Thursday, March 16, 2006

A different kind of traditional values

The NYTimes has a fascinating article today about a new video that Dutch immigration officials have put together to help immigrants (who are largely from Muslim countries) pass the Dutch citizenship exam. The film features nude beaches with women sun bathing topless, men kissing men, among other things.

From the article:
"The film is meant for people not yet in Holland to take note that this is normal here and not be shocked and awed by it once they arrive," said Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born member of the Dutch Parliament."

I find this fascinating because this is essentially an attempt to force the cultural values of one society, on a minority. If a similar video was made here to display "traditional" American values to minorities applying for citizenship, my leftist leanings have an automatic gut reaction of saying "NO" and calling this cultural imperialism.

But the anti-immigration homosexual Pim Fortuyn was most afraid of socially conservative immigrants swamping the Netherlands. If these new Dutch citizens achieved a majority voting bloc in a democracy, they could conceivably outlaw homosexuality, making him a criminal for who he is.

This is what religious red-state America is afraid of. Faith is so central to their lives, that they're afraid of being marginalized in their own country. That's what's driving some religious conservatives: fear. And at the same time, historically oppressed minorities are afraid of returning to a time in which yellow, brown, and non-Christian was not American; essentially fear is what's driving them too.

We have to stop being afraid of each other, and start talking to each other as human beings, and recognize the validity (no matter how cracked up you think their reasoning is) of each other's feelings.

A Dutch Film Warning: Nudity and Gay Kisses Ahead


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