Behind the Orange Curtain is a Minority Majority

When you hear the words “Orange County,” I’m sure you have an image that comes to your head very much like the ones on television shows “The O.C.” or “The Real Wives of Orange County.” The image I have, after having organized there for the past two years, is very different. The O.C. is a largely diverse county, with a “minority majority” where only 45% of the population is White and 17% of the population of Asian descent, according to the recent 2009 Census report. The largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam resides in Garden Grove in Little Saigon, and Santa Ana is an epicenter of the Latino population. And of course, the Muslims. There is a large population of Muslims scattered across the county – in fact, according to a religious study from 2000, it is the 5th most popular religion in the county, representing 1.4 percent of the population of The O.C. I’m sure the statistics on this will be different if you look at 2011 result of the region on religion.

Why am I telling you about this other perspective of Orange County? To give you context as you watch this video, released by CAIR-LA on Wednesday.

The above video was filmed at a rally in February, outside of a fundraiser for the Islamic Circle of North America, a charity driven international Muslim organization.

The event – held at Yorba Linda Community Center, a facility that has been frequented by Muslim families and businesses over the years – first became a target of anti-Muslim bigots over two of the fundraiser’s speakers, who were to speak on the importance of charity in Islam. [cair-la]

What was most disturbing to me, albeit not surprising since I’ve had to build relationships with Electeds in this region, is the statements that came from the politicians that spoke at the rally. Councilwoman Deborah Pauly clearly implied that all the Muslims should be murdered. In light of what happened with the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, due to the hate sentiments fueled in the community (as well as by Sarah Palin) and a lunatic eventually retaliating with a gun shot in to head… Well. Can Deborah Pauly really be that ignorant to not make a connection that her words could have the same effect? Or maybe she knows, and simply doesn’t care.

Villa Park Councilwoman, Deborah Pauly, while addressing the crowd at the rally, appeared to threaten Muslim event-goers. Congressman Ed Royce (R-40), in a troubling trend of disparaging Islam and its followers, added fuel to the fire by encouraging protesters to continue on with their hate-mongering. The attendance of Congressman Gary Miller (R-42) was a clear surprise, since he previously has engaged with all constituents, including Muslims, toward a better America. [cair-la]

But this situation isn’t simply a one-off of crazy tea-baggers in Orange County. There have been a string of Islamaphobic stories recently in Orange County – from the protesting of the construction of mosques to a hijabi woman fighting for her job at Disneyland because she wanted to wear her hijab to work. But the biggest story currently comes from UC Irvine, with the case of the Irvine 11.

The students — 8 currently at UC Irvine and 3 UC Riverside graduates — were charged with with two misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and disturbance of the meeting by the Orange County District Attorney’s office on Friday, only a few days after a protest was staged outside of the DA’s office in support of the so-called ‘Irvine 11.’ > The incident prompted the suspension of the school’s Muslim Student Union group and sparked debates on campus regarding limitations on free speech…[huffpost]

Since when did the District Attorney’s office get involved when students spoke out against a speaker on a campus? Students do this all the time on university campuses and they never get criminal charges. As the above video shows, this is a clear case of double standards and a racist example of selective punishment in the criminal justice system.

In comparison, none of the protesters in the first video were pressed with criminal charges. Even with Councilwoman Pauly’s veiled threats.

Racism still exists, both on the ground and in navigating the legal system. It pains me to hear people say that racism is no more when this incident just happened last month and hate was hurled at young children walking into a space, just because they were wearing hijab. I would go as far as to say that because Orange County is a minority majority now, these two incidences are a clear reflection of the fear felt by the now “minority” Whites. They are scared, and they are backlashing.

One final video, to cleanse your palette. I dedicate this one to all the bigots that stumble upon this site today. This one is for you.

