Wednesday, December 05, 2007

From Where I Stand

Often I am forcibly impressed by the difference sex and race and so on can make in how we relate to the news and in even how we write about them. For example, I don't think I could ever have mused over the problems Europe has with extreme Islam the way Matthew Yglesias did here, as if they are purely abstract theoretical concepts having to do with a game of international politics:

From the point of view of an American liberal, it's an awkward situation. One doesn't want to say "you guys should get rid of your progressive views on gender roles because it would make it easier for Muslims to assimilate" but at the end of the day it is much easier for Muslims to go along get along in a country like the US where traditionalist attitudes have more political clout. Of course, if more American conservative Christians decide to go the Pat Robertson route and decide to support Rudy Giuliani on the grounds that fighting Muslims is the ultimate expression of Christian values, then our advantage here will rapidly erode.

Hm. Should I recommend that my nieces in Europe should not go out alone or without wearing a veil? Should they not drive cars?

I also note that Yglesias really refers to homosexuality when he talks about gender roles, even though it is largely women who are oppressed by rigid gender roles in theocratic countries.

I'm not blaming him at all. But there is a blessing in being able to look at something through a thick protective glass of gender or race, say.