Lowes’ picks fight with Muslim America, 12/11-12/18

20 Dec
Lowe's Hardware

Lowe's Hardware

National hardware chain Lowe’s withdrew television commercials from The Learning Channel’s  All-American Muslim as a result of complaints by the Florida Family Association. The conservative Christian group objected to the TV show’s portrayal of Muslims as regular Americans. Apparently the Muslim terrorist is the only narrative that is acceptable for TV. Yes, this is an incredibly discriminatory and misinformed position, but the group had enough influence to convince the hardware giant to pull their ads from the show. Lowe’s has tried to take the position of neutrality in the debate, trying to appease both sides of the debate with such tweets as “We did not pull our ads based solely on the complaints or emails of any one group. It is never our intent to alienate anyone.” and “Lowe’s values diversity of thought in everyone, including our employees and prospective customers.” What Lowe’s fails to acknowledge is that neutrality on xenophobia is not possible. By choosing to not advertise during “All-American Muslim” they take a stance against the show and, by association, images of Muslim-Americans that contradict the accepted stereotype.  By avoiding the subject, they deny the situation of Muslims in the US who are frequently characterized as both a political and cultural threat to the country.

Because xenophobia is largely ignored in the US, the anti-Muslim sentiments common to conservative pundits fester and grow. This is particularly the case in environments such as right wing radio and Fox news who view anything positive coming from Islam as a direct attack on Christianity (see the Park 51 Community Center, the Mosque to be built several blocks from Ground Zero). Constant attacks on Muslims codify discrimination into popular culture. These attacks also permeate to interpersonal interactions creating stressful environments for the populations that are the victims of this discrimination.

Fortunately, there are politicians such as Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota  who have admonished Lowe’s for its actions. In the entertainment world, Hip-Hop mogul Russel Simmons has also shown support by purchasing the airtime for the “All-American Muslim” ad slots. In the mean time, the rest of us can show our support by boycotting Lowe’s and any other company that bends to the demands of the Florida Family Association and other xenophobic organizations.

In other news:
Sheriff Arpaio reprimanded by the Department of Justice, LATIMES, 12.17.11
A ray of light came from DOJ with a report released by the Department of Justice reprimanding Sheriff Arpaio for systemic constitutional violations. A three year investigation unequivocally concluded that the Maricopa County Sheriffs Dept. engaged in the “most egregious racial profiling in the United States.” Arpaio responds to the DOJ’s report, making it clear that he doesn’t understand the harm he is causing to Latinos.

Supreme Court to take up AZ SB1070, Multi-American, 12.12.11
The Supreme Court has decided to take up SB1070 in 2012, to see if lowers courts decision to block portions of the bill was constitutional. Specifically, the Supreme Court will be looking at the sections of the law that required police to check immigration status of people they suspect to lack authorization to be in the country. The decision will also impact the slew of SB1070 copy cat laws.

Polling the US public on immigration issues, CAP, 12.15.11
Polls overwhelmingly show that the public wants to see pragmatic, sensible, and realistic solutions for the 11 million immigrants who are undocumented. A tough stance on immigrant stance does not poll well, somebody should tell the Republican nominee candidates.

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2 Responses to “Lowes’ picks fight with Muslim America, 12/11-12/18”

  1. Mariya December 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    I’m so glad that the Curious Ostrich has touched upon this topic. Even though I consider myself to be agnostic, I come from a Islamic religious background and my family members range in their beliefs, practices, and ideas of how to express themselves with this religion. Stereotyping the people who practice Islam to all be Islamic terrorist is alienating an incredibly large amount of the world’s population considering Islam is the second largest religion in the world.

    There will always be a few bad apples who practice religion in a horribly disastrous way, sometimes stating that certain passage in a particular religious text justifies their murderous actions.

    Take the Ku Klux Kan for example.

    In the beginning they were explicitly Christian terrorist in ideology, basing their beliefs on a “religious foundation” in Christianity. The goals of the KKK included, from an early time on, an intent to, “reestablish Protestant Christian values in America by any means possible,” and believe that “Jesus was the first Klansman.” Their cross-burnings were conducted not only to intimidate targets, but to demonstrate their respect and reverence for Jesus Christ, and the lighting ritual was steeped in Christian symbolism, including the saying of prayers and singing of Christian hymns. Many modern Klan organizations, such as the Knights Party, USA, continue to focus on the Christian supremacist message, asserting that there is a “war” on to destroy “western Christian civilization.”

    Another example can be found in Buddhism, a religion also often associated with peace.

    Periodically Buddist monks have encouraged violence or initiated it. The primary example in the 20th and 21st century is in Sri Lanka, where Sinhala Buddhist groups have committed and encouraged violence against local Christians and Tamils. The leader of Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult that committed a lethal sarin gas attack in the mid-1990s, drew on Buddhist as well as Hindu ideas to justify his beliefs.

    Islam is not the only religion in which terrorism occurs, it is just the religion that seems to be getting the most heat or media attention within the past couple of decades. But religion in itself is not the cause of terrorism, and for every one person that does commit a dangerous act in the name of religions, there will be a thousand more that practice that faith peacefully.

    The Learning Channel’s initiative to create a show called “All American Muslim” seeks to help dispel the myth that has been created and reinforced within past years by the Christian Conservative Right that all Muslims are terrorists. I commend the show’s agenda and am sadden at the actions of Lowe’s to pull their commercial advertisements during the airing of the show. Though public statements deny any such doing, the silent act of this national hardware chain shows their compliance in keeping the stereotype of the “American Muslim Terrorist” alive and kicking.

    • Daniel S. Madrigal January 31, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      Good points Mariya.

      Isn’t it sad how when acts of white-terrorism occur it can be quickly diassociated with the larger religion, whereas any initiative supporting Muslims is often considered supportive to terrorism, even if the initiative is as innocuous as a community center (see New York). We remain an incredibly racist/xenophobic country, which is why it is so important when we point out the hypocrisy of moves like the one made by the Florida Family Association.

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