They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
Posted by Anni on Friday, March 16th, 2012
As you have likely heard, mayhem has broken out in Afganistan over the mistaken burning of Qurans at an American military base. Understandably, Afgan civilians and soldiers are outraged, a dangerous thing for people to be in a region of the world plagued by unrest and violence. As of the beginning of this month, the event has been linked to dozens of deaths in the region. In an attempt to quell the anger, President Obama made a public apology for the event. I was pleasantly surprised by his apology. Apologizing for such a blatant piece of disrespect in a war-torn and heavily religious country where we are guests, is the right thing to do. Unfortunately others in the political spotlight disagreed.
Posted by Anni on Thursday, March 15th, 2012
While we may not realize it in America with our baseball and football, soccer is the most popular team sport in the world. In recent years, women have found a place on the field, as many countries have begun to recognize the skill of their female athletes. International women’s leagues have raised the level of play, and today the women’s World Cup, while perhaps not quite as feverishly followed as the men’s, has thousands of die-hard fans. For young girls, soccer is a great way to build self-esteem, physical fitness, and interpersonal relationships. For the elite female athlete, soccer can now be a career. Of course, women’s soccer is not without its controversies. Recently, FIFA banned the hijab from the field.
Posted by Anni on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
At this point in our nation’s history, islamophobia has become a constant hum. Each time someone new proposes a prejudice-driven piece of legislation, speaks out against a peaceful mosque, protests against a Muslim television program, or otherwise feels the need to share xenophobic rhetoric, life gets a little darker for a lot of people. How is the average Muslim living in America supposed to process these constant reminders of the prejudice all around him?
Posted by Anni on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012
Before I even start discussing this recent finding, nobody is suggesting that prejudice is a simple thing. There is no single factor that makes someone prejudice: in many ways it is a choice, and people of all types can be open-minded. That said, a study at Brock University in Ontario suggests that people of lower than average IQ tend to gravitate towards socially conservative ideologies. They also tend to display more open prejudice towards others. The authors of the study suggest that this prejudice is a result of the conservative tendency to “stress hierarchy and resistance to change.” This tendency, as one might imagine, increases the likelihood that an individual will view a member of an unfamiliar religion or ethnicity as outside the hierarchy, and will resist redefining the hierarchy to include them.
Posted by Anni on Monday, March 12th, 2012
In my opinion, The Onion is one of America’s greatest endeavors. It’s right up there with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report—fake news that makes us take a long hard look at ourselves right before we bust out laughing. Laughter is something we all have in common, and sometimes we just can’t see the forest for the trees unless someone points out how silly the forest is. Satire flips the big picture, and somehow that picture looks a whole lot different upside down.
Posted by Anni on Friday, March 9th, 2012
I know it’s been quite a while since the controversy erupted over the proposed mosque at ground zero, but I think it is a discussion that deserves revisiting. The controversy raised a whole slew of questions about fear, remembrance, respect, freedom, and tolerance that are just as relevant today as they were two years ago. I don’t think a consensus was every truly reached—if one can ever be reached in our melee of a media—and I think the debate should be one that we revisit as we continue to struggle with these questions.
Posted by Anni on Thursday, March 8th, 2012
There is no shortage of examples of large corporations pulling sponsorships to avoid or quell a public outcry. They often seem so skittish, so deeply afraid of damaging their reputations, that all it takes is the hint of a controversy to send them running. In some cases, like when Rush Limbaugh calls a young woman a prostitute for using birth control, we applaud the sponsors for dropping the lucrative client. In other cases, like when Lowe’s pulled their sponsorship from All American Muslim after a small conservative Christian group complained about the show, we reel in outrage at the injustice.
Posted by Anni on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Call me crazy, but these days the word “counter-terrorism” is almost as scary as the word “terrorism.” All manner of unsavory things have been done in the name of counter-terrorism. Fear engenders pre-emptive action, and that action results in the imprisonment, harassment or profiling of innocent citizens. This is a direct violation of the rights of American people, and yet, because it’s done in the name of counter-terrorism, it persists.
Posted by Anni on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
America is nothing if not a nation of trends. We love to follow what’s popular. We fetishize popular movie stars; spend thousands of dollars each year on 7 jeans, fancy coffee drinks and coconut water; become fans of whatever is “cool” on the music scene; and turn to political commentators to tell us what’s popular to think. Basically, we work way too hard to shape ourselves into something that reflects the general consensus of the people we admire. Americans are not alone in this. As a people, we often look to our cultural icons, fashion brands, television, and our friends to show us how to live, what to buy, and what to think. In a world like this, prejudices are just one more trending topic.
Posted by Anni on Monday, March 5th, 2012
I find it sadly hilarious that a reality show about Muslim life is what got conservative Christian group Florida Family Association in an uproar. They have no problem with Hoarders, a show that exploits mental illness and suffering to make a buck. They don’t seem bothered by Teen Mom, a spin-off of 16 and Pregnant, two glorious looks into the lives of teenage mothers addicted to drugs and mugging for the cameras. Oh and Jersey Shore—a mind-numbing, blindlingly orange peek into the sexual exploits, problem drinking, and superficiality of a bunch of self-obsessed heathens—well, that’s just good entertainment. But put a respectable Muslim woman on T.V. and ask her about her culture… well, that’s a threat to our way of life.