And just to nip it at the bud, yes this is a Desi story. Look at the faces in the video, this a Desi-Muslim narrative. Not Muslim, so you don’t care? You should because in case it wasn’t clear from the video, these protesters aren’t very smart and won’t be able to differentiate the differences in the Brown Muslims, the Brown Hindus and the Brown Sikhs. If there ever was an example where Desi unity is needed to stand up to bigoted sentiments, this would be it.

98 thoughts on “Behind the Orange Curtain is a Minority Majority

  1. Manju, do you say Disney only because W’s views may have conceivably changed (were he alive) following the exoneration that Ratzinger recently granted? Or did you say Disney with a heavy dose of irony?

    I picked Disney b/c of his antisemitism. Didn’t know about the Ratzinger thing, though I guess the 43rd potus is pleased.

  2. “I picked Disney b/c of his antisemitism.” Thought so. I meant W for Walt, and Ratzinger’s exoneration of Jews for the death of Christ. I was just being cryptic, seeing as that’s how you roll too. :)

  3. Al Beruni and Kid Poker. Be civil or I will need to curtail your commenting privs. Especially Kid Poker, chill your rhetoric on a lot of these threads. Thanks

  4. lol this is how they are on this blog more or less. The staff is all right as long as you’re fawning over them or summat. But if they can’t pan your constructive criticism they call you out. Sometimes even delete you. Yah it’s been a while, but the place hasn’t changed. Have to add tho that the quality of the commentators has improved vastly. kudos. This blog dived big time asininely some time back. Badly even… Now I’ll just await the constructive criticism that comes my way. Cheers y’all

  5. I promise you they could not give less of a shit what your religion or ethnicity are, what you think of ICNA or the crazy DisneyWorld Hijabi, or what your political beliefs are. There’s no distinguishing between your brown ass and the other “terrorists” they don’t want in their homeland; you’d be naive to think otherwise.

    SNAP! Barani got served. I think a to-go box is needed.

  6. “why have India’s leaders allowed Sharia to persist if the Hindu equivalent was eliminated? Was it a voting issue or appeasement? This has always struck me as a double standard and have never heard a satisfactory explanation. “

    This is something I was told -

    In the 1940s, the Congress was painted as the Hindu party seen unfit to represent Muslims. That resulted in the creation of Pakistan. So the policy that was followed later on was to let Muslims have more freedom and privileges than in Pakistan to show why Pakistan was unnecessary. This disenfranchised most of the reformist Muslims as the secular Indian state cared more about reforming everyone else in the 1950s, while leaving Muslims in the hands of religious conservatives.

    Although this explanation, fits the facts I wonder if Nehru expected to reform Muslims in the 1960s after winning the reform battle against Hindu conservatives in the 50s. At a strategic level, if such moves were afoot, they were preempted by the Chinese border war in 1962, leaving the problem to eventually devolve into today’s religious votebank driven secular/communal politics.

  7. To those claiming Islam should ban hijabs: how exactly do you propose this would happen? There is no central Caliphate of Islam; it’s not like Catholicism where there’s a Pope and Archbishops handy everywhere. Unless you mean that the governments of certain nations should ban public hijab (I think they did this in France?).

    Personally, I have never seen anything wrong with hijab (not to be confused with burqa). It is one thing to force women to veil themselves, like in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, but if an independent woman of any faith chooses to cover her hair, more power to her – nothing anti-feminist about that. I’ve met young women around my university who choose to wear hijabs (keep in mind they are living independently, away from their families/religious clerics, so not doing it out of pressure), and if they choose to do that,why not?

    Everyone should assimilate as fast as possible.

    I agree immigrants to a new nation need to assimilate into the overall culture if they want to be a part of society, and that includes respecting and abiding by the laws of the new nation, but I disagree that there needs to be a hijab ban because it’s against feminism. Would you also argue that Jews needs to get rid of their yamulkas or Catholic nuns needs to discard their habits? The USA was created so that people could freely practice their religion, so I don’t think there is anything anti-American about women choosing to wear hijabs. “Assimilate” doesn’t equate to discarding your own culture or religion and embracing every aspect of majority culture. In the next 50 years, that “majority” is going to get a heck of a lot smaller, too, what with Latino immigration rates, their high birth rates, and comparatively low White birthrates.

