Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ignorance is not always bliss

Something occurred today at work (well a couple of somethings) that I was unsure if I would bother blogging about, but then I happened to stop by Shaz's blog and after reading this post about offensive behavior and which happened to link to IMuslim's very informative post pertaining to the Rachel Ray/ Dunkin Donuts story , I decided that I would write this post. I mentioned a while back about a new fan to my blog, that I have influenced to possibly start her own blog. Well that fan happens to be a really cool lady I work with. She was helping me finish up some work in my department when one of our "favorite customers" came in as usual she proceeded to provide us with more information than was necessary as to why she was there. Now don't get me wrong I don't mind having a brief conversation with customers about themselves, but I am not a particular fan of this woman due to the fact that she is somewhat of a no-it-all who does not exercise any form of restraint in her opinions no matter how stereotypical, bigoted, or offensive they may be. Usually this type of person would receive a dose of my opinion right back at them, but she talks in a manner in which she seems to be oblivious to the fact that she is offending anyone. I usually politely say my piece and continue working, but now I see her and I try to avoid her if possible. Today I did not have that option. So after informing us why she was in there, she was about to walk away when she said I was at the social security building the other day and I saw a lady in a full burqa and I thought, "I don't understand why she does it, I know she is hot." Now being that I have dealt with this lady many times before I knew her comment was not out of concern, but one "of your different and you need to be like me" attitude. So I politely but firmly explained to her that that is not necessarily true, because depending on the type of cloth used, it can be cooler than having your skin exposed directly to the sun. I also stated that you have to walk in someone else shoes before you can make certain judgements. My co-worker, who is not Muslim shook her head in agreement. The customer disagreed (of course) and said that she likes to have as little clothes on as possible when she is hot. When she left my co-worker said, "I see what you go through, you handled it well though because that could not have been me."Some people cannot understand how this comment about being hot is offensive to me, that's because they have never walked in my footsteps. They have not been given stares and oddball questions like, "how do you guys have babies?" and "Do you guys get menstrual cycles?" I have heard some of the most stupidest things! When I was younger I did not worry about dressing in a certain manner as not to attract too much public attention to certain parts of my body, it was not until I came of age and started developing that I chose to adhere to my "religious" guidelines and cover those areas when out in public. So I understand how it feels to have the sun beating down on you skin directly and also what it feels like to have the sun beating down on your skin through cloth. I have walked in the path of both perspectives. The reason why I take it offensively is because I have dealt with public ridicule at many times in my life; how many times have I heard someone yell from a moving car, "take all that Sh*t off!" Or been asked really sarcastically, "aren't you hot with all that stuff on?!" This type of behavior because I choose to cover my hair and legs and arms in public. I could have on a normal pair of pants and a top, but I am considered to be soo weird by some lol. Come on it's 97 degrees outside everyone is feeling hot not just me! People just like to have someone to pick on to make themselves feel better about their not-so-perfect-lives. Which brings me to my second thing that occurred that same day....One of my coworkers was discussing the presidential elections and the candidates with me and another coworker, and she commented how if Barrack Obama was to take office people should not expect everything to be perfect. She stated that since 9''11 we were at serious risk because we are at war with people who do not like us and are jealous of us etc. So we have to continue the war anyway because we are not safe. Well there are 2 issues that are touchy subjects especially at work. One is religion and the other is politics. These issues are not the best thing to debate about at work because people get very firm and emotional about their viewpoint, and at work it is about the team effort of getting the job done for the good of the company as a whole, and when some people disagree they take it to another level of hatred and dislike. That is why you have to be careful who you discuss these two topics with at work. If you know that the person can handle a conversation/debate with dignity and respect to agree to disagree without sacrificing the work relationship thereafter, then by all means engage in a educated discussion. However if this person is going to get emotional and personal about it and afterwards have animosity towards you and therefore compromises the work environment, then they are probably not the type of person you would want to hold that topic of discussion with. Anyway back to my present story, after stating her opinion, and turning to me for agreement, I decided to give my coworker my opinion, no matter how unpatriotic she may have seen it. I strongly disagree with people who think that as Americans we can do no wrong and are always completely and infallibly correct in our actions. I think that people who just spew out what the media feeds them and tells them is true are seriously doing themselves an injustice. Likewise anyone who claims to follow the American dream and ideals are actually being unpatriotic when they say this. You are suppose to have the right to think how you want to think and not be persecuted or treated with injustice if you think otherwise. But more often now people who do not agree with what the government is doing are given a hard time or are often taunted and labeled traitors by the so-called "Patriots." I think we have a responsibility to treat people how we want to be treated and that some of the tension we have with other nations has in some part to do with our actions as well. I know because I have suffered discrimination at the hands of some of my own countrymen over the years as well. I also believe that anyone who thinks that our government is completely perfect and innocent is delusional. I think that our government as well as governments abroad are in need of reform and are very corrupt. Power and greed for wealth are serious issues that are often abused even by some well-meaning individuals. So open your eyes and your ears and see things from all viewpoints before determining what you believe. Don't just take your daily dosage of the truth from others.

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