Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ban on Asian symbols: A Westside story of bias?

From IBN Live:

Does the wearing a burkha, nose rings or a mangalsutra undermine a modern secular society?

In England, a woman who worked at a catering services firm at Heathrow airport, was sacked for wearing a nose ring. London's Mayor Ken Livingstone says this is an attack on her right to express her religion.

Other western countries have gone a step further. France has banned the wearing of headscarves and turbans in school whereas in England a teacher was sacked for wearing a veil.

So, does the West overreact to Asian cultural symbols?

Head of Communications, London CNN News, William Higham, Senior Lawyer of Supreme Court K T S Tulsi and Fashion Designer Rina Dhaka debated the topic on Face the Nation.



Janae said...

I find it facinating how threatened people can get by visual symbols. In my 40's I made the decision to get a tattoo. This personal and private choice has brought on many distinct reactions from people. For fellow members of my faith (including my siblings and parents) it has been seen as a threat to all that is good and holy. Although I have never experienced a time in my life where my behavior or life style has been in conflict with my faith, this personal artistic choice was unsettling for some. It was the symbol that caused the confusion. When I moved to Oklahoma, the last state to legalize tattoos ( one year ago) I was amazed to see employees forced to wear unsightly bandaids over piercings or tattoos while at work in local businesses. A tattoo is a facinating thing to have. I have a wrist tattoo and two on my feet. I had decided to wear them openly and I stick by this decision. I have had many strangers comment on them both positivly and negativly and I am concious of an unspoken bond I have with other owners of body art. They smile with a knowing smile or nod, "You are one of us." But am I? It is amazing how we tend to label people by appearance. As if we are wearing a team jersey and can be trusted to be an open hip and progressive person. I will never understand why most public schools have adopted uniforms including the banning of long hair, facial hair or piercings. While living in Louisiana a kid was suspended from High School for wearing a rather large and impressive Afro. The reason given was it was distracting. My advice to that school is get more compelling teachers, evidently there is nothing worth listening to and to avoid boredom students have to become fixated on hair styles. There will always be those in our society that seem to navigate life in utter fear of chaos. It is amusing to live in a country that fears a woman wearing a veil, a man with a large blue mohawk and most people with body art but feels safe around people who shop in Walmart in slippers, or bare feet or deer hunting overalls with a bright orange vest and no shirt. Personally I find the variety extremely entertaining.