Friday, June 26, 2009

Mind Ya Business

My little boy doesn't wear dresses.

He can't play with his momma's jewelry, he won't play with her clothes and he definitely will not wear her makeup. I won't let him grow his hair out either. It's a straight Cesar for him until he's at least 10 years old.

Some folks might disagree with the choices I've made for my son. They might argue that he's a child and we should allow children their freedom of expression. A friend of mine once said that the role of a parent should be kind of like a an adult buddy, not a dictator (She has no children).

These folks can mind their business.

I raise my son how I think he needs to be raised. Unless I'm abusing him, depriving him or otherwise egregiously affecting his development, how I raise my child is none of the world's business. How I dress him, how I cut his hair, what books I allow him to read, what television shows he can watch should not be the concern of people who aren't responsible for caring for my son.

So, why is France considering a law that would force Muslim women within its borders to stop wearing burqas anywhere?

That might seem like an abrupt and illogical segue, but stay with me. France is considering banning the full-length veils that many Muslim women wear as part of their, or their families, religious beliefs. The country has already banned the veils in its schools, but now some officials want to extend that ban everywhere.

Supporters say that the veils are used to subjugate women. They also claim that the veils represent extremist Muslims and prevent Muslims from fully integrating into French society.

Excuse me, but I'm going to have to call deconner.

This is not about freeing women. It's about the French and their dislike for the way many Muslims have refused to sacrifice the tenets of their faith to get along better with everybody else. It's about many French conservatives viewing all Muslims as potential terrorists, and believing that head scarves are more proof of those terroristic interests. It's about controlling a minority.

It ain't about saving women.

In my mind, those scarves don't have anything to do with anybody but the women wearing them. Maybe some of them are forced to wear the coverings by their families, but wouldn't it make sense to determine who those people are and help them? Why must France institute a national ban, that limits the rights of all Muslim women, in order to help some women? Isn't that a sign of laziness or ulterior motives on the part of the French?

I hate when people pretend that an unfair solution is the only alternative. I hate when people justify their own laziness by pointing out that their actions will do some good. It's a cop out.

Many French people don't like Muslims in scarves, so they are thinking about outlawing them. That's the bottom line.

And it's crap.



Mr. Noface said...

You are right, it is crap and it has more to do with hang ups in the French majority than in the French minority. It is also a sign of intolerance that exists (but is rarely discussed) in Western European nations,like France.

Darth Whitey said...

As someone who spends a lot of time in France let me tell you I am quite pleased with this. It's sickening to see the country being turned into an Islamic republic.

What you have to understand is that France, or anyplace in Europe really, is NOT like America- it is NOT a melting pot of immigrants. Its traditions and culture are a treasure. I want to feel like I'm in France when I'm in France.

I travel a lot for my work and I've also spent some time in Saudi Arabia and I'm cool with whatever they do there, I don't care, it's their country. They won't let me crack a beer when I'm there or look at naked women, who am I to complain? I'd ask the same courtesy when they come to other countries-- respect the culture.

And before y'all accuse me of racism, mind you I don't care what race Frenchmen are-- black, arab, asian-- as long as they act French, I'm cool with them. One of my favorite Frenchmen is Thierry Henry, a black soccer player. He's pure French in his attitude, the way he talks, everything. It's the case for most French blacks actually. But the arabs, I'm sorry to say, they show up with their bad attitude, why do they bother? If they like it so much why not stay in their paradise? When in Rome...

And about burqas, well, in France they have something quaint in their charter: Liberté, égalité, fraternité. That means Liberty, equality, and fraternity. A burqa symbolizes prisonhood, subjugation to men. And please, don't tell me they enjoy it, like it's their choice. feh. That's what they might tell you in front of their husbands. Have you ever seen a woman wearing one of those on a hot day? It's pitiful.

Big Man said...


So, you feel that individual countries should be allowed to regulate the dress of anyone living in those countries or visiting those countries?

You really believe that?

So, you're saying you have no problem with Muslim countries forcing women to wear the burqa as long as they keep that in "their country."

Or France telling American visitors that American flag pins are outlawed? In fact, any clothing that identifies them as Americans is outlawed? You're cool with that?


Deacon Blue said...

Isn't France the same country that just decriminalized incest? Or is close to doing so at least?

And they want to ban burqas? They want to criminalize a piece of clothing?

The cognitivie dissonance is killing me right now...

Mr. Noface said...

It's giving me a non sequitor moment as well Deacon.

Darth Whitey said...

Deac: it's not banning a piece of clothing, it's banning a symbol of oppression, which itself is illegal in France thanks to the constitution.

Big Man: yes, when I go to other countries I obey their laws and I don't go there to impose my ways. I don't show up in Saudi Arabia with bibles to hand out and bottles of whiskey and lingerie for the women. I'd expect the same courtesy of people coming into my country. Again, "When in Rome..."