  8. As for the protesters, I agree with some of their points. I am loathed to demonize a whole community, however, demonization appears to be the only way to motivate a largely intransingent and isolated community to change. Many American Muslims have very isolationist, supremacist, and prejudiced tendencies with regard to their religion with virtually no room for self reflection or growth. The only thing that motivates these people to change is self-interest (in this case to avoid being an outcast in America). An ideal solution? No, but I cannot think of any other.

    I don’t think this is a fair assessment of the American Moslem community. I think what you’re saying is more accurate in regards to Moslems in Europe. American Moslems seem more open to assimilation and less hostile to the majority culture than their European counterparts – maybe for cultural reasons, since European browns tend to be Middle Eastern (except for UK Paki’s) and American browns tend to be South Asian; maybe our culture is more open to assimilation for whatever reason? I also agree with some of the protestors points, but I don’t think demonization is a good way to go about it – you state that the only thing that motivates them to change is to “avoid being an outcast in America”, but I don’t think that will do it.

  9. I do want to support Muslims when they are discriminated against – but they (they = larger muslim community, especially in N America) are so apathetic to non-muslim causes that I feel no solidarity with them.

    This is not a desi issue at all. As usual, Taz like the majority of muslims, does not want to hear any feedback about Islam – they simply dismiss it as anti-muslim hatred. Taz hijacks this blog so frequently.

    Props to al beruni and others for standing up.

  10. maybe for cultural reasons, since European browns tend to be Middle Eastern (except for UK Paki’s) and American browns tend to be South Asian; maybe our culture is more open to assimilation for whatever reason?

    american muslims are closer to the socioeconomic median. they’re also ethnically fragmented (actually, about equal brown, mid eastern, black, and “other,” which includes white converts, malayasians, etc.), so forming “muslim ghettos” isn’t possible. “muslim ghettos” in much of europe are actually monoethnic, with islam being the dominant religion of the ethnicity.

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/483/muslim-americans

    (muslim americans have religious views in the range of the typical evangelical protestant christian when it comes to issues like religious exclusivity, fwiw)

    good point about hijab vs. burqua. point i try to make. i’m admittedly anti-islam and skeptical about muslim interests in the west, but head coverings are part of western culture, depending on context (look at old photographs or paintings). the abaya/burqua where the face is covered is qualitatively different, and changes the relationship between individuals.

    i think the sort of nastiness displayed on this video probably are hurting, rather than helping, the cause of skepticism of the claims of muslims. no one likes to pick on people who are perceived to be victims, and no matter what some of the commenters here personally believe, i think that’s going to be the majority perception. there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of CAIR and be wary of islam. hysterics muddle, obscure, and marginalize reasonable critiques as the debate polarizes into “islamophobia” and protecting “minority rights.”

    finally, there’s also the confusion and confound that many people in the united states don’t the weight of religious conflict in south asia as relevant or salient to these particular debates. others do, for obvious reasons.

  11. - maybe for cultural reasons, since European browns tend to be Middle Eastern (except for UK Paki’s) and American browns tend to be South Asian; maybe our culture is more open to assimilation for whatever reason?

    btw, looking at the data, it is the south asian muslims of britain who are the most divergent in attitudes from the non-muslim majority, among large european muslim communities. in particular, the mirpuri pakistani community. see here:

    http://euro-islam.info/ei/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/gallup_coexist_2009_interfaith_relations_uk_france_germany.pdf

  12. “finally, there’s also the confusion and confound that many people in the united states don’t the weight of religious conflict in south asia as relevant or salient to these particular debates. others do, for obvious reasons”

    That’s exactly it Razib. I’ve travelled extensively through India as an ABD and a lot of what happens in India is fascinating and alarming…sometimes at the same time. A lot of it is not politically correct. I take an aggressive stance on certain subjects and am quite terse about it… :)

  13. I wish someone would explain this to me how this is a desi issue. Just in the past week a man in Texas who is young muslim college student was arrested for planning to kill former President Bush. Also in New Jersey two young muslim men plead guilty to a terror plot. Almost every month now there seem to be an arrest of young american muslim male involved in some terror plot. And alot of those men arrested come from desi background.

