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Zer Netmouse
October 21st, 2010
01:18 pm


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On E. Moon and Wiscon

(15 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:October 22nd, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
she has absorbed the bigotry and generalizations that prevailed in this country 25 years ago toward Muslims

Um. *What* bigotry and generalizations that prevailed in this country 25 years ago towards Muslims? Before 1985 (after 1960), anti-Muslim prejudice correlated with number of Muslim immigrants in your country. Since then, the western world has been beating the war drums, making a new enemy. After Sept 11, 2001, anti-Muslim prejudice shot up, and since then has grown in all eastern & western European countries, unrelated to population figures.

Our culture is changing fast, in ugly directions.

(Would you like some data to back that up? Cf., http://courses.washington.edu/pbafadv/muslim%20predjudice.pdf )
[User Picture]
Date:October 23rd, 2010 04:48 am (UTC)
From your paper (which studies data from 1999 forward in Europe, not the US), analysis of the data indicates (p 12) "For Western Europe, the effects of level-1 predictors are largely in accordance with the usual findings in studies of prejudice in general. The odds of expressing anti-Muslim prejudice [...] increase by around 12% for each additional decade of age." in Eastern Europe the pattern was weaker, but still statistically significant around age.

There is no analysis of the reason for this, so I'm not sure of the prevailing theories, but it seems to support my theory that part of the disparity between Ms Moon's attitudes and those of the rest of the commenters could be linked to her age, and it seems not illogical to posit a connection between that and the historical perception and events of a generation or more ago.

You are aware that when the PLO first formed in the late 1960s, the US was a major target of terrorism as a strong ally to Israel? Muslims were not a large immigrant population here at the time (compared to now), so the predominant generalizations in the news etc were of violent foreigners who wanted to kill us and destroy our country, including the 1985 incident Moon mentioned where the Jewish guy in a wheelchair was murdered and tossed off the boat. You can see that characterization in a number of films also, for instance.

(This is ignoring the domestic trend that was also present of black activists converting to Islam, following after Malcolm X. Not sure how much that was reported at the time.)

Since Europeans were not targeted by Islamic terrorism the way Americans were, I doubt that the generalization of this paper's results to the US is a scientifically valid leap of logic.

The prejudice toward Muslims who are our neighbors is definitely both increasing and ugly right now, and I don't disagree with either of those statements. But as reported by her, Moon's prejudices have much longer roots than just recent events.
[User Picture]
Date:October 23rd, 2010 02:44 pm (UTC)
The paper was illustrative, in case you asked for data.

The information was from lived experience.
Date:November 21st, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)

E. Moon's blog post

I just read the journal/blog post. I found it insightful. I lived through the same history she did and saw truth in her statements.

You will note that she never said the Mosque in New York should not be built. She only said that the planners should have expected criticism and that its existence would be insensitive to the emotional wounds of 9-11. Duh. Of course this is so. But this insensitivity and the emotional upset are also not reasons to deny the right of the planners to build their mosque. She recognizes that fact, too.

Political correctness is another way of social control over the expressions of the populace. In a country of free speech, censors have found a way to still control speech. Take anything you dislike for "moral" reasons and declare it politically incorrect and let the negative public opinion that will result from the crowd of non-free thinking followers create a censorious backlash against someone with an opinion. Voila, America does not need laws to govern speech.

Problem is that anyone who has a different opinion will no longer be heard and society will be ruled by those who bully others into seeing the world their way only. Our government guarantees freedom of speech. Our social ethics limit this freedom. Our willingness to allow a group of vocal bullies to censor our speech in the guise of political correctness and mostly unshared "values" limits this freedom even more.

Of course for a public event, we must remember that often the organizations that pay for the event, the major sponsors, will limit the speech allowed at the event in a very precise manner these days. This censorship tends to go beyond political correctness to actual demands that the speaker shares the philosophical outlook of the paying sponsors that demand such. Event organizers and fund-raisers have this right, too. The public has the right not to attend the event and to speak their opinion of the "values;" or to attend and make objections known there through acceptable means of critical discourse. Hey, speech is free.

One's talent and ability are no longer sufficient for recognition if one's private beliefs are different from the political correct stance. Granted there are limits to how one's belief and speech can be expressed as censored by common social ethics. One should not advocate murder for fun, for example. (I do not understand the appeal of antihero shows on TV and do not prefer to watch them myself.) And drawing the line in a way that allows a democratic, pluralistic society to speak freely will continue to be a public debate, as it should be.

Do remember that we almost all like Alice in Wonderland, even though its author is, I've heard, reputed to be child molester. What do we do in this case? Personally, I do not like the book for this reason and do not want to own a copy. That is my right. Will I insist that my school library not provide this classic tale to the kids? That would be like forbidding kids to read Between Planets because its author wrote Methuselah's Children and The Cat that Walks through Walls, too.

As to the comments Moon made on education, well, the primary role of education is enculturation. Students must become a part of their culture and society. In a multicultural society like ours, enculturation involves teaching the values of the American way, teaching an understanding of how our country and government works, teaching the language and knowledge needed to succeed in this society. Parents, churches and communities teach children the ways of subcultures. Schools teach the ways of the predominant culture. Anything else would splinter this nation into different countries or one country wherein one cultural group bullies another which it sees as inferior.
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