Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Seasons Greetings

Are you ever in one of those situations where you're the outsider and you want to be part of the group but you're definitely not part of the group so you still want to support the group and you're trying to find ways to be supportive?  Obviously that was super vague so let's have story time.

I was at the gym before class started and talking to the coaches.  We have a new member who doesn't speak English but they come with someone else who translates for them, but the coaches want this individual to be able to come to any class without the assistance of a translator, so they reached out to ask for some common phrases in the language this individual speaks so they can attempt to communicate with this person, even if it's mispronouncing the words and pointing to a piece of paper with the actual word written on it.  

Did I mention my gym is awesome?
It is.
They are also injury supportive, which is hella convenient for me, as you'd expect.

So anyways, there was a discussion about when Ramadan was ending and I don't bring my phone into the gym so I couldn't Google it during the discussion.  Then there was the question, "What do you say to someone who celebrates Ramadan?  Like Happy Ramadan but obviously not that."  I couldn't remember, but I knew Eid Mubarak and Eid Al-Something and I suggested she google that as well.  She found it, there's one for when Ramadan begins and one when Ramadan ends, and then said, "But is it appropriate to wish someone a "Happy Ramadan" if you're not Muslim?"  

I didn't even think twice about my answer.
Why wouldn't it be?

My answer was so immediate and it wasn't until later that I had some self-reflection where I questioned why I wasn't better about this.  It's no different than a Jewish or Islamic follower wishing a Christian/white person (because we all know Christmas isn't just for Christians) Merry Christmas since so many people celebrate Christmas compared to Hanukkah or Ramadan or any other non-Christian religious celebrations there are.  I've seen several friends on FB who are NOT Jewish or Islamic post things celebrating holidays they themselves do NOT celebrate, but they obviously know people that do.  I've always found it heartwarming to know that I have friends who are supporters of other cultures and religions, but this situation made me question why I wasn't more vocal about supporting these celebrations.

Now let me clarify, I specifically mean, supporting these celebrations IN AMERICA, where the white people are.  I struggle mightily with the fact that America was founded in search of religious freedom and yet.. so many people do NOT support religious freedom of others, WHEN IT IS DIFFERENT FROM THEIR OWN.

I am not talking about how zealots become terrorists and blow up religious sanctuaries in the Middle East.  I am talking about when zealots become terrorist and blow up religious sanctuaries IN AMERICA.  I'm talking about how much intolerance Americans practice towards people of other cultures who celebrate different than they do.  How their religious celebrations aren't as sacred as our own.

I mean, fuck yall, Ramadan is A MONTH of fasting during the time that the sun up as a way of honoring God.  I know Catholics have Lent where some people give something up or perform an act as a way of honoring God, but are they fasting ALL.DAY.LONG for A MONTH?  Absolutely not.  Ramadan is a hard time for those that practice and those people SHOULD be celebrated.  If it's as small as saying, "Eid Mubarak!" to someone, why is it so difficult?

Is it because it shows that we appreciate someone else's culture? 
Is it because we think accepting someone else's culture is an erosion of our OWN culture? 
Why is it so hard for us to celebrate others?
And that doesn't just apply to their religious celebrations, but also their accomplishments and struggles...
Why is it so hard for ME to celebrate others?
In what ways am I intolerant of others and how can I fix that?
How can I BE BETTER?

As always...
How can I be better?

For the record, there are NO reasons for me to wear my abaya and that makes me SUPER sad.

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