Cultural Differences Make Provocative Romance: “Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World”
MENA Bloggers: New Category, Same Challenges in Media Space
2013 Tanenbaum Awards Honor New York Times Bestselling Author and Activist Reza Aslan and Philanthropic Leader FJC
Dubai Designer Marina Qureshi behind Florence Welch Dress
Two Iconic Divas Live On In San Francisco
Star Trek: Into a Darkness We're Already Lost In
Today's Exclusive Columns
Mideast Arts & Culture
Dubai, a city known for its glamour, soaring skyscrapers and magnificent malls, plays host to over a thousand shopping tourists every month. The Middle East, in general, has a strong...
Last month, fashion bloggers, designers, and “it” girls from all over the world graced the front row of the 6th annual Fashion Fighting Famine fashion show, held on March 31st...
If you’ve been to your local H M store recently, you would have noticed the promotions for EDUN (http://www.edun.com) founded by Bono and his wife Ali Hewson to sustain long-term...
Ben Affleck's 2012 political thriller "Argo," about the 1979-1981 Iran hostage crisis, reached the streets of Tehran, Iran via the black market soon after its theatrical release in the US....
Though most Americans have distanced themselves from any association with the Iraq War, March 19, 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of the United States-led invasion. Perhaps the occasion provides the...
- Written by Eman Jueid
- Category: Featured Partner: elan Magazine
In a high speed world, where time is limited and media runs the show, these “symbols” have become the easy and efficient way to relay entire ideologies. Although symbolism and imagery are not a new concept, they were never as carelessly and irresponsibly thrown around as they are now. Technology has allowed for the spread of information about people, things and places in a whole new way, both beneficial and dangerous. On one hand information is now as accessible as air, and moves just as fast; isolation can no longer be an excuse for ignorance, unless it is self-imposed. However, knowing doesn’t guarantee understanding, and this is where things often go wrong.
The world is now an interlinked, global society, where everyone can see everyone else, but doesn’t necessarily perceive everyone else. Assumptions are made about people based on images associated with them. People are often judged based not on their story, but on the cover and title of their book. These are the factors that have given rise to a new kind of “stereotyping”; one that doesn’t arise from not knowing, but from not understanding.
It is from within this atmosphere that two disturbing cases of “possible” racial profiling and hate crime have arisen in the past two months in the United States, fueling worldwide debate and condemnation. In Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012, seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed student was shot and killed near his home by a neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has yet to be charged with any crime. On March 21, 2012, in El Cajon California, thirty-two- year-old Shaima Alawadi, an Iraqi Immigrant, was beaten to death by an unknown attacker who left a note by her body accusing her of being a terrorist and telling her to “go back to her country.” These two cases, different in their specifics, are essentially based on the same dynamic; two individuals who were treated differently (in very drastic ways) based on the stereotypes associated with them.
Trayvon Martin’s case has dominated the national spotlight; bringing into question why and how Zimmerman, an individual with a past criminal record, has not been called to task for killing who was essentially, an unarmed child. The case has reiterated the long standing debate over Florida’s weapons possession laws, that make it rather easy for civilians to obtain and carry guns, as well as the state’s “Stand Your Ground” laws, that project leniency towards crimes committed in self-defense. But it’s not only the loopholes in the laws that are to blame for what happened to Trayvon Martin. The recent release of police tapes, as well as investigations done by ABC news confirms that Zimmerman had made racially derogatory remarks about Martin prior to his killing. The Standford police department has also come under fire after its history of mishandling cases related to minorities (specifically African Americans) has been unearthed as a result of this case. The plight of Martin’s family, now calling on authorities for justice has been taken up by citizens all across the nation, with a petition demanding Zimmerman’s arrest making digital history with about 1.5 million signatures, which were at one point coming in at 10,000 an hour. Geraldo Rivera, a fox news contributor, implied that the hoodie Martin was wearing the evening of the shooting is to blame for his death, inadvertently providing the muse for the “million hoodie march” participated in by thousands across the United States. President Obama, made a very powerful and symbolic statement when he said “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.”
Shaima Alawadi’s case, although just as gruesome, has garnered somewhat less public outrage, however interestingly enough it has received more ready support from government officials and law enforcement authorities. James Redmen, El Cajon police chief said, “Based on the contents of the note, we are not ruling out the possibility that this may be a hate crime. It was threatening in nature.” Alawadi was a visible minority in that she wore the Muslim head covering known as “Hijaab.” However Redman also emphasized that hate crime is just one possible aspect that is to be examined. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and the friends,” Nuland said. “U.S. law enforcement authorities are investigating all aspects of this horrific crime and taking all possible steps to bring the perpetrators to justice.” The FBI has also offered it’s assistance in solving this case.
Both Martin and Alawadi’s cause have begun to amalgamate together under the banner “Hoodies and Hijaabs,” where rallies have been set up nation-wide under this title. The two very different head coverings are similar in that they often dominate the image of the one wearing them. Each has been associated with negative characteristics, blanketing the individuality of the wearer. Each is part of a larger assumed picture, a stereotype collage in which color, dress, race, nationality is overlapped and mixed with crime, terrorism, danger and delinquent. But what is truly amazing about these two cases is the reverse psychology that they have created. People have responded to these crimes not with more hate, and not by giving up the things that represent them, but by changing their image. The very objects that were used to perpetuate stereotypes against Martin and Alawadi are now being used to fight for justice in their names, making Hoodies and Hijaabs symbols of justice and equality. This is a strong step in the right direction, as it drives home the point that the images that fuel stereotypes are just that: images only. They are the bi-product of perspectives and perspectives are based on knowledge. It’s just a matter of understanding what you know.By Summer Yasmin, Elan Magazine
This content is provided courtesy of Elan Magazine
*Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue
AUDIO: Will Scandals Stall Obama's Agenda?
Support our Mission with a Financial Donation Today
Donate below! Why Support Us? Click Here
Join our Book Club!
Newsletter: Stay Connected