No, Mr. Trump, You Are Wrong ! You are so Wrong!

Monolithic is defined as constituting one undifferentiated whole; exhibiting uniformity. I wonder where we get the idea that peoples, nations, notions and ideas could ever be monolithic. Afterall, we may all be American but don’t we have different views, different tastes, different likes and dislikes? Mosques in China have dragons painted on their outside walls, so as to blend in with the surrounding architecture. Worshippers in India’s mosques, on the other hand, would have a heart attack if there were dragons painted anywhere on their mosques. Muslim brides in the Middle East wear white and it’s probably an influence of their European neighbors. Muslim brides in India wear red as do their Hindu friends who are in the majority there. Just as religion is like flowing water and takes on the color of what lies beneath it, as Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah said, everything is influenced, and even altered, in some measure by the environment in to which its introduced. A notion like capitalism is no different. There is a Chinese version, a Latin American version, a Russian version. Given all this proof, I wonder why when we think of people and nations, or ideas, we stubbornly cling to the idea of monolithic groups? Why do we tend to make sweeping generalizations of groups of people? Does it even make sense? So, Mr. Trump, you are wrong. You are just plain wrong when you characterize Muslims as “Islam hates us”. Firstly, Islam is a religion. It is not a person that can hate you. But there are people who, like Trump, believe his Trumpisms, lock, stock and barrel.

Having lived in India, I know only too well, the way Muslim-Hindu riots are engineered come election time. It is easy to win votes and propel oneself in to power by playing on insecurities and finding scape-goats for all the ills that afflict your voters ( both real and imagined ones).

The Myth of Global Ethnic Conflict by John R. Bowen should be required reading for all and sundry. A quick, easy read, this article lays bare the myth of Global Conflict. Bowen uses the examples of Rwanda, Indonesia, and Crotia/ Bosnia/ Serbia to illustrate just how politicians were the puppeteers behind these mass killings. However, what is really frightening is how easily we, the common man, can be whipped into a violent frenzy. One theory attributes this willingness to commit heinous acts as a group, when one would never do it as an individual, to herd mentality. Another theory says “violence lets the adrenaline flow; it’s like sex, you live in the moment.”

Just how do stereotypes maintain such a strong hold, despite all the evidence? In the Balkans, the tools that were used to do seed animosity were seemingly benign. They included “corporate media networks fostering hysterical public fear, nationalism, and consent for pre-emptive violence”. Hmm…gives one pause and reason to evaluate all that’s on our airwaves, doesn’t it?

So again, just how do stereotypes maintain such a strong hold, despite all the evidence? It’s because some folk stand to gain by sowing the seeds of hate and distrust. It’s because some folk prefer to be intellectually lethargic. And is that the kind of person we want running this country? Someone whose characterizations of a whole people are so misguided and infantile? ( Mr. Trump, if that’s what you want to see, do go ahead and do just that. Just don’t take the rest of this country down the drain with you.)

Mr. Trump can continue to view the world as he wishes. For the rest, if there is any interest in the truth, beyond the sound-bites and the ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ headlines that are skewed to ace the ratings game, there are sources and resources galore. In this Presidential election, please don’t settle for Trumpisms. Wouldn’t you agree there is just too much at stake?

Continue the conversation on Twitter. Get to know a Muslim at www.naazishyarkhan.blogspot.com

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