    Meanwhile there was a desi related story this week that is getting alot of media coverage. It was about a 13 year old white girl named Jesse Bender who ran from home to escape from being taken by her pakistani step father to Pakistan to be married off. Any chance that anybody on this website will blog about that.

  14. no one likes to pick on people who are perceived to be victims

    “Perceived” nothing. In this case they are victims. You can have whatever opinions you want about ideas, ideologies, or large faceless groups/communities. But committing the ecological fallacy of hating on individuals within a group for your disagreements with the group as a whole takes thing a step too far.

  15. @Razib – exactly, American Muslims are fairly close to the mainstream; the extremist views of Muslims being prejudiced, isolationist, and uninterested in non-Muslim issues don’t match up with the Muslims I meet in everyday life. We (and I see we because though I’ve never been religious, my last name is Mehmoor so that makes me “muslim”) have assimilated pretty well compared to Muslims in Europe. I guess socioeconomic differences are a good explanation, but how did that arise in the first place; why are UK South Asian Muslims low-income compared to North American South Asian Muslims? Differences in US/UK immigration policies maybe? Regional differences amongst South Asian immigrants (South Indians vs. North Indians vs. Kashmiri etc…)

    I also think the “melting pot” American culture has contributed to this phenomenon. Europe isn’t a multi-ethnic haven of immigrants as America has been during our relatively short history. It’s one thing to immigrate to a large country where 70% of people are “White” (which includes a multitude of ethnicities and religions), and another to immigrate to a small country where 97% of people have shared a common ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious heritage for centuries (like Sweden). No surprise that Muslim immigrants to Sweden are comparatively more hostile and isolationist. I’m not saying this to excuse them by any means, but trying to think of reasons why.

  16. I wish someone would explain this to me how this is a desi issue.

    I think it is relevant to this blog for 2 reasons: - A significant chunk of Desi’s are Muslim - Anti-Muslim hostilities extend beyond Muslims to other South Asians; that’s why random bearded South Asians get attacked and beaten, even if they’re not Muslim because a lot of the hostility comes from ignorant people who lump the area between Bangladesh and Turkey together as one brown, terrorist blob

    I’d like to see someone blog about Jessie Bender too! I saw the article posted here the other day but no one wrote about it :/

  17. I also think the “melting pot” American culture has contributed to this phenomenon. Europe isn’t a multi-ethnic haven of immigrants as America has been during our relatively short history.

    While that is a factor I think the level of it’s impact is overstated. People assimilate better here because the US’ immigration policies are structures specifically to draw in the people who are likely to assimilate. That is to say, educated, white collar, professional types in highly competitive, modern industries.

    Among the components of society that are immigrants who aren’t educated, white collar, professionals they don’t assimilate as well and you are likely to see them aggregate together in low income ethnic ghettos.

    Anti-Muslim hostilities extend beyond Muslims to other South Asians

    Trying to appeal to my sympathies on the grounds that “it could be you!” is both insulting and ineffective. For one thing it doesn’t really convince me that I should care. It really just makes a case that we should work harder to more publicly denounce and distance ourselves from Muslim groups. Is that what you want?

    At the end of the day it’s relevant enough to discuss just for being a Muslim issue since the Indian Subcontinent is home to the largest population of Muslims in the world. As for whether I’m expected to feel any extra special solidarity for them over and above any other group that’s being harassed by douchey right-wingnuts. . . eh I don’t really buy it. South Asian Muslims are only part of my “imagined community” insofar as we share South Asianness together, not where we share Muslimness together. I could draw out a Venn diagram to illustrate the point, but I don’t think it necessary.

