Paul Chowdhry

As usual there is much going on in the world. Trump continues to use his daily tweets to change the political weather, whether we like it or not, as his self-made Russian noose continues to tighten around his neck. Killings still continue in Pakistan, this time in a Peshawar university. A McDonald’s branch apparently refused to serve a woman because she was wearing a hijab. A teacher reported a six year old Muslim with Down’s for terrorism. An Afghan girls’ robotics team won a top European competition. Despite my earlier commentary on princesses, the world seems mesmerized by a new mixed-race American princess who is willing to marry an all-white ginger-haired prince (I guess opposites do attract). Anything else I can think of? Oh yes, how can I forget? Now, well into the 21st century, in Libya we have open slave markets, with Muslims buying and selling Muslims. Keep on rocking in the free world.

And through all this and everything else happening in the big wide world, I am trying my darnedest to make sense of it all. Therefore at times like this I listen to what others have to say. Their opinions and analysis help me to better understand the complexities of the news. In that light, please find below some selected videos you hopefully will find interesting.

First up we have the brilliant American author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who grew in popularity writing articles about Trump and racism in the States for the Atlantic Monthly. During a recent event where he was promoting his book We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy, he humorously explains why certain words, specifically the n-word, belong only to certain people.

Then we have comedian Paul Chowdhry, supporting a rather fetching beard on The Russell Howard Hour, giving us some of his thoughts on ISIS and terrorism. The video following this is also about terrorism, cleverly showing how things are not what they seem, and how easy it is to mix up the good guy and the bad guy. And last but by no means first we have another comedian, Hasan Minhaj, appearing on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, giving his views on the recent retweeting by Trump of Britain First.

As always transcripts of my favourite bits are presented. Enjoy!

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Words do not have meaning without context. My wife refers to me as “honey.” That is accepted and okay between us. If we were walking down the street together and a strange woman referred to me as “honey” that would not be acceptable. The understanding is that I have some sort of relationship with my wife. Hopefully I have no relationship with this strange woman.

When I was young and I used to go see my family in Philadelphia, where my dad was from, they would all call him Billy. His name was William Paul Coates. No one in Baltimore, however, called him Billy, and had I referred to my father as Billy that probably would have been a problem. That is because the relationship between myself and my dad is not the same as the relationship between my dad and his mother and his sisters who he grew up with. We understand that. It is the same thing with words within the African-American community, or within any community.

My wife, with her girlfriends, will use the word “bitch.” I do not join in. I do not say “Hey, I want to join in…” I do not do that. And perhaps more importantly I do not have a desire to do that.

A while ago Dan Savage, who is openly gay, was going to have a show that he was going to call “Hey, Faggot!” I am not going to yell “faggot” in Dan’s house, I am just not, that is not my relationship with the LGBTQ community, and I understand that and I am okay with that. I do not have a desire to yell out the word “faggot,” I just do not have that.

The question one must ask is, if that is accepted and normal for groups of people to use certain words that are derogatory in an ironic fashion, why is there so much hand-wringing when black people do it? Black people are basically, however you feel about it, not outside of the normal rules and laws for humanity.

I had a good friend and we used to have this cabin in upstate New York which he referred to as “the white trash cabin.” He was white. I would never refer to that cabin in that way, I would never tell him “I am coming to your white trash cabin.” I just would not do that. And I think you understand why I would not do that.

The question one must therefore ask is, why are so many white people having difficulty extending things that are basic laws of how human beings interact to black people? And I think I know why. When you are white in this country you are taught that everything belongs to you. You think you have a right to everything, you have a right to go where you want. You are conditioned this way. It is not because your hair is not textured or your skin is light. It is the fact that the laws and the culture tell you this. You have a right to go where you want to go, do what you want to do, be however you want to be, and other people, non-white people, have just got to accommodate themselves to you. So here comes this word that you feel like you invented and then I, a black person, will tell you how to use the word that you invented!

“Why can’t I use it? Everyone else gets to use it. That is racism that I do not get to use it. That is racist against me. I have to inconvenience myself and hear this hip-hop song, with this word in it, and I can’t sing along? How come I can’t sing along?”

I think for white people the experience of being a hip-hop fan and not being able to use the word “nigger” is actually very, very insightful. It will give you just a little peek into the world of what it means to be black, because to be black is to walk through the world and watch people doing things that you cannot do, that you cannot join in and do. And so I think there is actually a lot to be learned from refraining. – adapted from a speech made by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Paul Chowdhry

As-salaam-alaikum my brothers and sisters. Welcome to the conversion…Just grew a beard…I’ve got that kind of straight-out-of-Syria look. I’ve got that one-way-ticket look. – Paul Chowdhry

ISIS claim everything now. “We did it.” No you didn’t. “George Michael? We did it. Harambe? We did it.” What? You killed a gorilla in America a year ago?…Do you remember that Harambe incident? The kid dropped in and people were like “Oh my God! They shouldn’t have shot the gorilla, they should have shot the parents.”  That’s a good idea, innit. Let’s shoot the parents. Now the kid has got two dead parents, and he’s living with a fucking gorilla. – Paul Chowdhry

Doesn’t help with my look either…I can’t even get into America anymore…Last time I tried to get into America I went with my mate Dave and I said to Dave “How are we gonna get in?” And Dave said “Just say what I do for a living, we’ll both get in.” “Alright mate.” “Just copy me and we’ll both get in.” Then Dave gets to the desk and they go “So what do you do for a living?” Dave goes “I work in recruitment…” – Paul Chowdhry

Are Muslims Terrorists?

Hasan Minhaj

Trump does have some very specific fears. For example, he’s totally arachnophobic. But of Muslims. – Trevor Noah

[Referring to deputy leader of Britain First Jayda Fransen] One question maam, if you are so proud of being white then why do you use all that fake tan? – Trevor Noah

Here’s what pisses me off, these random videos are either totally out of context or straight-up false. This fringe British group wants people to think brown boogeymen are coming to kill them. They recently shared a viral photo of ISIS fighters but it wasn’t ISIS. It was Ice Cube. You idiots! You’re mixing up your ices. It’s ridiculous…The point is the president is retweeting false videos to stoke up Islamophobia. – Hasan Minhaj

Here’s my thing. Trump doesn’t need to send out these fake stories about Muslims. If Trump needs incriminating video of Muslims, ask Muslims! Ask me. I got plenty of dirt on my phone. Show my dad returning used underwear at Costco. Show my mom telling my aunt were ten minutes away when we haven’t left the house yet. Show my cousin lying to his parents about having a white girlfriend over Thanksgiving. Now that’s a viral video and that’s real Sahil. I shouldn’t have said his name, I’m sorry. I fucked up. I shouldn’t have said his name. – Hasan Minhaj


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