout the various parts of world, however, creates situations where indigenous cultures have stamped their unique marks upon the practice of the faith itself.
This is not a bad thing, in my opinion, but a testament to the simplicity of the faith. It furthermore creates an opportunity for all Muslims to experience the richness of the global experience as they build communities in places such as the United States. By virtue of being Muslim, I have been able to attend weddings of the Syrian, Kuwaiti, Saudi, Moroccan, Albanian and Bangladeshi variety to name a few. Each of these weddings had a distinctiveness as well as basic similarities.
To further elaborate, I once read that Bosnian Muslims only get married on Saturdays. Does that mean that being married on a Saturday is Islamic practice? Not at all. And, of course, a traditional Pakistani Muslim wedding occurs over the course of four to five days (at least), but that doesn’t mean a Muslim wedding is five days long.
These examples simply illustrate that there are all kinds of different ways that Muslims get married as well as live and even practice their religion. At the heart of our marriage is the Nikah, or contract, most of the other practice is cultural and traditional choice.
Muslim, as I have said many times, is not a nationality or even a culture… it is a religion. And, like all religions, Islam has proven malleable and it possesses the wonderful ability to be inserted into existing traditions and practices. Finally, I suspect that the inability to make this distinction lies at the heart of most Islamaphobic rhetoric, therefore it’s pretty critical to make this leap in understanding.
I’m curious, how much of your wedding was religious and how much of it was cultural? Does your faith have the same dynamic as mine or is every practice grounded in revelation?
Given that I’m actually of Pakistani origin, I know undoubtedly that some people would be horrified by that. I also know that there are a larger number of people who don’t understand the significance of it.
It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try.
Growing up in a culturally homogeneous place (read: white American) as I did, I interacted with a great deal of people who had never heard of Pakistan. I still live in a place where most people’s experience of Pakistan boils down to a five minute snippet from CNN or FOXNews.
Some people have assumptions about the place, others have questions.
Sometimes, I feel like answering questions and addressing assumptions and sometimes I don’t. My choice to identify as Indian is actually directly proportional to how many questions I feel like answering about my identity. It’s been my experience that assumptions about Indians are far more accurate than ones being made about Pakistanis.
It also depends on who I am talking to. A sort of intellectual or social relativism occurs, if you will. I don’t hesitate to identify myself as being of Pakistani origin to those who display an awareness of the fact that similar does not equate to the same.
I do realize that’s not exactly noble, and that I’m taking away learning opportunities from people by doing that. But, you know what? It’s not always my responsibility to be anybody’s token.
I don’t have to if I don’t wanna.
Is it this sentiment that may lie at the heart of the reason for the prevalent use of the term “Asian” in various discourses in this country?
I’m disgusted not just by the racism in the video, but also the casual grouping of a continent as one people.
A few hundred years ago, Asia was known as the Orient.
The Orient… stretching over the vastness of Central Asia, China, India, Japan, and even into some areas of the Middle East.
For the English and French, the Orient was more than a word. It was an instrument, you see, aimed at diminishing the individuality and sovereignty of that region. It was a way to transform real people and places into a vast, uncharted Other. A group of “Others,” actually, which weren’t as important or capable as the people who had coined general terms to describe them.
Of course, I know that there are Chinese, Korean, Japanese and other folks from the continent that will call themselves “Asian Americans” and that those same people wouldn’t even consider me to be among their ranks. Barring the fact that Pakistan and India both occupy Asia as well, it’s incredible to me that anyone would willingly shed a unique culture, language and identity for one that is a giant blob of high math grades, technical mindedness and dutiful children.
But, then, of course, I remember all the times that I’ve said I was Indian.
Because it was easier.
Because I didn’t care enough to correct people.
Because, if I’m completely honest, I tend to think most people don’t care to be corrected and even if they are corrected, it may not change much, anyway.
All that said, on the subject of Alexandra Wallace and her Asian rant video, of which I care never to speak of or write about ever again, I will admit here that perhaps my co-host may have been right.
Perhaps the reactions to her were stronger than they should have been.
Then again, there’s a lot of history of not wanting to make waves, of keeping our heads down, keeping to ourselves, working hard and not bothering to correct erroneous assumptions that we’re just sort of fine with being othered by the word “Asian.”
And maybe all that not caring and not being bothered crashed down on the head of a thoughtless young woman with extraordinarily bad judgment.
On a completely unrelated note, if you have time and aren’t suffering from UCLA video burnout, please watch this incredibly brilliant and thoughtful response to Wallace’s rant. I have to say, I became a slightly different human being afterward.
Special thanks to my friend Kailyn for e-mailing me this video!
Not A Cooking Show
We love hummus, but we don't always talk hummus. If a Jew and a Muslim walked into a podcast you get, well... this podcast. This site is a community forum for our podcast which you can listen to here or download on iTunes. If you have interesting stuff to contribute, please let us know via the contact form on our About page.
This is a great spot to put a small blurb with some information on what your blog is all about. Use a "Text" widget in your "Mid Footbar" sibebar options in Wordpress. Whatever you put in the title will show about and whatever you put as text (or html) will show right here! Or you can put a menu, a calendar, or any list of links you like. The footer is your oyster.