Hatred, racism, bigotry, etc

Hospitality is at the core of Arab society

This started out as a comment on another blog. I hadn’t planned on it expanding quite this much. But, since this is my “Other Blog” where I post a little of this and a little of that, I decided to bring it over here. The other blogger, Jaraad, (read that thought-provoking post here) wondered why hate groups and hate crimes are on the rise, particularly in the United States.

All people are racist or sexist or bigoted to one degree or another. We all feel a distaste that may even border on hatred for someone. Most of us, thankfully are able to sublimate those thoughts and overcome those negative emotions. I believe this makes us better people. As an expatriate I think I just might have some insight on that problem. I struggled with it for many years, but now as an ‘outsider looking in’ I can see it in a different way.

I think one of the biggest problems in the USA is the easy availability of guns. The entire culture seems to be built around guns. And, it’s not just the old “Saturday Night Specials” anymore. If it’s a weapon, there’s a damned good chance you can find it, either legally or illegally. The pro-gun groups hold up the Second Amendment right to bear arms as though it were writ in stone by the very finger of God himself when he passed the laws down to Prophet Moses.

Television programs, movies, books, magazines almost invariably involve at least one scene in which the characters shoot at, injure or kill each other. They are inundated daily with guns, but rarely does any of the media deal with the consequences of killing another human being. It looks so easy and is a quick, permanent solution to just about any problem. Does your neighbor wear hijab? She’s probably a terrorist; kill her! Is your neighbor part of a different racial group? He is inferior to you; kill him! Is your neighbor or relative homosexual? He is an abomination; kill him!

It’s a little bit different here. First, guns are quite difficult to obtain legally. But there is something here that runs deeper than strict gun control. I’ve seen it firsthand, in my own life. People here appear to be more accepting of others, whether in spite of the differences or because of them. I’m not sure which it is, or it may be a bit of both. Part of that, I believe may be the practice of the Islamic religion.

Let’s make a comparison here. Christian clerics frequently condemn and judge members of ‘other’ groups, religions, races, etc and claim that God does hates them so we should, too. They make pronouncements in the name of God that any knowledgeable person who reads their own Holy Bible would know instantly God never said. Until now, I haven’t seen or heard that in Islam.

“Is it in Qur’an?” “Yes.” “Then it’s true.”

“Is it in Qur’an?” “No.” “Then it’s not true.”

Period. I don’t hear people speculating about what is in the mind of Allah; what he would say in such and such a situation, or any of the things you see and hear Christians doing on a daily basis… and quite publicly! Is Islam the answer? Quite possibly. I’ve no religion at all, so I can’t say for sure.

It could be something else altogether. Perhaps it is the one basic practice of Arab people that transcends bigotry and hatred. The practice of hospitality. This may very well be the answer to all the ills of the world. Every man is viewed as a brother and must be treated well. By the same token, every man can expect to be treated as a brother by others he meets. This hospitality is far better than and superior to any religion and very possibly makes us more acceptable to our Creator.

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About Ol' Big Jim

Ol' Big Jim, has been a storekeeper, an embalmer, a hospital orderly, a medical biller, and through it all, a teller of tall tales. Many of his stories, like his first book, New Yesterdays, are set in his hometown of Piedmont, Alabama. Since 2009 he has lived in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Amman, Jordan where he spends his time trying to visit each one of the thousands of Ammani coffee shops and scribbling in his ever-present notebook.
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17 Responses to Hatred, racism, bigotry, etc

  1. Jaraad says:

    Thanks for the mention and thanks for the very insightful comment. I do also believe that we all are racist to a certain degree. Of course some of us are more racists than others. I am glad you don’t have bad experience among Arabs but I think the reason is because you are white. I am not sure if white people know this or not but many non-white cultures feel inferior to the whites. It is very bad in South Asia and it for sure exists in Arabia especially in the Arab Gulf countries. You can stop any random Asian in Arabia and ask him how he feels about Arabs. And I don’t blame him if he said really bad things.
    Regarding whether the religion is the answer I am writing a post about this hopefully I find time to post it soon and hear your feedback about it 🙂
    Beside your observation about violence in American films I also think the extreme sense of competitiveness lead somehow to the urge of being very defensive. In American reality shows we always see how competitive people in the show are. On the other hand, being very competitive is what made America a great country. So, I think it is difficult to say whether this sense of competition helped increase violence more or built great power country.

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  2. susanne430 says:

    Interesting thoughts on our competitiveness. I’d never thought of that, but it makes some sense! Hmmm! I guess competition is like anything. It can be used for good or bad reasons. It’s good when it urges people to improve themselves and society, but it’s bad when you kill the competition! Yikes!