  18. People assimilate better here because the US’ immigration policies are structures specifically to draw in the people who are likely to assimilate. That is to say, educated, white collar, professional types in highly competitive, modern industries.

    Disagree since most of our immigrants are coming from south of the border, and they don’t appear to be the white collar professional types – the government realizes we need a steady supply of manual labor too. I do think there is something unique about American culture that makes it easier for Muslims to assimilate here vs a country like Sweden. I don’t think it’s just socioeconomic levels; culture plays a huge role imo.

    Trying to appeal to my sympathies on the grounds that “it could be you!” is both insulting and ineffective. For one thing it doesn’t really convince me that I should care. It really just makes a case that we should work harder to more publicly denounce and distance ourselves from Muslim groups. Is that what you want?

    I don’t “want” anything and couldn’t care less if Indian Hindu’s/Sikhs are trying to distance themselves from South Asian Muslims. I’m just saying that it effects all browns – hindu, sikh, christian, atheist, agnostic, whatever – whether we like it or not. Sorry to be insulting.

    • Disagree since most of our immigrants are coming from south of the border, and they don’t appear to be the white collar professional types – the government realizes we need a steady supply of manual labor too. I do think there is something unique about American culture that makes it easier for Muslims to assimilate here vs a country like Sweden. I don’t think it’s just socioeconomic levels; culture plays a huge role imo.

      I already covered that: Among the components of society that are immigrants who aren’t educated, white collar, professionals they don’t assimilate as well and you are likely to see them aggregate together in low income ethnic ghettos.

      Besides, our Muslims don’t come from down South.

      I’m just saying that it effects all browns – hindu, sikh, christian, atheist, agnostic, whatever – whether we like it or not.

      Wouldn’t we be better off if we just went with the John Donne approach and conclude that if people are abused we should be offended whether it affects us directly or not? I think the “all browns will get lumped together” argument is a bit tenuous in most circumstances in which we are likely to find ourselves. The ones who sip on the haterade often generally do know who their enemy is. If it’s bad make the case that it’s bad and leave it at that. People shouldn’t assume that non-Muslims can only bring ourselves to care about Muslims if we’re dragged down with them. That’s the insulting part.

  19. I am a little disappointed with the premise of the post – that all desis should stand up against ‘bigoted sentiments’ of a few extreme voices on one side who spoke out against extremism on the other. Shouldn’t people take sides basis what they feel is right or wrong rather than cultural or ethnic proximity?

  20. @Alina, North American muslims are also low income Per 2008 Pew report, 25% of muslims have household income over $75K, and 25% of muslims have a college education, these numbers are slightly below white. Whereas for US Hindus, 75% make over $75K and 75% have a college education.

    In Canada, second generation muslims perform at very near black levels, again below white, whereas 65% of second generation Hindus go to college,

    Taz was very hypocritical in supporting the UC-Irvine demonstrators while condeming the anti-ICNA demonstrators.

    ICNA was formed by the leader of Al-Badr, who was directly involved in death squads in 1971 in Bangladesh

    The main difference is that in Europe, the muslim % is 4% vs less than 1% in USA.
    When muslims reach 4% in USA, they will behave same as in Europe

  21. Since the original video link is broken, can it be updated with this?

    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/video?id=7957084

    And in general a better source than CAIR could be used anyway to ensure face validity.

    As for the Irvine 11, to paraphrase Hussein Ibish this is no more a desi issue than Paulite Isolationists at another Oren speech or NAMBLA supporters at a mass. Last time I checked, Palestine is not in “South Asia”.

    That being said, when you get to the bottom of it these people were protesting peacefully for a cause they believe is “liberty.” Without spouting bromides on Contractual law bromides, and trudging scraps from Miron’s trash, the case can easily be made about spreading the word for reducing their fine to a slap on the wrist. Their tone-deaf approach and the administration’s over-reaction aside, we can find a common ground with these “” people; they don’t have to Muslim or “brown” for them to have a valid point.

