I see that government officials in India are now banned from wearing the tilak, which may be another drop in the ocean of post-911 silliness. (Of course, I don’t know if there is a real connection, but it fits into a pattern of attitudes and behaviors that have turned legitimate in the world following 911.)
Some random, onesided and relatively uninformed thoughts about the banning of burkas, turbans, dots and other signs of religious (or ethnic) affiliations…
- It serves mainly to polarize. Both sides tend to get more entrenched and oppositional.
- It target the symbol/symptom more than anything else. If you want to target what you see as oppression and so on, do that directly rather than targeting something as silly as what people wear. (For god’s sake…!)
- It started with the burka, in the anti-muslim frenzy following 911, and then expanded to other symbols of religion to make it appear fair. As with so much else post-911 legitimized behavior, it has also been used by different groups as an excuse to target traditional enemies.
- Even the burka is not necessarily a symbol of, for instance, oppression of women. Many women apparently experience it as liberating, as a protection.
- It is another example of those with a more rational/worldcentric view adopting a flawed strategy in trying to deal with the more absolutist/ethnocentric (orange vs. blue in Spiral Dynamics terms). They are confused, don’t know how to deal with it, and feel threatened, so try this silliness which only muddles and polarizes the situation further. (Or, as maybe in this case, someone wants to be seen as rational and worldcentric, so adopt this strategy without thinking too much.)
- Finally, by adopting a strategy of banning symbols of religions affiliation, we do exactly what we say we try to remove. We ourselves act in ways experienced as intolerant and oppressive. It is OK when I do it but not when you do it, because I am right and you are wrong. How is that for teaching people tolerance and western values?