Tuesday, October 17, 2006

postheadericon A day in someone else's shoes, ok, veil...

The Guardian (UK) has an article this morning about an English (Muslim) journalist who wore the hijab (veil) for a day. "...she was shocked by how it made her feel - and how strongly strangers reacted to it"...

Although the article was more about her reactions to seeing herself in the veil and less about the people she encountered, I couldn't help but be fascinated by her attempt to understand what it actually feels like to be a veiled woman.

This reminds me of the time Oprah had two white man volunteer, with prosthetics, make-up and the whole shebang, to pose as black men.. it is only when they spent time in a black man's skin did they understand the daily problems and prejudices they faced. I remember so distinctly one of them telling Oprah how he could never get a cab, because no one would stop for him, not even a fellow African-American driver. I guess there are always a few life lessons to be learned when we spend time in someone else's skin. I think it makes us less quick to judge people and less fearful of people we perceive as being different from us...


Read more from the Guardian here

5 comments:

Amy said...

It's amazing how much you don't realize the amount of racism is still in the world when you look like everyone else. I'm half white, half black...quite pale, but my sister is pretty dark. One day she got her hair braided in corn rows and went to the supermarket - she reackons that people were looking twice at her and in a disapproving way! I don't know how accurate she was, but I find it really amazing how life can be so incredibly different just because of the clothes you wear or the colour of your skin! I don't htink people will ever stop being scared of what's different!

Great entry again! I really love your blog, it makes me think!!
As for your question on my blog, I don' tknow how long i've loved India. I just love the culture and how it's still so engrained in your daily life!! It's awesome!
-Amy

Lotus Reads said...

hi, Amy!

Your sister was probably right. I'm pretty pale for an Indian myself, but when I hit the stores dressed in my national costume, I find people less willing to engage me in conversation than otherwise. I don't think it's a deliberate snub, I honestly think people have a really hard time with people who are not quite like them.

The basis is scientific I'm sure. Recently, there was a study which concluded, "A stimulus becomes attractive if it falls into the average of what you've seen and is therefore simple for your brain to process,"

Guess that's it -anything new or strange is hard on our brains! ;)

David D Jerald said...

I find this story very interesting lotus. It reminds me of a book I read a long time ago called "Black Like Me" I can't remember the author but this white man took some sort of pills that changed the pigment of his white skin to black. His story of how he was treated was horrible. He was a reporter I believe.
I have seen women here in Tucson wearing the hijab and have found them very beautiful with just there eyes showing. You have no where to look but straight into there eyes. I find that highly intoxicating and exotic.
Dave

Lotus Reads said...

Hello and thank you for visiting me here Dave! You're right, the veil does lend an aura of mystery to the wearer. I have spoken with a couple of women (I lived in Dubai for nearly 10 years) who wear the hijab and they seem to appreciate the anonymity it gives them.

Lotus Reads said...

p.s. Dave, I would like to read "Black Like Me", thanks for reminding me of the title!