Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Self-Restraint. Sort of

While the Matron claims perfection in several areas, successful screen shots is not of them. Still. If you simultaneously squint, pray and find your reading glasses, it's possible to discern that the title of this article is: "Pennsylvanian Judge: Muslims Allowed to Attack People for Insulting Mohammed, The Mediocre Carpenter Turned Prophet."

Shall we pause here, just to enjoy the moment? Any headline referring to one of the world's most important religious figures as "mediocre carpenter turned prophet" certainly signals an article REPLETE with material intended to incite and anger. Goodie!

Wait -- Mohammed was the middling carpenter? She thought that guy was Jesus. Really, she must get up to speed with historical knowledge, all sorts.

Lest there be any doubt about the slant of this site, Newsnet: World News for Europeans World Wide (aside from that actual title -- if you are Asian, African, Native-American, Hispanic or pretty much not white this news is NOT for you-and are Americans Europeans by this definition? Cloaked racial categories are SO confusing), please refer to the blue check (helpfully supplied by the Matron) next to the link to Aryan clothing. Just to triple check -- just in case the Matron was missing something about the veracity of this site -- she googled the judge in question and read in The Washington Post that the judge, here presented as a Sharia-crazed Muslim, is a Christian.

The details of the story -- about a judge dismissing an assault case against a ("fellow") Muslim -- aren't really relevant to the nature of the Matronly musings.

No, the Matron's focus is the person who sent the link as hard-core evidence: the Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming! America Under Siege! Now, who in the world would send the ultra-left wing hippy-dippy professor of Feminist Studies Matron to a web site fueled by the power of Aryan wear?

Her mother.

Who no doubt is not alone in her anxiety over the impending Islamic Invasion. Sort of how the Native Americans must have felt when they saw those ships come sailing in.

But the point . . . the point. . . . where does one take a stand for truth? IN the classroom? Yes! With your 71 year old mother?

This reminds the Matron an infamous, large-extended-family Thanksgiving dinner at her mother-in-law's house. The day and its far-flung moral dilemmas are too much to recap with justice. Suffice it to say that after a looooooong afternoon linking that dubious group "Not White" to everything from traffic congestion ("you know how THEY drive") to every war (popular landing point) to the shaking economy to poorly manicured lawns, one of the relatives wondered out loud why a certain non-white group resembled a certain species of animals.

Only he specified the racial group and the animals they purportedly resembled. Over coffee at the dinner table.

At this point, the Matron -- exhausted from her day-long sprints of righteousness -- simply stood up and announced her family's departure. She actually said this:

"We have an Axis of Evil Dessert party to attend with our Jewish, Iranian and Syrian friends."

Of course, she KNOWS that the Jews, for complicated political reasons, aren't in Bush's axis, but she just thought it sounded WAY more ominous to include Jews since that group had been blamed for the 911 terrorist attacks and poor eyesight (don't even ask) while the turkey was being served.

In the face of ignorance -- not disagreement, but basic lack of foundational facts -- the Matron often pulls out roadblocks like these:

"If you can tell me what continent Iraq is in OR what kind of government they have, then yes, let's talk about how that war went"

"That's interesting! How do you know that? I mean, exactly where did you read that Asians are innately gifted in math? I'd love to see that article -- or was it in a class?"


Poor Matron. She cannot simply bear witness. She battles.

So her mother received an email with links to other sources and a muted query about the Aryan wear: "Mom, you must not have noticed."

Let's give yours truly credit instead for what she DOESN'T do. She did not ask her mother what size White Power t-shirt she wears. She'll save that one for Christmas dinner.


Eric Smith said...

I sympathize. I hear similar comments in my extended family from time to time. It is not at all easy to keep my mouth shut, and sometimes I don't.

ccr in MA said...

Self-restraint is relative, no pun intended, and sometimes over-rated. And I absolutely adore "We have an Axis of Evil Dessert party to attend with our Jewish, Iranian and Syrian friends."

Karen ~ said...

I am *so* copying your roadblock strategy. I think more of us need to have a little less self-restraint.

Deborah J said...

Our Christmas dinner conversations are often very similar.
My father starts conversations with, "I'm not racist but..." and I wince waiting for the latest affront to open mindedness.

My teen took him on this year when he said that he understood lesbians, but male homosexuality was just wrong. He conceded that what they did in their own homes was their business, but that they shouldn't talk about it.
She said, "Grandad, you are so wrong I don't know where to start. Not only is it not is none of your business. Why should they have to keep it a secret just because you are uncomfortable?"

He did wait till the young woman, who felt comfortable enough to bring along her female partner for the first time, had left.
He's 76 so we make allowances.

Minnesota Matron said...

I love that story, Deborah. I too make allowances for the elders -- that was sort of how this train of thought started. And good for your daughter! Incredible courage.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

The advent of email has been helpful in that now I generally just push delete when I see the subject line, "Forward if you agree."

My mother had many, many shortcomings, but I'm happy to say that she was decidedly non-racist and socially liberal; and an atheist to boot. She drove HER father nuts!

Common Household Mom said...

Just this week my MIL went to a new doctor, and was astonished to find that the doctor was black. And mentioned her astonishment to the receptionist.

Aunt Snow said...

My mother was quite a conservative, but when she moved to a super-conservative town, suddenly her pro-choice stance, and her "I don't give a shit about gay marriage one way or the other" attitude made her into a relative flaming liberal.

Ill health and a life change subdued my mother's political sensibilities for a couple years, but since she's been in an assisted living facility, she's become more socialized and healthy. But she is also reverting back to her conservative ways.

Last weekend during out weekly phone call, she told me of an incident where she antagonized the dining room staff by complaining that they couldn't understand English.

Lest you think this is a typical American complaint about Mexicans - my mother's residential facility employs a lot of Eastern Europeans.

Well, at least she's an equal opportunity crank.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Self restraint. Bless you for having it. I parry politely in these battlefields, asking questions with a mild tone and then getting my own judgmental gleam in my eye as they answer. "Where did you learn that?" "Do you know....?"

Anonymous said...

I can relate to the frustration. My MIL sends me similar emails at least once every other month. Every other month, I research the facts of the email, send her the results that show the error of the email and request that she no longer send me the emails. Then, again, in two months I get a similar email.

Funny thing is that she constantly pretends she is not racist or too conservative, but when faced with a racial situation always chooses the most racist path of decision.