  22. ugh…I gotta use the preview feature more often so I don’t O.D on bromide

  23. re: why european muslims are more low income, etc. a lot ‘em were recruited specifically for manual jobs post-world war ii. iz why pakistanis in england are often from industrial north. also, europe isn’t unitary. multiculturalism is really big in northern and central europe, but france is explicitly assimilationist. france has a long history of immigration. how many people know or care that edith piaff had a grandmother who was named emma saïd ben mohamed? (moroccan)

  24. Wow. Some people here have big problems they need to sort out. Identity. Assimilation. Prejudices. Bringing old-world drama here.

    I can’t believe the level of ABCD-ness here. It’s a bit amusing. It would be fun to actually meet some of these people in real life.

  25. Great post. I serve in public office and can definitively say that hate rhetoric like this by so called “leaders” has an impact on their flock. It legitimizes what their constituency might already be inclined towards, otherwise it gives them just the right “spin” that is politically expedient for the leadership.

    We recently had a public outcry against a certain minority community in our town and that community was in shock at the lies that were fabricated against them. They made it a point to educate the community at large on the the real facts. If you don’t define who you are, others will gladly do it for you.

    Our communities have bigger problems than to focus on lowest common denominator politics based on race/religion/ethnicity. Let’s demand REAL solutions for REAL problems from our elected officials.

  26. I don’t see this as a muslim or even a desi issue – one would expect better from people that to be shouting obscenities at young children and women. OC is a dump and this proves it.

  27. So, am I still the only one here bothered by pre-pubescent children programmed to wear hijab by their parents?

    So many people say, “hijab is a free choice” – for an adult, maybe. But for a child?

    Let me ask you all this: if your town was composed of 50% hijabi children, what would be your take?

    Bothered? Not bothered? Slightly bothered? Who cares?

    Elsewhere a Sikh mother said she trains her son to speak up and represent his religion. As an adult she is free to do that however do these parents ever consult their kids and ask them how they feel about having to externally represent their religion to their entire school faculty and peer group?

    We know that kids want to “fit in” and feel “accepted” by their peers. This is very important to children and teens.

    Do religious parents ever considered this and the possible psychological damage they could be doing to their kids during their formative years?

    • The hijab is based on a different culture’s differing standard of modesty. Telling a kid to cover her head is no different from telling the same prepubescent kid to not strip all her clothes off an run around naked.

  28. The hijab is based on a different culture’s differing standard of modesty. Telling a kid to cover her head is no different from telling the same prepubescent kid to not strip all her clothes off an run around naked.

    Nope… that is an invalid comparison. One would tell both a boy and a girl in most cultures to not run around naked. A hijab is only imposed on girls.

      • Notice that female nipples on TV get censored while male nipples go unnoticed. Oh no! Are we now subjecting young women to psychological harm by discouraging them from baring their breasts? Should the producers of “Girls Gone Wild” be given accolades for making such bold strides against such oppression?

  29. So are rules about not baring your chest at the beach

    You are changing your own rules in this discussion. Your original statement said “prepubescent”. The issue with breasts is that adult/mature breasts/nipples are considered sexual in a woman in the West. A prepubescent boy or girl can be “topless” on any beach. Is a female head considered sexual in a female child that it must be covered for “modesty” ? And yes, there have been numerous protests where women have gone topless to protest the off kilter laws about men/women going topless. And yes, even men have been ticketed for being topless:

    http://joulesbeef.newsvine.com/_news/2008/06/12/1568403-man-arrested-for-going-topless-easton-md-

    It is just that nobody usually enforces those rules here.

