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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bright October

This is what stands outside my window in the morning. It is a lovely atmosphere when the sun shines and these leaves become transparent under the intense rays. It is almost like living in a tree house. It isn't the same as being in the canopy itself in a second story home. But it is close. 

My father's birthday and death anniversary have some and gone. I shave survived better this year than in years passed. Most of the malaise I am experiencing can be directly attributed to the new work load and the lack of private time. The new routine that we have in the house is starting to be regular enough to be able to plan and get that quality time. Now if I could only avoid trolling the internet for writing ideas long enough to keep my anger low. 

Raging this week in my feeds are stories of medical fraud and corruption, a medical kidnapping, and the ever fierce debate about what women wear. I've been inundated with news stories that because there is multiculturalism and Muslim men lack the ability to control their thoughts the women indigenous to the communities in which they live must adapt to their culture. 

First, those guys moved into someone else's hood. You don't start wearing tribal kaftans and kufi's just because African Americans move into your neighborhood so why would you start changing your clothing because the Muslims move in? When we white people start borrowing elements from other cultures it looks wrong. That isn't who we are. I'd look ridiculous in an Afro and someone would be offended. Indigenous Americans get mad when you borrow their look for a costume and call it cultural theft or mockery. How do you win?

And by win, let me be clear the prize in this contest is peace and self determination. How do you win when every choice you make is wrong? 

The kids these days are borrowing the piercings & tatoos of Hindu culture, gauges from African culture, radical color schemes for hair from fantasy art and it is all good. But dress like an Indian and someone gets offended. Dress like a Nazi and everyone gets offended. Dress like in traditional African garb and I will bet you anything that someone will have a fit. Dress yourself in the style of the English Colonials and you will be announcing yourself as the vile great white exploiter that everyone says we are... pith helmets are cool, but they make the wrong statement. It's okay if everyone goes all hip hop but traditional no way. And by the way, when the hip hopsters went all 70s leisure suites not a single buck toothed, hairy chested white, drug-addled white guy with a sense of entitlement and an over bite threw a hissy fit. In fact, we all laugh at it because it was a stupid look in the 70s and it is a stupid look now. Old ladies wear leisure suites. Hip hopsters dress like Fran's Gramma from the Nanny. Who's being righteously indignant about that? 

Secondly, when you enter into another culture and you want to maintain some of your own identity you don't get to foist yours on the natives. You don't want to dress "white anglo saxon protestant" don't make us dress like you. If you chose to wear a suit and a head covering great. If you stick with the traditional thobe and bish great. Adapt your diet to the culture you move to or keep your own great. But you don't get to force your aesthetic ideas onto everyone else. I realize the irony of a white American saying that since that is what happened with African slaves and the Indigenous people. However you have to realize that I would have been appalled by that as well. But then I am not one who is uncomfortable with human skin, nor am I uncomfortable with color. I don't have the body shape to wear buckskins or beledi dress even though I would love to. But irony of a stereotype aside... wear what you want. Be who you are. My people had to adapt and so I miss out on the dirndl. The pigtail braids I could have done without. But I lost on the dirndl. I'm a bit resentful that so much of my people's culture was white washed, it's another reason to resent Hitler. 

The great thing about a melting pot is that everyone gets to be themselves and we get to have a wider range of experiences than our own culture's natural limits. The problem with a melting pot is that someone always wants to control the flavors to suit themselves. And this issue of assimilation is getting to be intensely annoying. As with cooking, everything must be in balance to make a harmonious dish. Too much of one ingredient and the dish is inedible. Too much assimilation makes for a flat-lined culture. 

The other thing that makes my blood boil on the issue is that it is the women who bear the weight of these changes. Muslims move into a country and because your western dress offends them you have to adapt. Wrong. But hardly surprising that is the sentiment since in their own culture it is a woman's fault she gets raped. Look at a burqa and tell me how anything about that covering is sexy? How is it enticing? The purpose of a burqa is to prevent a man from having lusty thoughts. So tell me how does a woman wearing a burqa still get raped? If it is still happening then the argument is invalid. The logic is flawed. A woman wearing a burqa will still be raped because the man doing the raping is unable to be in control of his mind or body. And he is unable to do so because no one teaches him better. It is the same with white men in America. White men in America rape women because they believe that they have the right to what ever they want. It is the mind of the man not the woman's body that is the issue. 

I love geography, I loved National Geographic. I spent my entire youth lamenting the blandness of the American culture that I grew up in and envied the people in those magazine pages who got to wear all the cool funky clothes and the bright colors. I grew up believing that everyone had the right to be who they wanted to be, determined to be a more colorful person when I got out from under my patents influence. Now, I really feel rather disillusioned with the way things are.

Why can't we express ourselves and just be good to each other? Why does everything have to be a war over who gets to control whom? There is some thing of beauty in each culture here. There is value in all of us. Why can't we each just be who we were meant to be. 

And there goes my nice quiet fall day... I'm all riled up again. 

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