Big Man said...


How is the secular government of France going to tell Muslims that the burqa is a symbol of oppression?

Doesn't that sound a wee bit ridiculous to you? A secular government believes it has the ability to dictate to a religion that one of its religious observances is a symbol of oppression. That's just crazy.

However, I will give you credit for being honest about your feelings. You don't care that this new law would prevent Muslims from worshipping their God in a way that they prefer and which truly hurts NO ONE. From what I gather, you figure that if they want to live in France, they have to dress the way the French government says.

I would note that for Algerians the French flag might be a symbol of oppression. It's all relative.

Darth Whitey said...

No no no, the burqa itself is NOT a religious _choice_ for the women! It's only a choice for the men. You said it "truly hurts NO ONE." I don't think the women who have to walk around in those would agree. They are French, they have the right to NOT be slaves to their husbands. Find me ONE Muslim woman who honestly likes it. One that doesn't say so with fear of reprisal from her male relatives. You will not find it. We cannot tolerate intolerance.

DMG said...

Hey Big Man,

I kind of have to agree with Darth Whitey here. France ain't America. They don't abide by our constitution, and they don't need to be a melting pot. They want to preserve their culture. If your cultural traditions don't match up with the law of the land...move. It's kind of like Muslim parents complaining about compulsory sex education in Sweden recently. These are the laws of the land. People are expected to respect Muslim cultural practices IN Saudi Arabia, Oman, etc. This does not extend to Sweden or France. On the other hand there is no reason to go out of ones way to offend them either.

By the way...if your boy puts on moms heals, don't freak out. It's normal. But I understand your house your rules. Same goes for France.

Darth Whitey said...

I'm starting to wonder if there may be some confusion about what we're talking about here.

The French to to ban the burqa, not the hijab. This is the burqa:

It's a full body cover, you're not even supposed to be able to see the woman's eyes. Any woman wearing one of those is not a free person.

I've seen women wearing them whilst in France, walking 15 feet behind their husbands pushing a stroller. On a very hot day. Wearing the full-black burqa. While the husband is wearing shorts and sandals with his long-ass beard. Yea, she's free. right.

Gye Greene said...

Re: the earlier comment about "Europe = non-assimilation":

How true is that, really? The Brits eat lovely curries, beyond just their steak & kidney pies. In Paris: There no punk rockers? Turkish immigrants aren't eating the esgargot? I think not: cultural cross-pollenization goes both ways -- even in Europe.

I think what's being confused is the assimilation of first-generation immigrants, vs. 2nd, 3rd, 4th generations...

First generations often **don't** assimilate -- witness the Italian, Irish, German, etc. ethnic enclaves in the U.S. in the 1800s...

For France & immigrants: It's too early yet to tell.

re: "Wanting to feel like you're in France, when you're in France". Would that be eighth century France, eighteenth century France, France of the 1920s, 1950s, or 2000s?

No modern, industrialized nation has a static culture -- even culturally "protectionist" ones like France. They're shifting, changing, evolving. France is more ''French'' than its neighbors -- but it's not the same France as fifty years ago.

And, you know what? Even with massive amounts of immigration, the U.S. is still, unmistakably, "America." It would take a **lot** of immigration (from one unified source) to wipe **that** out... ;)

re: Burq. & oppression: Good clarification re: the burq. vs. hijab. **However** -- in talking with a Muslim co-worker, she says that some Muslim women wear the full-body covering as a means of "going full-on" for her religion -- kind of like a Buddhist shaving her head, or a Born-Again Christian fasting.

Others **like** it, as it shields them from the gaze of leering men (apparently, we guys are oblivious to this, but women totally know that guys are staring at their boobs -- and get tired of it after a while). So, it's a bit of a cloak of invisibility: ironically(?), rather than guys checking out their body, they can interact as gender-neutral beings.

Thus, wearing a burq. is not **necessarily** synonymous with walking behind your husband, etc., etc. (Although, yes, it's probably correlated.)

Big Man: I don't think there's any evidence that playing cross-gender dress up causes queerness.

re: "A friend of mine once said that the role of a parent should be kind of like a an adult buddy, not a dictator"

Yow! How, then, would you discipline the kid? Good parenting **must** involve, as some level, the understanding the the parents' say-so trumps the kid. (There's actually been a ton of studies that show that **not** pulling the kid up short -- in a loving and consistent manner -- leads to a much greater risk of delinquency/antisocial behavior.)

Great blog posting. Curiously, here in Australia there seemed to be less of an uproar than what I would've expected from Americans. Part of it is that work uniforms, and school uniforms, are much more normative than in the U.S.

So, more willing to accept govt. regulation of clothing and "losing individuality thru clothing choice".


Raving Black Lunatic