Posted in Stigma Talks

xenophobia or racism?

Sometimes the world disappoints me to no end
and I think that`s why I don’t watch the news…much;
I don`t read newspapers, don`t listen to radio news,
but I do check news feeds on social media,
check on Twitter now and then
and there is always a friend
or colleague at work
who will share the news especially
when it is bad news, “Oh, did you hear?”
My colleagues all know I am oblivious
to local news as well.
But when I drive I tend to listen
to the news on the radio now and then.
And I did catch a few news feeds recently
and that is what I am sharing today.

It’s old news for some…several days but hey,
some may not know and it’s an issue that irks
me a lot so I’m sharing this here.

The issue is regarding human rights and racism.
The good news is that in Quebec, Liberal leader,Philippe Couillard,
says Quebec Values Charter
will become law over his dead body.
That’s good, I guess, but the fact
he has to even do that makes me sick
that our elected government, paid by our hard
earned money are even acting like this.

Facebook has a photo circulating
of a woman wearing her Hijab;
it is in response to an incident
that occurred in Sweden
an attack on a pregnant women
wearing her Hijab.
Many Swedish woman and some men banned together
in solidarity by wearing scarfs and hijabs
and posted their photos wearing this on Facebook.
Well good on the women and many men in Sweden for taking a stand!

I realize  that there are several
European countries that also ban the right
to wear any religious head gear. Well, Quebec is not
Europe and the rest of Canada accepts this, so I hope
this charter is NOT accepted. What does it matter if
Muslim women wear this? How is this offensive?
In on breath they are arguing we are not supposed
to show any religious allegiance in public government
positions but in another breath they are “judging” these women
by saying they are oppressed and we don’t like this.
There are plenty of oppressed women who are not
of any particular faith, driving Mercedes or BMW’s or
taking the bus with a black eye…oppression has no
discrimination. It is not limited to one particular
culture. And to stigmatize each Muslim woman as oppressed
is wrong and even worse when you are using this as an excuse
to spread your intolerance of ANY culture and ANY race and religion.

On Saturday, September 14th, people from multiple faiths
marched in Montreal to protest Quebec’s proposed charter of values.
One student says the law, is ‘oppressive.’
I tend to agree. And it irks me when I hear about how women
are denigrating any women wearing a Hijab.
I ask you, who is oppressing whom now?

I heard on a French speaking Talk show tonight, on Montreal Quebecois channel
the host kept saying, “But the Hijab is a sign of oppression
and it is forced upon these women by the “men” in their lives.”
He was ranting away as if he knew this as fact because somehow he
had heard “these men” force “these women”.

I do beg to differ. Yes, I know that there may be many who
may be forced but just as there are many who choose
to wear the Hijab. Why can’t we respect this?

A former colleague in Toronto explained to me that
at 15 she decided she wanted to cover her head/hair.
Her father had not imposed this on her; her sisters
had not opted for this…it was simply her choice.
I find people including women here who are rude, who
spit and make mean slurs to Muslim women
are actually the ones oppressing these women!

Why all these attacks on women and their Hijabs?
Are people such cowards that they attack only women?
There are plenty of men of various faiths who also cover
their heads but I seem to hear and see people sneer at
women. Again, who is oppressing whom?

There is an article that made me livid,
upset and sickened me. It was after
the Miss America Pageant.
Miss New York, Nina Davuluri
was announced as the winner
and within minutes tweets
started going rampant with racist slurs…
that Miss New York who is of Indian descent,
was not American. Some tweets referred her as
a terrorist! Hello!!! She IS an American!  Wake up America!
So those who act so bigoted on Twitter
and tweeted such slurs cowardly
might I refer to them as “twits”?

In late August, a man insulted and taunted
a Muslim woman on a bus who was wearing a hijab.
His remarks were rude and racist. . He was mocking
her and telling her she should go back home, and
that soon she will have to remove her “tuque” referring to her Hijab.
Hearing his comments, it seems they may have stemmed from
the talk of Premier Pauline Marois’ Charter
banning any religious symbols for certain government
appointed jobs such as nurses and daycare workers.

And lastly, a  Muslim woman spit on and insulted as well as assaulted in Quebec City.

The provincial minister, Jean-Francois Lisée, tasked with reaching out to the English community  says he knew the Charter of Values would create a firestorm of controversy. Read and watch more: Minister calls for calm charter debate while bigots berate Hijab-wearing women.

This does not make me very proud of people in Quebec and to the world, we look like any other racist, bigoted, intolerant people. That is not a message I like to portray to the world, do you?  I have had arguments with friends on this topic.  Some have expressed their opinions again, insisting that we, women have fought for years for our rights and equality but they do not understand that wearing the Hijab is a religious gesture.  My question is, why are you not asking more about what this Hijab represents to women? Why are you giving the lame excuse that you are defending the rights of women when you oppress and attack these women?

Debates with our current government?  Yeah, right!  François Lisée already announced in that CTV clip that he feels the Charter of Values is a good idea just as he felt the language law Bill 101 was controversial at the time in 1977 but it was a change much needed.  Well, I don`t see why he is mixing language laws with human rights but hey, what do I know? And if he is already saying it “is a good idea and for the betterment of Quebec history” why the debate?  A farce to pretend this government is listening…yeah, right…

Enough said…I’m going to bed.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, Stigma Hurts Everyone, September 18, 2013



A little bit about moi: I am a mom, a nana, a sister, a woman, a friend, a human being…a youth counsellor, Family Life Educator. I have been working in the helping profession for over 25 years and volunteered in various capacities from youths to seniors. Tournesol is my nom de plume for haiku and other Japanese form poetry here at Tournesoldansunjardin I hope you enjoy reading through my daily waka. I also have another blog "Stop the Stigma" where I may stand on my soapbox now and then and hope it will become a place to drop in and share or comment on issues important to you. In that vein this could be a great way to learn from each other. Namaste!

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