Friday, February 20, 2009

Re: Killing Her Softly

Several readers thought that I was a mite unfair to Muslims in comments I made in Killing Her Softly. The consensus among those readers was that I was portraying an extreme view among Muslims, that it's okay to beat, and even kill one's wife, as though it were a common view among moderate Muslims. It is.

In many Muslim societies, especially among Arab Muslims, wife-beating is considered a husband's prerogative. It's not helpful to pretend that this is not so just because one wishes that it weren't so. Nor does it mean that all Muslims accept or practice it. I'm sure many don't, but the fact is that millions obviously do and among these millions are people, like the man who beheaded his wife, who are considered moderates because they dress like Westerners and don't actively support terrorism.

The status of women in many Muslim societies is not unlike the status of slaves in the antebellum South. Not all slave-owners beat their slaves, but if someone did it wasn't considered extraordinary or extremist, and a man could even kill a slave (if it was his slave) and incur no punishment because the slave was his property to do with as he wished.

Should we withhold our condemnation of this attitude and behavior among slave-owners just because there were some who didn't engage in it? Does the fact that some people, perhaps most people, refused to own slaves mean that slave ownership was not a typical feature of the South? Just so, the mistreatment of women is a typical feature of much of the Islamic world. Indeed, one of the reasons the West is despised in the Arab Muslim world is because women in Western societies are treated as equal to men.

It might be pointed out that there are a billion Muslims in the world. If only 1% of them thinks like this imam that's ten million people:

Read Kaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns for some anecdotal insight into this cultural phenomenon and/or google "honor killings" to get a sense of the dimensions of the problem. If you do google it you'll get about six million hits.


The Chimp and the Stimulus

A story that's bizarre even by New York's high standards is made even moreso by the reaction to a cartoon which appeared in the New York Post.

You're probably familiar with the basic outline of events:

The police were called because a 200 lb. chimpanzee was mauling a woman, and the police wound up shooting the chimp.

Well, a Post cartoonist, Sean Delonis, decided to tie the shooting to the stimulus bill:

I know. It's not funny. I don't see any humor in it, either, but neither do I see the racism that Al Sharpton, the people at MSNBC, and apparently a lot of others, are finding in it.

These folk, hyper-sensitive to any sign that this is still a racist country despite the election of a black man to the nation's highest office, are declaiming that since Obama signed the stimulus bill, and since Obama is black, and since historically African Americans have been cruelly referred to as chimps, that therefore this cartoon was blatantly racist.

They may have had a point if the cartoon were about Obama, but clearly the cartoon was directed at the people who wrote the stimulus bill. Obama didn't write it, indeed there's some doubt that he's even read it. All he did was sign it. It was written by the mostly white staffs of white high-ranking congressional Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and if the economy continues its death spiral "chimp" is among the least offensive things they'll be called.

For people like Sharpton, Chris Matthews and Keith Olberman, however, such facts are irrelevant. They require way too much thought. As far as they're concerned Obama wanted the stimulus bill, the cartoon associates the stimulus bill with a chimp, ergo the cartoonist and his employers are racists.

This is a fine example of exactly what we talked about in yesterday's post (Racial Cowardice) on why people don't want to talk about race. The most innocent remark can be expected to be immediately turned into a causus belli by race-hustlers and assorted grievance-mongers who are looking for a reason to take offense and who lack both common sense and a willingness to extend good will to others.

More than that, though, these people are hypocrites. For eight years President George Bush was compared to a chimp hundreds of times by the left - do a Google search of "Bush chimp" and see how many hits you get - and no one at MSNBC or any of the others who are expressing outrage today ever complained. It's hard to take people seriously when their outrage is so selective and so mindless.