opinion · rant

Guess what: Tolerance has a blind spot

Disclaimer: I used the word “we” very loosely. I’m aware that not everyone shares my views. Also, I use the word “Westerners” loosely. There are fabulous individuals that not only tolerate, but respect.

Sometimes, I feel we, Arabs, are more tolerant than other outsiders give us credit for. Honestly. We’re exposed to a lot of Western media, we adapt the language easily, and we somehow try to balance, along with our religious beliefs, that neutrality that makes us accepting to a degree of what to expect in the outside world.

But how does that outside world view our religious beliefs? In fact, are they tolerant of it? I’ve seen the argument tossed around for so long, that I’ve had enough of being stereotyped as a part of the “small minded” community.

We’re always prone to generalization. And it bugs me. It bugs me so much that Western visitors come and criticize how we live, how different we are. It bugs me that they choose to see what they want to see, while we’re the ones who must look at all sides of the spectrum and be considerate and be “open minded”. It bugs me that people choose to market and sell a certain angle (that is scandalous) from this part of the world, just to raise that shock factor, rather than attempt to give some justice and beauty to the natives that live in this part of the world.

All the while, those Westerners don’t realize how close minded they are to our way of living. To our beliefs, and really, to who we are. But no, we have to accept that we are close-minded and small minded because…well, apparently, because they said so. Because, of all the similarities that we could have shared and bonded over, the focus will always be on how different we are. How there is the line of “us” and “them”.

I really can’t hide how disappointed I am. And especially when I see my heroes accepting others’ perspective without questions.

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