20 November 2010

"No Pets, No Blacks....No Beards"

When I began blogging in 2008, never did I ever imagine my posts would graduate from poems and short stories - and the occasional attempts at sounding funny - and become, what you'd call....'politically sensitive'.

Therefore, though I do feel a tinge of anxiousness about the post I'm writing, it's inspired from a few incidents that occured in the past few months.

To fill in on the details, I'll begin by letting you know that I'm the kind of guy for whom a Gillette product is a necessity, not just mere luxury. Be lazy for three weeks, and voila, I have a grizzly beard. As long as I remained in Qatar, it was just that - a grizzly, shabby looking beard.

Stepped outside, and the story changed.

In my college in Chennai, friends poke fun at me, by calling me a terrorist. Harmless fun, I assure you. But like they say, black humour often provides more truths than laughs.

Once at a party, my dad swooped down to pick up a innocent little boy of about 4. He's great with kids, and everything would've gone on smoothly, except for the fact that the boy spent most of his life in the United States. Upon seeing my dad's beard, he turned around and called out to his mother:

"Mommy, look, he's a terrorist!"

I was shocked for a moment. My dad wasnt. He merely grinned and shrugged it off. But it got me thinking. Do we, knowingly or unknowingly, associate bearded people with terrorists? Why?

The answer seems obvious enough, you'd say. All the images on T.V. show you a beared man brandishing an AK-47 and spitting out words in Arabic. Based on what my friend calls the random sampling method, you could reach that conclusion.

Which is why every time I hear people talk about bearded men and terrorism, I feel a pang of anger, shame and embarrassment. I dont point the finger at anyone, but the resentment is present sometimes.

It's funny how we as society associate people with certain images. In one particular society, it was believed that people with hooked noses were veil, impure, undeserving of any sympathy or love. How do you think the Holocaust began?

I once saw a poster in my social science textbook that showed a board on a restaurant window. "No Pets, No Blacks, No Irish". I found that funny back then.

Now it's "No Pets, No Blacks...No Beards".

And I'm not laughing anymore.

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. it is so damn true...i mean why do ppl just think this way...it makes me angry too...

  3. nice approach buddy. so right. u have said the right thing. People blame the whole group just bcoz of some stupid people in the group. hope this inequality and pre-judgment ends.

  4. Grade 10 Politics Textbook.

    As usual, you notice things that others never even look at twice. When I had seen that comic/caricature/cartoon, even I thought about hidden meanings behind it. But the thought in this post never occurred to me. Nice work!

    By the way, I'm not sure, but I think something's wrong with your blog's design. The post titles no longer appear as links. Get that checked.

  5. P.S. Okay, about the blog design, its fine :D
    I now see its a general new feature.

  6. Currently I am a terrorist too :D

  7. TRuee..very true..i double like the post

  8. shockingly true... but then again, it's society!

  9. That's sad.. I didn't know it was this bad down south..

    However, the most damaging thing one can do is to keep quiet about such incidences... Moderate/Liberal/Modernist Muslims must speak up and help to do away with social prejudices...

    And, my friend, you have the gift of the pen! It is definitely, definitely stronger than a sword anyday :)

    Help to spread the word and reduce the animosity that exists within our society

  10. i have a beard too...bt nobody says all dat here...though i cut it for exams...bt yea nyc thot....

  11. dude nyc one!!!....