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iamthemob's avatar

Should the minority be responsible for speaking out against prejudice, or should the majority be responsible to listen up?

Asked by iamthemob (17147points) November 26th, 2010

Many people still believe that moderate Muslims should speak out against terrorism. The problem is, they do…and are frustrated when they keep getting told that they’re not doing it.

Other minority groups also are associated with “fringe” groups, even after decades of work – for instance, certain interests attempt to link homosexuality to pedophelia, even though much of the LGBT population thought they were clear of that association.

However, some argue that it is the responsibility of those in the minority to constantly disassociate themselves from fringe groups. Considering the multiple concerns minority groups need to address, is it their responsibility to dispel these myths, or should the responsibility belong to those who hold these ideas to determine if they’re accurate?

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22 Answers

laureth's avatar

Both and neither. It’s everyone’s responsibility to think with their brains and maybe do a little research. It’s a shame people keep putting this off on each other.

jerv's avatar

The majority should listen, but the truth is that they don’t feel they have to since (to their mind) reality is formed by consensus and thus the majority is always right.

janbb's avatar

Anybody who sees an injustice should speak up. It is also an injustice when the actions of some in a group are used to discredit all the members of that group.

MeinTeil's avatar

It’s the responsibility of all people to stop wasting time and delaying progress with so much blather about “minorities” and “predjudice”.

Joybird's avatar

People should speak up and and the majority should listen and suspend denial and a whole host of other protective mechanisms often used to insist on their rightness. But it’s not just an issue of racism and other isms. Take for example people opposed to soldiering who see their situation in part as consequence of their own choices. There is denial in the form of nationalism and hero pedestalizing. Of course it isn’t politically correct to point these dynamics out no matter how much truth there may be to them. People don’t want to know what soldiers and their individual family members say under confidentiality behind closed doors because if they did they would need to take personal responsibility for their personal choices in relationship to this and other issues as well.

Trillian's avatar

“Anybody who sees an injustice should speak up. It is also an injustice when the actions of some in a group are used to discredit all the members of that group.”
I agree. I feel this everytime I see Christian bashing happen on this site because there are some vocal “Christian” lunatics or simply misguided ignorant souls out there who think that they can justify their hateful agenda with the Bible. Apparently some people don’t have that same ability for discernment when it applies to Christians, and would prefer to lump all of them into that category of mindless, evil, ageda driven haters.

MeinTeil's avatar

Who would like to join me in the outcry against the predjudice against Christian “Fundies” and Nationalists demonstrated above?

Remember kids, true “diversity” includes everyone.

Joybird's avatar

Nationlism in times of deep economic recession bordering on depression set the stage for facism to proliferate. Collective Nationalism can be as much an evil as any other ism.

jerv's avatar

@MeinTeil Very true. Of course, there is a difference between disliking a group and seeking to restrict their civil liberties or just killing them outright.

DominicX's avatar


“Diversity” doesn’t mean you have to like everyone, just that you won’t discriminate against them.

Furthermore, it’s always been my belief that the burden is always on the majority. Non-extremist Muslims don’t have to do anything. They’re not associated with terrorists and that’s all there is to it. It’s not their problem if some do associate them with terrorists.

As a homosexual, I have nothing to do with pedophiles. If people can’t see past that, that’s their own problem. I am under no obligation to try and “quash” groups like NAMBLA just because I am homosexual.

iamthemob's avatar

Indeed, @jerv. Of course, @MeinTeil, I personally appreciate your outreach efforts on behalf of diversity, but there’s one significant problem with your stance. Diversity is inclusive…and therefore mandates tolerance for those with opposing viewpoints. The viewpoints you call to rally behind, unfortunately, mandate that one view be privileged to the exclusion of others.

Of course, we’re talking about a very specific subset. As long as your agenda doesn’t push for legislation that restrict a particular group (with the exception of most acts clearly destructive and already illegal), you do you.

MeinTeil's avatar

“Diversity” is an impossible man made concept. Since total diversity can probably never be achieved mankind has better uses for it’s time and effort.

Produce. Fill a tangible need instead as diversity can never be reconciled.

iamthemob's avatar

How black and white. “Diversity,” however, is not a man made construct – it’s a universal imperative.

Diversity promotes productivity when it comes to problem solving efforts, but more importantly prejudices in general prevent us from considering all possible options…focusing us instead on the closed group shaped by the prejudices. Attempts to eliminate prejudices and listen/research just beyond the first source we receive information from are not necessarily about promoting “diversity” so much as to reduce false assumptions.

ETpro's avatar

@laureth Already gave my answer. We are all jointly and severally responsible for keeping ourselves free of bigotry. We are responsible first and foremost for searching our own heart for bigotry, and examining it to the point it disappears. We are responsible for naming it when others focus it on us.

As @jerv notes, there is a growing cabal of people in the US in particular who dwell in the faith-based community instead of the reality based community. They truly believe that if something is widely subscribed to, particularly by those they choose to associate with, then it becomes true. I often wonder if they think the Earth changed shape when a certain percentage of humans realized it was round and not flat; or if they think it shifted places in the solar system when we realized the Sun and not the Earth is the center of our planetary system.

