Why The French Burkini Ban Is Racism At Its Worst

August 25, 2016

When will we stop letting fear-based hatred teint our society?

It’s amazing to watch the number of Olympic style backflips people will go through to defend racists.

From so-called feminist comedians making jokes at the expense of other ethnicities to Trump supporters talking about deporting immigrants, there are people out there who are determined to believe they can justify their fear-based hatred.

The latest version of this has been the French obsession with the burkini, a swimsuit made popular by Muslim women thanks to its ability to allow female beach-goers to remain fully covered. Nice has recently joined Cannes and other French cities in banning this item of clothing, claiming it’s not an “outfit respecting good morals and secularism.”

Except they’re not going after nuns and priests for wearing religious clothing – despite the fact Christianity is easily and frequently tied to violence and genocide across the world – no, this new law exists solely to criminalize a specific religion. Which is bigotry, not to mention, approaching an extremely complex issue from a comically simplistic standpoint.

If we’re to address every issue in this way, wouldn’t it make sense, then, to simply outlaw overly masculine behaviors in public? After all, men are the most frequent proponents of violent assault and terrorism around the world. Sixty-one of the 62 American mass murderers between 1983 and 2013 were perpetrated by men. So it’d be logical to assume testosterone-laden activities encourage male rage, a common factor in these mass murderers.

Except, it isn’t that simple, is it? Men are varied individuals. Certainly some take fragile masculinity to an extreme, basking themselves in testosterone-soaked entitlement, reacting violently or verbally abusively when they aren’t freely given what they think they’re due. But to paint every man with the same brush based off the poor behavior of this group would be the very definition of narrow-mindedness.

We shouldn’t have to make this clear in a globalized world with free internet access, but believe it or not, Muslims aren’t inherently terrorists. Islam is no more inherently misogynistic than Christianity is.

Covering up on the beach is fine, just so long as it’s in the name of Christianity.

Which brings us to the beaches of Nice, France, where women have willingly chosen to wear burkinis so they can both practice their religion and enjoy the beaches the city is famous for. In a world where women are repeatedly told we’re asking to be the targets of sexual assault because we’re wearing too little clothing and that showing skin is inherently immoral, women are being accosted and given tickets on beaches for covering up. One woman in particular was forced to strip on the beach by armed police officers in front of her own daughter while being jeered at by other beach-goers.

Because the way she covered up follows a religion the French are heavily bigoted against.

Let’s stop pretending like this is any kind of enforcement of public morality. If it was, there would have to be a convincing argument that Islam is inherently immoral, which there isn’t. There’d also have to be a set of legal guidelines as to what defines morality, which there isn’t. By that logic, the highly irreverent newspaper Charlie Hebdo had it coming when they were bombed and multiple people were killed. Why then, isn’t the French government shutting down newspapers that publish immoral material?

Because they aren’t gatekeeping morality. They’re gatekeeping Muslims. And yes, that makes them huge racists. Not saviors, not defenders of justice. There’s nothing just about what they’re doing. It’s ignorance, plain and simple.

So here’s a hot tip: if you’ve decided an entire group of people are bad or dangerous because of one specific feature or religion or nationality, congrats: you’re a bigot.

Be a better person.

Comment: Where do you stand on the French burkini ban? Do you agree it’s bigoted?


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