Thank you for writing, being born in Pakistan to parents who were educated abroad puts me in a demographic where I already had exposure to a different culture and upbringing; unfortunately most people don’t and that stems into ignorance.
I grew in being told I was a “Coconut”, in my hometown that means I’m brown on the outside and white on the inside; it’s considered an insult and as such people within my culture would not look to me as one of “them”.
When Muslim Radicalism started to obliterate cultures in the western society, I started suffering from racial guilt; feeling extremely disappointed that people that resembled my colour of skin were committing such atrocities.
I was raised and still am, muslim, and have been called a “muslim rat” when I’ve travelled; but that’s a very small majority and I found that I could develop a thicker skin and learn to empathise — it would allow me to understand “Why” that individual is reacting the way that they do and where there anger stems from.
I admit I go out of my way to convince people “hey we’re not all that bad”, but it gets difficult when I observe hypocrisy within my culture.
As Muslims, I know people within my culture who drink and commit adultery; even though it’s prohibited in the religious teachings yet they’re the first to cry “racism” and go on to ridicule western individuals.
In certain parts of the Middle-East I observed first hand how white people are discriminated against. People often say horrendous words and go on to claim “You can’t be racist against White People” — which in my opinion leads to more division and hatred.
There is a majority that wants to uphold an image of themselves, and they tend to be the most ignorant; because those sort of people look to groups for their identity. I for one, didn’t have a group — because at home I was someone who didn’t fit in and in travel I would hang out with whoever was kind enough.
I ended up with the simpler things that brought me to an understanding of assimilation, such as a common interest in music and movies — understanding different religions, even Atheism and why they hold the beliefs that they do.
In the end, as I grow older — I’ve realised I can’t be dismissive or judge another for how they live their life as long as it doesn’t bother anybody else and doesn’t infringe on someone else’s rights.
I do realise, we as muslims tend to get sentimental when our religion is ridiculed in the society; such as the violent act as Charlie Hebdo which just led to more divide. I for one, believe that “You rights end where my nose begins”; which is to say that I support free speech and believe that people should be allowed to express themselves — but also do realise that provocation exists and some might go too far to test the limits of people.
If the people haven’t had the right exposure to another culture, they’ll act out in extreme methods in regards to their beliefs and cultural identity.
As such, though I might be a minority who still holds still view — I think right now, it seems as though it’s no longer “brown guilt” but rather “white guilt” which seems to be predominant in society; the fact that westerners are being labelled under a blanket of a very tainted view even though it isn’t so and one shouldn’t have to feel guilty for the colour of their skin.
I’d say Travel and Cultural exposure definitely helped define the basis of why I hold the views that I do today.
I hope that was helpful. :)
Thank you for writing and Merry Christmas!