Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Doing it right

As Ali Eteraz reports, Tarek Fateh shows us how to critique a social practice correctly: He identifies specific practices in actual reality, makes his criticism directly, and draws reasonable conclusions about the underlying principle:
I attended an Iranian Canadian event in Toronto where I was, perhaps, the only non-white, non-Iranian among the 1,000 immaculately turned out guests. When I asked friends at the table why there were no black, Chinese or Arabs at the event, I drew blank stares of bewilderment. Unsaid, but easily understood in the silence was the answer “Why would a Chinese Canadian or an Indian Canadian be interested in an Iranian event?” ...

Earlier that week, I had attended a Tamil Canadian event, where, too, the situation was the same. Only Tamil Canadians and white Canadians were invited. No Arabs, no Iranians, no Chinese were among the audience; my presence being the anomaly. When I raised the same issue with my Tamil hosts, they, to their credit, were far more willing to accept the fact that they had overlooked the issue out of neglect. ...

In this era of identity politics, where people are being pushed into religious and racial silos, multiculturalism can very easily provide fertile soil for nurturing our primitiveness, rather than celebrating reason and our common humanity.

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