I walked into a gas station today and saw an Arab man behind the counter. He was reading a leather bound book written in what seemed to be Arabic. I assumed it to be the Koran.
I thought it was kind of cool that his boss seemed to be okay with him carrying religious material in front of customers. Some people may be offended by it, but still this man was reading this proudly in front of everyone. I admired his dedication to his faith. Maybe even envying it. I thought about how he might catch hell from jackasses for his lineage as well as his religion. Poor guy.
He then closed the book and set it down so I could pay for the gas. I looked at the book and it had a cross on it. The guy was reading the Bible. I walked out of there and felt like a complete schmuck. After all the late night discussions during my younger years about race, stereotypes, and media I stood there and sized this guy's whole life up because I saw him read a book. Another clueless guy from the lilly white Northwest.
"The whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify. Instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity - that it's this or maybe that - you have just one large statement; It is this." Chinua Achebe