diversity


I woke up yesterday to an inbox full of emails and postings about an article in one of our dailies. The article headline read something along these lines: “Campaign to counter homosexuality and the arrest of four gays”. I was appalled at the headline and was angered and disgusted by the article as I continued to read. Half way through I stopped reading. I couldn’t believe what this paper was doing. It was taking a case of prostitution and making it an anti-gay campaign all with misinformation and bigoted comments.

 

I cannot believe how irresponsible the writer is, calling him a journalist would be giving him a title that doesn’t befit him. He made it out that gay men are being rounded up, all of them are feminine and dress in drag or are taking hormone therapy and becoming transsexuals or as they are known here she-males. He cites a doctor who propagates more misinformation. Not only is story completely biased with no other opinion or side to it. It is full of misinformation and ignorance. I also think the editor-in-chief of this daily is very irresponsible for allowing such hate, such intolerance and such a piece of journalistic crap be put on the front page of his paper.

 

But am I surprised? This is the third incident I come across for this daily that has made me shake my head. There was the article about the genpets which my fellow blogger Humeid commented on extensively. There was the sexist article about women not being feminine enough because they don’t take care of their hair or cut it short, are fat or have gruff loud voices.

 

With every day this daily discredits itself in my eyes. It has proved time and time again that their articles are badly researched, biased, sexist, full of hate, misinformation, and sensationalism. I don’t understand how they think this will help them sell more papers since with each article they alienate, anger, and misinform a public that has many online and offline alternatives.

 

Back to the issue of the article, Jordan has no law against homosexuality so under what code it is rounding up gay men or women I don’t understand? Does the writer not know this? Does the writer not know that this a human rights violation and if this were the case this is truly where the story is? How the article misinforms the public that anyone who is gay has been raped as a child, and grew up with a domineering mother and a weak father figure, how every gay man wants to be a woman with a swish of hips, makeup, long hair and female names is just so ignorant of this community, laughable and sad. It is creating such hate, and misinformation that it is dangerous.

 

This daily needs to go back to school for Journalism 101 and really think about the messages they are sending out to our society and our people. Hate, sexism, ignorance, intolerance are not how you sell news, it’s how you destroy a society, it’s how you breed and perpetuate racism, sexism, homophobia, anger, intolerance and everything ugly we fight against.

 

If you want read these articles and some other responses to the postings follow these links:

 

Homophobic article:

http://www.alghad.jo/?news=370031

Sexist Article:

http://www.alghad.jo/?news=367942

 

Genpets article

http://www.alghad.jo/index.php?news=367113

 

Genpets Blog posts by Humeid

http://www.360east.com/?p=1063

http://www.360east.com/?p=1064

http://www.360east.com/?p=1066

 

Responses to Homophobic article

http://www.mohomar.com/mohomar/66323/2008/10/27/103843-

 

http://thewebsessed.com/2008/10/28/who-stole-your-cheese/

 

http://www.questler.com/explore/quest/view/1036

 

After reading these and the other comments and posting on the topic do something about it. Here is one quote I got in my inbox in relation to this article. I want to thank the friend who sent it. It is a powerful message that makes us all think about the world around us and the power we have as individuals to make a difference, even a small one.

 

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me. – Pastor Martin Niemöller

I live in many worlds, and so I interact with people of all sorts of color, creed, socio-economic status, privilege, nationality, and sexuality even. I have traveled enough places to know who I am, but to also appreciate others and respect the differences between us. And mind you, I am not infallible; I have my moments of judgment and prejudice. But it seems the more I look around me I see more tolerance and more intolerance. Our society is at odds with what it wants to appear like and what it really thinks. Let me explain…

 

I work with underserved, underprivileged communities, more specifically with kids in these communities. I find the experience very rewarding and very enriching. These kids may not have the same opportunities as west Ammanis, dress in the same way, speak a coarser tongue or what have you. But they have the same ambitions, dreams, hopes as you or me. I love engaging with them because they are more real and genuine in their expressions of who they are. Yet these same kids are discriminated against, marginalized and sometimes disenfranchised because of their socio-economic backgrounds.

 

Look around at the domestic and manual laborers we have in the country and how we immediately discriminate against anyone from the same nationality or ethnicity is something I abhor. Not everyone who is Egyptian in the country is a laborer, not everyone in the country who is Pilipino is a domestic worker. And don’t get me started on how we treat them when they do these jobs. We as Jordanians are no better than any of them. It doesn’t matter if we have blue collar or white collar jobs we all work to make a living and if some of us work with our hands and other with our minds then that is how it is. It doesn’t make you less of a person because you clean toilets or carry cement. I think all these professions and the people that carry them out are worthy of respect since we are trying to make an honest buck.  
 

 

Take out the profession from the equation and you will also find that Jordanians are racists! Yes I know this is a very strong and serious generalization, but you are more than welcome to prove me wrong. Just look at the reaction of Jordanians towards a western looking blonde and a dark African looking person, or an Asian person. We are always quick to ask “where are you from?” and that question then leads to pigeon holing a person into our social status hierarchy where the western blonde ranks very high and Asians and Africans rank very low depending on the country they are from and what the stereotype for people from there is.  We are all guilty of it… even myself.

 

And when it comes to sexuality the amount of people are homo-phobes, hetero-phobes, bi-phobes that are out there is annoying. Each wants to be accepted within their own group and is not accepting of others. Straight people are afraid of gay people and have no understanding of what gay is. Gay people don’t really like straight people and will most likely try to stay in herds of their own kind. What difference does it make who you take to bed?

Once again I realize that these are all gross generalizations. And not everyone is a racist, or a phobe of some sort, or a classist. But I constantly see people talking about acceptance and tolerance of themselves for being something or other. Yet when you look at their behaviors you realize that they too discriminate against one group or another, for some reason or another. I really think that if we focus on our accepting, respecting each of our differences instead of focusing on our sameness the world would be a happier place.