cross-posted to jack and jill politics
This beautiful three minute film juxtaposes the blanket anti-Muslim hate gripping much of America with the reality that Muslim Americans are just that, Americans. It's part of the My Fellow Americans project which "calls upon concerned Americans to pledge and spread a message that Muslims are our fellow Americans. It asks people of other backgrounds to pledge, and share a real life story about a Muslim friend, neighbor, or colleague that they admire. Using the power of social media, My Fellow American seeks to change the narrative – from Muslims as the other, to Muslims as our fellow Americans."
If "Muslims are the new black" then we, as the original blacks, fully understand the position many of our fellow Americans are being put in. We have and continue to suffer the slings and arrows of exclusion, otherness and doubts about our status as full members of this nation. The idea that our black president is a Muslim conveniently combines two forms of ignorance into one low-priced fear. So let's lend our credible voices to this worthy cause.
It's not enough to avoid doing harm. We should actively do good, and this seems to me to be a very good thing. This week, I'm finishing the manuscript for my forthcoming book, How To Be Black. In the process I interviewed several people, including comedian W. Kamau Bell. He had a perfect, modest proposal relevant to this post which I have to share:
I think that all people who are fighting for oppressed people should only be allowed to work for the group that's one over from them. Black people should only be allowed to work for the Mexican immigrants' struggle in America. Mexican immigrants should only be allowed to work for gay marriage. Gay marriage should only be allowed to work for black people, etc. I feel like if we all just stepped one group over, I think we would get things done a lot quicker.
So step one group over, and take the pledge:
Muslims are our fellow Americans. They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
And spread the word.