Monday, November 30, 2009

De-ciphering the American Muslims

American Muslims are a unique phenomenon. Not only are they unique in terms of who they are ( a unique mix of immigrants from various countries), but also in terms of their pride for their American heritage.

My visits to my uncle's home in Columbia, MD is an exercise in anthropology. Quite seriously, i have understood more about American Muslims by spending time in their home and visiting a few friends there than i would have through reading 5 books on the subject.

My curious cousins ( Nabeel and Anjum) keep me in 'tune' with what is going on in the US and the Muslim community in particular. Nabeel with his humour ( he is clearly the funniest cousin i have) and Anjum ( with her good humour and patience) have shared insights that are an eye-opener.

Some observations and insights about American Muslims :
a) American Muslims ( AM) henceforth see themselves as Americans as much as Muslims. Both identities are equally important and they are proud of each
b) The kids are not 'Indian' or desi by any stretch of imagination ( though they may look desi . The whole desi connection is over-rated. They would probably be happier eating burgers and drool over wendy's food rather than spicy ( and smelly) Indian food
c)When it comes to marriage, they would prefer deciding who they want to marry.
d) Many of them prefer to have friends with Blacks than 'white-boys', who tend to have lesser exposure to Muslim culture

Here is an interesting video by kareem salama. Good Music and interesting insights.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

UN Security council reform and Ali G

After several excruciating days of research on SC reform ( for my research paper), I came across this funny video of Ali G ( Sacha Baron Cohen). Enjoy :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interesting license plates in the USA

Freedom or Death, I believe, Taxation without representation are some catchy slogans that one can find on the license plates of several American cities.

The BBC reported that the 'I believe' plate has been banned as it violates the First amendment. Judge Cameron Currie ruled that it violated the first amendment in passing a law which establishes a religion.

License plates may be a novel way for Americans to vent out their frustrations and ( or) beliefs.

The most ironic is obviously the one for Washington DC 'taxation without representation' as the district does not have anyone in the senate representing them.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

American Football and Halloween

Yesterday was a day full of surprises and unplanned adventures. As i walked into my office on campus, Matt, one of the american students was busy looking over the SU athletics website. He said that there is a football game on and i could join him if i would like to. Having never seem american football live in a stadium, i said a quck yes and off we went to the Carrier Dome, very close to campus with a 40,000 seating capacity.

Syracuse University team was playing Cicinnati, a pretty strong team with a good track record. The noise, drama, fight songs, visual overdose of orange ( the university colour) and chanting of "Go Orange, Go" filled the Air and i couldnt help but cheer for our team. Despite a brave fight, we lost 28-7 against a team which tackled well, made great passes and was by and large a well run team.

I had to leave to call my mom during half time, but the experience itself was quite interesting and as a budding Sociologist, i could see the linkage of a few facets of popular american culture to the behaviour of fans in the stadium.

The evening brought in more, ghoulish surprises in the form of the "Maxalloween", a party organised by the Maxwell school grad students. The Halloweeen party was a visual treat as well. Right from Harry Potter to Sarah palin, we had all characters represented in the costumes. I myself was dressed as a Hawaiian tourist, with my Bali Batik shirt which i tried to pass off as Hawaiian. One friend who lived in Indonesia for some time pointed out that i was more Indonesian than Hawaiian, but i think i passed off as a tourist quite well.

Food, dance and good conversations, not to mention a great round of pool ( two games of which i won) made for a good evening. The after -party was a bit of a letdown and i just walked home happy and tired after a day of observing and participating in two key American traditions.