@MeinTeil Digital thought. Everything is wither 1 or 0—total truth or total falsity? Since we can never achieve absolute diversity, we must then strive for zero diversity. What would you recomend to achieve that? History is full of ideas to draw from. Apartheid. The Final Solution…

mattbrowne's avatar

Both, of course.

I don’t think that most people believe that moderate Muslims should speak out more against terrorism. They know that they already do. Conservative Muslims speak out against acts of terror as well. That’s not the issue.

The issue is that moderate Muslims don’t speak out against the idea of political Islam. There’s only one exception: Turkey. There are still about 45% of secular Kemalists and they do organize very large demonstrations from time to time. This does not happen in any of the other 56 nations with a majority Muslim population. Very few Muslims speak out to demand freedom of thought and expression and freedom of religion. Very few Muslims speak out to demand that it is the right of every Muslim to decide whether he or she want to become an atheist, a Christian or a Buddhist or stay a Muslim. Very few Muslims speak out to demand that secular laws rank over religious laws. That it’s the people who create laws for the people. Not God who supposedly created laws for all eternity.

It’s political Islam which strongly influences the

lobbying successfully at the United Nation to reverse the rights granted to homosexuals, which we’ve seen very recently.

iamthemob's avatar

@mattbrowne – wow – you expect moderate Muslims to speak out in non-Western oppressive regimes where they are under threat of death and other harms in order to make our perception of them better?

Consider what’s at risk before you make such an outrageous claim.

mattbrowne's avatar

@iamthemob – I don’t expect them to speak out or form movements in the most oppressive countries such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan or Iran. As we all know, hundreds of thousands did in Iran and were unsuccessful, and brave people like Neda Agha-Soltan were killed. In these countries the risks are too great, and although we might hope for movements to demand freedom, we can’t expect this. We couldn’t have expected this in East Germany either. Few people are true heroes willing to risk their lives.

I’m talking about 20–30 countries out of the 57 where some room for discussion exists, such as Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Indonesia, Malaysia and others. These countries are neither theocracies nor democracies as we understand it. In Egypt recently we saw a small attempt of creating a new movement with the support of El-Baradei as a candidate for the elections, which failed.

Here’s the problem:

The literal divinity and inerrancy of the Quran is a basic dogma of Islam, and although some may doubt it, none challenge it. (Bernard Lewis)

What we probably need is something like this

To be fair, it took Christianity many, many centuries to evolve. And before it did, a lot of harm was done. A good example is the Roman Catholic inquisition.

But Muslims today have the advantage of being able to learn from history. They have satellite tv and Internet. They can learn from mistakes others made. And evolve faster. We should encourage them and support them. But they have to be willing to do this. They have to be in the driver seats.

This is what I was talking about earlier.

iamthemob's avatar

Until they are free from potential violence, though, encouraging them should not come with an expectation that they step up.

The U.S. when I grew up was not a safe place for gays. I was nearly put in the hospital a few times. I didn’t speak up. Many rape survivors don’t report it because of fear of revictimization in the prison system.

Should I or they blamed for not feeling encouraged?

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, I agree with you. They need to be reasonably free from potential violence. But they could use the same tactics as the anti gay discrimination movements. The US is a much safer place for gays today. Why? Because something has happened over the past decades. And I think the same is needed in the Muslim world. Perhaps the anonymity on the Internet can speed things up. Campaigns could be organized. And some room for discussion exists already. How well is this being used?

I’m worried about the overall trend. In Turkey the Kemalists used to be a majority. Today, they are a very large minority. Both their president and prime minister push for more political Islam in Turkey. Erdogan said the following before he came to power:

“The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

What can we do to reverse this trend?

iamthemob's avatar

@mattbrowne – Why don’t you start talking about the best examples of Muslims participating in democracy, in showing the ones that do speak out as examples, instead of harping on the worst of it?

That could be a start. That could work to reverse the trend.

Pointing out the worst examples – what do you think that does? You don’t need to scare people about a Muslim threat. That’s already the case, based on ignorance more than knowledge. Creating the other, on the other hand, promotes damage more than reconciliation.

mattbrowne's avatar

@iamthemob – Yes, here’s a good example:

Look at the comments at the end of the article. That’s what I meant by using the anonymity on the Internet to fight political Islam and the sharia and promote a tolerant non-political Islam. This is a good sign.

The first comment says it all,

“Animals, that’s all these people can be called. The damage they have caused Islam is incomprehensible.”

correctly assuming that some people won’t be able to differentiate and that this can lead to unjustified Islamophobia.

I think Fluther can help Americans and Europeans to get a better picture of the matter.

What I cannot accept, @iamthemob that we hold back stories of the evils that both militant and non-militant Islamism create and will create just to avoid a misunderstanding about Islam. We should give our own people more credit when it comes to understanding the whole picture.

iamthemob's avatar

No one is saying don’t talk about the horrors of human rights abuses. However, human rights abuses are an affront to us all regardless of who does them. And more often, they are among people of similar backgrounds.

When we say “This is the harm that extremist Islam causes” we muddy the waters – people don’t really hear – “These are the Muslim victims of violence.” The Muslim is considered the perpetrator not the victim. We consider the fight against Islam not institutional violence.

We should say “No organization should be entitled to demand _____ of you, if you are to be free.” When we focus on “them,” we forget to and are distracted from looking at what we’re doing, and what’s happened to us.

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