  30. Your original statement said “prepubescent”

    Way to focus on the wrong part of the sentence. My original point was that different cultures have different standards of modesty. My current point is that different cultures have different standards of modesty. Prepubescent girls get told to keep their pants on too, if for no other reason than to train them to do so when they grow up.

    http://joulesbeef.newsvine.com/_news/2008/06/12/1568403-man-arrested-for-going-topless-easton-md-

    Ah yes, because one-off anecdotes constitute evidence or something. If you honestly think there are no differential cultural attitudes between men being barechested and women being barechested then I’m really just left wondering what the drugs are like over on your planet.

  31. @Majority Minority – You asked why some Muslims have pre-pubescent children wearing hijab. Well when I was in high school I used to babysit for a Muslim woman (Egyptian) who went to my family’s mosque, and her 7 year old daughter wore a hijab to school – I asked her why, and her reasoning was that she wanted to acclimate her daughter to wearing hijab in public from a young age, rather than have her start wearing it at age 13 or whatever.

    I don’t think this is “abusive” in any sense, assuming that the kids are ok with it. I remember when I was a little girl, my mom would make me wear hijab when it was prayer time at the mosque, and I was ok with it.

    I don’t think Muslims asking their daughters to wear hijab is any different than Catholics making their kids go to Confession, Jews asking their sons to wear yamulkas, Sikhs asking their sons to wear turbans, or Christians of all denominations asking their kids to wear cross necklaces. We don’t get to choose the culture, or religion we’re born to and most people growing up participate in their parent’s cultural/religious choices by default – I don’t see anything oppressive about it, unless it’s in excess (little girls wearing a Burqa = excess to me).

  32. Alina-M

    I do think there is a symbolic difference between the hijab and the examples that you mention, not only is hijab gender specific but the very reason to wear a hijab is to control the male sexuality. The responsibility becomes the womans. Now societies all over the world has this view om a sliding scale, not to mention India.

    But to compare this with religious symbolism such as crosses, turbans or yamulkas, is to forget the gender discrimination that (on different levels exists all over the world) the hijab enforces. That it is a milder burqa does not make it right.

  33. Yoga Fire

    It’s not the gender specificity per se, but the fact that it is womens responsibility if men can’t behave. That is why I wrote, “not only”. There are a lot of gender specific societal rules that apply for men as well, but none of them puts the blame on us if we are the victims.

  34. btw your nipple example isn’t all that bad, this is why you see topless women more often in countries with more gender equality. India is hardly the role model here, that said, hijab is taking it a step further, burqa of course even more so.

  35. Razib

    There is only one multicultural country in Europe, that is UK. Scandinavia and Germany are definitely countries where you are expected to assimilate, public policy may sau otherwise, but societal pressure makes it very hard if you don’t assimilate.

    • Your statement is both technically and factually incorrect. Britain has state sponsored multiculturalism, whereas in countries like Sweden and Germany the assimilation is facilitated through voluntary choices rather than policy; subtly huge difference you see.

      • On the contrary, Sweden has state sponsored multiculturalism as well, however societal pressure forces you to assimilate in order to get a job etc. I should know, I have lived there since birth.

  36. but the fact that it is womens responsibility if men can’t behave.

    When the dominant cultural that gets sold around the world IS the Western one (and a more libertine version of it that even many Westerners are sometimes discomforted by) it does make the comparatively more stringent standard in Islamic countries seem “weird” or “otherized.” I figured the whole idea of the hijab being intended to avoid lustful gazes was more of a post hoc rationalization than anything else. It’s kind of like how Hindus are made to feel like they have to explain themselves about the cows and the many armed Gods but White people don’t have to answer for their bizarre reverence towards dogs and cats.

    • You are right of course, there can be many such examples. But striving for equality is universal, you could have made a similar defence about caste.Striving for gender equality is not a western phenomena, and the roots of the hijab is obvious.

  37. That first sentence was supposed to say “dominant cultural mores that get sold. . .”

  38. I’m not really concerned about equality as an end in itself so much as preserving everyone’s fundamental human dignity. That generally means ensuring some parity in terms of power dynamics to prevent any group for asserting dominance over others, but the that’s not the objective on it’s own.

