This foggy morning, I am greeted with news of Islamic clerics humiliatingly taken from their US Airways flight. It's all very disgusting, beginning with the ignorance of some passenger who mistook the men's evening prayers for some kind of pre-terrorist action. Said passenger passed a note to a flight attendant, apparently containing the phrase "Arabic men." US Airways chose to remove the men from the flight, handcuffed by police.
This chain of events full of intolerance and (at the very least) ignorance, comes on the heels of Michael Richards' bizarre racist retorts to a heckler at a comedy club.
Where to start? People, this is the day before Thanksgiving. Three hundred odd years ago, Native Americans took pity on a small group of struggling Anglo pilgrims who'd finally been able to clear a little farmland, and introduced them to their own harvest festival of giving thanks. The pilgrims were so fed up with English persecution of their religious practices, they took a dangerous sea journey to arrive in the New World just as winter was setting in. In the end, more settlers from the continent would bring disease and slaughter to the Natives, in general thinking of these established tribes as little more than inconveniences to their manifest destiny.
That's the thanks they get for giving us every American's favorite family weekend, the day we reflect on our blessings, on our good fortune, and, sometimes, on those less fortunate. Perhaps it's also time to think about that aspect of the holiday in which generosity, being a good host, and the tenets of equality in our country's constitution. Not tolerance. Equality.
What can we do?
1. Boycott US Airways
2. Learn about the Muslim faith, its pillars and practices, its leaders, communicators and families
3. Invite someone new to your Thanksgiving table
4. Make a contribution to a charity that promotes racial and religious respect
5. Do something that brings a little harmony between yourself and someone of another race or religion.