    Thanks for admitting the reason we are treated well is because we are white! I sensed that although I guess we could also be treated harshly for the same reason. Many people don’t like those they feel inferior to. And whites are known for so many bad things in the world’s history…not that we all did those things. I would love for someone to show me one ethnic group that hasn’t done much of the same thing at some point in the world’s history. I think we are all guilty to some degree (or at least many our ancestors are.)

    I always enjoy your thoughts, Jaraad. Sorry, Jim, for moving the conversation over here, but I had to read what Jaraad had to say.

    Hope you both are well!

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    • olbigjim says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Susanne, and don’t apologize, that’s the reason Jaraad and I moved the conversation here. We wanted to share it with a wider audience.

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  3. David Smith says:

    I hope I am not an unwanted interloper, but to me It looked as though my comments might be accepted here. I have many ideas on the subject youare on, I have spent much of my life pondering these questions. It is because we are all born into ignorance, we are molded by the world we live in. We must learn to break that mold. We must seek out and remove any extraneous, out moded behaviors and beliefs. To me changing the world begins with me. Anyone wanting to change the world must scrutinize her/his every motive, the things we don’t like about other people may be things we don’t like about ourselves. Everone is connected to everyone else in some way, believe it or not. Believing and saying something good will happen, can make it happen. There is another fact I know that in general the average person cares only about his own selfish twisted needs and does not have the well being of others in mind. So reverse that and think of everyone else first,no matter who or what they seem to be. David Smith

    “A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest… a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein

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    • olbigjim says:

      Your comments are always welcome here and at any of my other blogs. You’ve given me a great deal to think about. Come back soon, and often!

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  4. dcmcmillen says:

    I appreciate your post and the comments that follow. I would like to add a theory based on my observations and experiences. Having lived most of my life in Canada, five years in the US and visited several countries, I believe Jaraad is on to something, and David is as well. For me, it boils down to resources, circumstance and eduction (both formal and family/experiental). Some people, especially those ones who consider themselves part of the have nots when there are so many haves around, need someone to hate to make themselves feel better. It is easy to pin your hatred on a group of people based on an obvious difference rather than choosing reasons to truly hate people on an individual basis, because even the most unreasonable person must admit that every person has something unique and positive to offer. If your education stems from racist teachings by your family or other influencers, racism comes even more easily to you. As the economy hits bottom and many people feel bad about themselves and their circumstances, disadvantaged or alone in their hopelessness, racism will rise. Blame immigration, blame the terrorists, blame a nameless, faceless group of people. This is an easy way to find an enemy outside of yourself and, by siding against a group of people, you automatically feel like you are apart of another group. Suddenly you are not alone in your circumstance and your are not as hopeless because you are part of a group, a more superior group at that.

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    • olbigjim says:

      Thanks for stopping by DC! Thanks too, for the thought provoking words of wisdom. I really think you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head.

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  5. I’m thrilled to hear that you are a writer, or should I say, “Scribe.” I’m new in Blog World, and delighted you like my posts.

    ASHE’

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    • olbigjim says:

      Thank you a hundred thousand times for stopping by my humble blog. Come back to see me anytime! I most definitely enjoy reading your work.

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  6. I’m thrilled to hear that you are a writer, or should I say, “Scribe.” I’m new in Blog World, and delighted you like my posts.

    I visited Egypt, and the hospitality of the people was amazing. They didn’t have much, but were willing to share.

    ASHE’

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    • olbigjim says:

      Coming from the West, I am still constantly amazed by the generosity of the Arab people. As you say, even though they don’t have much, by our standards, they insist on sharing it. We could all do with some lessons in hospitality from them.

      Thanks again from stopping at my place, and do please come again!

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      • I was born and raised in Texas, and regardless of what people think or say about Texans, we know how to share good conversations, meals, and far too many drinks.

        When I moved to Los Angeles — well, need I say more!

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      • olbigjim says:

        I think that may be one of the reasons I feel so much ‘at home’ here. We Southerners still practice hospitality a bit more than in other parts of the country. I’m from Alabama, but lived for a few years in Texas. Both are amazing places to live.

        Los Angeles, eh? God be with you…

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      • You got that right! It takes a whole lot of GOD, and Legions of Angels to remain grounded.

        ASHE’

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  7. I think racism or racists thoughts has to do with the upbringing of children by their parents. This is then passed on from one generation to the other If they reinforce those thoughts all the time.

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  8. Pingback: Be like the panda! « thelisteningvoice

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