  39. Gender specific garments aren’t uncommon in religion (yamulkas, turbans, habits…) so that aspect of hijab doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is when women are forced to wear a hijab or burqa against their will. If that’s not the case, and the woman is wearing it voluntarily, I don’t have an issue with it.

    It’s kind of like how Hindus are made to feel like they have to explain themselves about the cows and the many armed Gods but White people don’t have to answer for their bizarre reverence towards dogs and cats.

    Oh, I don’t know about that…every time my Grandma comes over, I have to explain why my dog gets to sleep in my room every night. At least we’re past the point where we would have to put him in the backyard when she comes over… :)

  40. Yoga Fire: “The hijab is based on a different culture’s differing standard of modesty.”

    • Thankyou for proving my exact point.

    Alina M: “Well when I was in high school I used to babysit for a Muslim woman (Egyptian) who went to my family’s mosque, and her 7 year old daughter wore a hijab to school – I asked her why, and her reasoning was that she wanted to acclimate her daughter to wearing hijab in public from a young age, rather than have her start wearing it at age 13 or whatever.”

    • Very telling, indeed. Thanks to you to for proving my point.

    Now, can I get any answers as to just how much change of the American cultural fabric is “ok” with people here?

    Afterall, Middle Eastern and South Asian Muslims immigrate here for a reason. Reasons that they can’t get fulfilled in their own countries where hijab is a cultural norm.

    Does anyone think that a preponderance of hijabis in the US will change what’s attractive about this country to people around the world and to Americans ourselves?

    Is the hijab isolated or does it come with it social and cultural values that could be beneficial or harmful to the US?

  41. In addition to my above post I have a question for Taz, although it appears that she wrote this blog and then disappeared when the comments started rolling…

    ” I would go as far as to say that because Orange County is a minority majority now, these two incidences are a clear reflection of the fear felt by the now “minority” Whites. They are scared, and they are backlashing.”

    Out of curiousity, are you for or against a majority population of any region of the world being displaced by a minority with whom they do not share a similar culture?

    If so, why?

    If not, why not?

  42. Out of curiousity, are you for or against a majority population of any region of the world being displaced by a minority with whom they do not share a similar culture?

    I’m not Taz, so I can’t answer you question, but I find it curious you would phrase it in such a way. When examining history, it appears that the region now known as California was first occupied by Amerindian tribes for thousands of years, then briefly became occupied by a white-European majority for roughly 200 years, and now the majority is returning to people of Amerindian descent again, as it has always been. In the timeline of history, that white invasion is a blip on the radar, a brief pocket of time when a minority group displaced the indigenous population and then were quickly displaced again. If you were speaking of Europe, you might have a valid point here, but it makes no sense in regard to California.

    This blog is meant to discuss cultural issues of the Desi community, and it seems to me that what you really want to discuss is the immigration and integration of non-white people into Western cultures. A lot of the stuff you say is relevant here, but I’m starting to think you might have a bigger audience on websites like Stormfront.org.

  43. Alina M: “A lot of the stuff you say is relevant here, but I’m starting to think you might have a bigger audience on websites like Stormfront.org”

    1. Shaming language doesn’t work with me.
    2. Islam is not a race.

    The Arctic Bong: “On the contrary, Sweden has state sponsored multiculturalism as well, however societal pressure forces you to assimilate in order to get a job etc. I should know, I have lived there since birth.”

    Interesting. What about those on government welfare? Do they assimilate as well? UK has a problem with “ghettoization” and from what I read about Sweden, I was under the impression that it also had a problem with low-no income immigrants clustering and not assimilating. Am I being misinformed?

    Perhaps you’ve heard of Anjem Chaudhary (another Bong?) who feels entitled to UK government benefits (the dole) while openly speaking against the very country, culture and tax paying citizens that feed him.

    Mack Daddy gets on TV alot and sure knows how to milk the system to promote his agenda.

    See here;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcCLf1LulX4

    So – how’s it working out in Sweden? Bhalo or bhalo na?