Here's a guest blog from the one and only, Alyssa Hoover! This is in response to the article about the Lowe's ordeal with the show 'All-American Muslim,' which you can find here.
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You might call me sheltered…sheltered to the fact that the entire world isn’t exactly like my little bubble around my university in Evansville, Indiana. Everyone in my bubble who has met my two Muslim best friends loves them to pieces, except for the people who are jealous of how smart they are, of course. The problem with the world, political issues, and social issues is that they never meet the individuals that they seem to complain the most about. This seemed to be the problem, in my opinion, with the Florida Family Association protesting Lowe’s to pull their advertisement from the timeslot when the All-American Muslim show ran on television.
The complaint from the FFA was that All-American Muslim was “harmful to the education of Americans’ belief structures”…as if that even makes sense. The point of the show was to show Muslims—people of a different religion that many Americans have a large stereotype against. This stereotype comes from never having come into contact with even one Muslim person. I know this because I was once a victim of having negative stereotypes. I had never thought about how I felt about Muslims until I was encountered with a Muslim roommate. Stereotypes were automatically sent through my brain because of my white suburban town back home that had coined Muslims as terrorists after 9/11. After experiencing many different aspects of my new roommate’s culture, it only brought us closer. It’s funny isn’t it? How once I learned more about her culture and took my eyes off the headscarf she was wearing that the stereotypes just fell away. It mostly saddens me to think that if I had not met my roommate at college, I would have never experienced another part of the world that is, in my eyes, ten times more fun than white suburbia ever was.
Americans are allowed to be scared after 9/11. Americans are not, however, allowed to put millions of innocent people into one collective group coined as terrorists. If a person has met a million Muslims and still hates every one of them, then fine. But I bet the conservative FFA has not had a single conversation with the so-called “offensive Muslims” that they had such a large problem with. My Muslim roommate and I were excited for the All-American Muslim show to premiere on TLC. We ended up only watching one or two episodes of it, because it was basically just a boring show. It was a boring show about Muslims going about their daily lives and guess what? It wasn’t anything special. To most people’s astonishment, it was not a show of brown-skinned people sitting and assembling bombs, like apparently the FFA thought they should be. I don’t know what offensive show the FFA was watching, but it certainly wasn’t the show I saw.
My mom asked me the other day when I brought up the issue to her, “Why pinpoint Muslims? Why set them apart with a show making them seem ‘special’, or different than the normal person in some sort of way?” I agree. Sorry to break it to you, but Muslims aren’t aliens. They’re just like you. You just haven’t met one yet. Or maybe you have. And I bet they didn’t bomb you.
No one inside my little bubble of the University of Southern Indiana discriminates against my Muslim best friends for wearing headscarves and walking around campus like every other student does. They see people for more than their religion. My roommate doesn’t discriminate against me for being a crazy Christian, and I don’t feel the need to check her closet for bombs. That’s just how we work. I think that’s how the whole world should work. I’m not saying my vision is the perfect way to see it or better than any other vision, but all I can wish for is that my bubble would get a little bigger so the whole world could fit inside it.
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