Friday, November 25, 2011

on discrimination and stereotyping

Today in Organizational Behaviour we learnt about

Discrimination & Exclusion

The difference: Discrimination is more obvious and overt, where you target a group because they are different from you.
e.g: "I am firing you because you are dyslexic."

However, racism/other -isms are now socially unacceptable (at least in the UK). So people resort to Exclusion, which is more subtle and hidden, but nevertheless shows that you dislike a certain group.
e.g: being unfriendly to another race, trying to get as far away as possible from 'that brown dude', etc.

I remembered this one time, we were searching for a house, and the landlady was doing this

And one of the reasons why we discriminate and exclude is stereotyping. We generalise people and put judgments on them, even before we meet them. 

So today i'd like to say something about stereotyping people who do D&T.

During the time of the Prophet, the Quraisy used to spread all kinds of propaganda to prevent people from listening to the call of Rasulullah.
"He's doing witchcraft. He's bewitching all of us to leave our stone idols."
"He's a poet. That's why he recites all these beautiful verses."
"He's crazy".
"He's a traitor who's trying to split the unity of us Arabs."

There was a man called At-Tufail ibn 'Amr. The Quraisy used to tell him all sorts of propaganda, until he stuffed his ears with cotton to block out the message of the Prophet.

But Allah guides whom He wills. One day, at-Tufail happened to meet the Prophet, cottons still in his ears. But you know, with cottons stuffed in your ear, you still hear something. And what at-Tufail heard was the most beautiful thing. The truth. The Quran. And experiencing the truth first hand, the propaganda of the Quraisy melted away, and at-Tufail became a guided Believer.

These things will still happen until the Day of Judgment.

"D&T people? I heard they're very closed-minded, have messy beards and have serious faces all the time. And they smell too. If i were you, i wouldn't get too close to them"

There sure are a lot of stereotypes, and im sure you've heard some of them. Not only negative stereotypes, but positive stereotypes as well. In fact, people sometimes expect D&T-ists to be perfect.

"You don't cut your nails! im not going to listen to you."
"You don't comb your hair! Bye bye"

وَقَالُوا مَالِ هَذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ لَوْلَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيرًا
And they say: "Why does this Messenger eat food, and walk about in the markets (like ourselves). Why is not an angel sent down to him to be a warner with him? (Al Furqan:7)

DISCLAIMER: I am not asking you to stay just the way you are. Indeed, a believer should improve himself every day. This is a reminder to all of us to hold on to the truth, wherever it may come from. 

So pull that cotton wool out of your ear and go find some good ol' soul-nourishing and some good company.