An afternoon with my Father.

I had a blog idea earlier today – or more so, a rant about Steve Harvey and his take on the “new” growing demographic of middle aged, fiscally successful, single women. Imagine my outrage here: ________________________________________________________________.

Okay, I’m done. Instead, my ever colorful dialogue with my father tops it all. For starters, my father is my politically conservative male-equivalent. We have our issues getting along for the sole reason that are personalities are all too similar, not because our views on Western politics are polar opposites. I can hang with and hold my own with most people who disagree with me and I’ve had to – like most of us. I’ve conducted a fair share of ethnographic interviews listening to others’ views that contradicted my own. Taken my notes. Recognized my bias and background and moved forward. With my father, it’s different.

We arrived earlier today at one of my favorite French-esque cafes. Both impatiently looked for a server and rushed to order. When our coffee arrived we both poured our cream, dumped half of a sugar in and chewed on our lactase pills (curse lactose intolerance).

Dad… Dad… DAD.

Yes, ya-inee. What is up?

Are you even listening to me?

Yeah, Shoosh. You need to learn Arabic.

Yeah, soon. Also, what are the odds that I pack up and move to Egypt?

No, no. Plus, you join the “politically correct” kids over there that hate America.

What does that even mean? I need to go, network… I told you. I need to apply to an Anthropology program within 5 years.

No, Shoosh.

So came a lecture on U.S. interests in the middle east, the construction of the Muslim Arab Male, and his supposed claim of the recent surge of sexual harassment in Egypt.

With every one of my “Why do you think that?” or “What about [this] instead?” his impatience grew.

Dad, I’m not disagreeing with you for once. But the most harmful statements are those that assume that things are either black/white, good/bad, right/wrong. What about the grey area?

No, Shoosh. Things are just bad sometimes. Always will be. Just need to accept religion. That’s all you can do.

We both just puffed out at this point. He left to have a cigarette and I was left there wondering why his views, of all exchanges I’ve encountered, bothers me the most. After all, when we discuss any thing beyond domestic borders, we are allies. His experiences always entice me and leave me more knowledgeable and humbled than before. I always remain in awe by how little I know and how little I’ve seen. On the other hand, his positions come with a side of racial slurs, shakey pro-West sentiment, and hint of misogyny.

How can someone who despises Western Imperialism, be so convinced that Western normative and ethnocentrism is an inarguable truth? How can someone who advocates against women’s disproportionate baring of sexual harassment and violence, be so convinced of men and women domains in marriage, government and activism?

If anything, this only solidifies that positions do not come packaged. Pro-life Feminists exist. Queer supportive and identifying Republicans exist. Etc. Etc. Positions, like identities are never simple.

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