Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Xenophobia, Cowardice, and Donuts

I've always been fickle about Dunkin Donuts. Here in Chicago they're on almost every block, making them very convinient. Historically their coffee has been very delicious save for recently when it seems to have gotten weaker. Many people are surprised that a lot of DD franchises use Fair Trade beans exclusively. But before I can enjoy a socially responsible self righteous sip, I have to wave my finger at those Styrofoam cups--hardly biodegradable. I should also confess that I find the sausage, egg, and cheese bagel sandwich a calorie packed guilty pleasure. Yet with this new controversy out of bizarro world, I'm pretty disappointed in them.

Apparently Rachel Ray's black and white scarf looks slightly similar to a Palestinian keffiyah. Some loons decided to take offense... so Dunkin' Donuts pulled the ad, for fear that some Americans would be sent into the streets in a pants-wetting panic that someone in a donut ad might be wearing a black and white scarf that looks kindof sortof like something a Palestinian would be wearing. You know, if it wasn't a scarf but was a headdress. And if it had a different pattern...

What exactly is offensive about a scarf? Is it that Rachel Ray has olive skin? (She is Sicilian, not Arab). We don't want someone who marginally resembles a Muslim hawking coffee? Heck, what if she was a Muslim Arab? Do we really think a 30 second TV spot means a victory for Terrorism? That sausage bagel I mentioned earlier... yeah, basically Dunkin Donuts is anathema to Islamic Fundamentalists. This is nothing but xenophobia, irrational fear expressing itself.

A few facts Americans should get straight:

  • Barack Obama has an Arab sounding name. He must be Muslim right? He's not. Feel very free to disagree with his politics (I do on a number of issues), but don't perpetuate lies.
  • In the Bible, the book of Revelation makes no mention of Muslims. The New Testament was written in the first century A.D., Islam was founded in the seventh century A.D.
  • Most people of Middle Eastern descent in America are Christian--not Muslim.
I don't discount the danger of Islamic Fundamentalism in our times. I don't disagree that Islam has a deep disfunction and a faulty worldview. But the truth is that living in the United States we have succumbed to an irrational level of fear that manifests itself in the willingness to trade freedom for "security" and to let prejudice trump sound thoughtfulness. The cholesterol and sugar in your Dunkin Donuts are far more likely to kill you than a suicide bomber.

1 comment:

Becky said...

Amen to that.