June 5, 2007

thinly veiled discrimination

back in the dark ages when rg was at high school, there were various fads, crazes, "in" things and "out" things that aided personal identification, belonging, or conversely highlighted difference or rebellion; ironic belonging in itself. nothing has changed, nor will it - nor should it. school, whether it be primary or secondary, is a time of learning, socialisation and personal development, a time of understanding what acceptable behaviour is and what tolerance is. in theory at least.

rg has a catholic and public education history. neither doctrine of education or values was immune from students pushing the boundaries with hair length, skirt length, sock choice, shoe style, the colossal shirt in/out battle, accumulation of badges with slogans pinned with pride to blazers, jumpers and hats, colourful expression of dress during sports days, nail polish, hair dye, make-up in all its forms, jewellery....the list is endless, as is the journey of personal identification and discovery. somehow all the above was simply chalked up to "youth" and was largely seen as harmless, which it is, and necessary.

contrast that with this article in today's age outlining how a young muslim schoolgirl had her headscarf airbrushed from a school photo. the reasoning? so it wouldn't stand out. not surprisingly, "the islamic council of victoria is urging the [parliamentary] inquiry [into dress codes and school uniforms] to support a 'fundamental right' to freedom of religious observance as it applies to dress." rg went to a state school with people who wore crucifixes around their necks as a display of faith; honestly, how is this different? moreover, how can people honestly think it is different?

the islamic council of victoria committee member sherene hassan has said, "it was reasonable for a school to demand headscarves match the uniform, and there was nothing to stop muslim girls from participating in sport, if schools allowed them to wear tracksuit pants under skirts." fair and reasonable, no? if a student had been enduring chemotherapy and lost their hair, would a scarf or hat they chose to wear be airbrushed from a group photo because it sets them apart? if a student had an accident or leg prosthesis of some kind that caused them concern, or was the source of mockery, would a school argue a case that they couldn't wear trackies because the majority of students don't? doubtful.

how can a community expect tolerance if generations are being shown that discrimination is acceptable, most notably because of religious expression or belief? rg sees this behaviour as a contemporary version of the "she asked for it, did you see what she was wearing?" justification for rape; if you don't want to get picked on or discriminated against, don't wear hijab. rg's mind boggles at this anti-logic.


Professor Howdy said...

Very good posting.
Thank you - Have a good day!!!

RG - parental politico said...

thanks for visiting, prof!

rg loves the dancing aligator.

may your day in nc be a great one.

missv said...

Good post RG! I think one of the good things you can get from school (bullying etc aside)is being exposed to people who are different from you - whether they wear crosses, headscarves or eat different food. I like to think that this helps people become more tolerant and accepting of diversity (perhaps I am being naive here but from my experience anyway).

Digitally altering school photographs sounds extreme! And it sends a strong message that difference is not to be tolerated.

So, in Iran, women can be arrested for "bad hijab" while in Australia "bad hijab" has different connotations and can be airbrushed away ...

Legal Eagle said...

Like the post too. As long as it matches the uniform, why not? Doesn't matter whether it's a crucifix, a yarmulke, a hijab or whatever.

The only time I would have a problem with religious dress is if it inhibited communication or physical movement. Like a burqa.

Legal Eagle said...

Yo RG, I have written my own post on law in Germany regarding teachers who wear hijabs, linked to your post because I think it's a great post.

RG - parental politico said...

miss v,

you are far from naive; tolerance is taught and learnt through experience, by witnessing it - banish the visibility of difference, and how can it be accepted?

it's ironic that we're taught we're unique, that our strengths and differences should be celebrated, yet the actual expression of such personal diversity makes so many uncomfortable for no other reason (that rg can see) than their naivity.

scaremongering, eh? attractive stuff.

RG - parental politico said...

legal eagle,

i concur with your view that expression and communication can be limited, or at the very least misinterpreted, without face-to-face interaction. as always, your posts are insightful.

thanks for the link!

LDU said...

Great post!

ReallyPosh said...

Awesome. Very nicely said. We mustn't take this lying down. And Inshallah our message will reach their ears soon.