It's a fact— everyone is ignorant in some way or another. Ignorance is our deepest secret. And it is one of the scariest things out there, because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don't know it or don't want to admit it. Here is a quick test: If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant. Before it is too late, go out there and find someone who, in your opinion , believes, assumes, or considers certain things very strongly and very differently from you, and just have a basic honest conversation. It will do both of you good.
As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil. Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy-derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism and mutation of Judaism and Christianity into the various rival forms of Islam. Much of the time, I do concur with Voltaire, but not without acknowledging that Judaism is dialectical. There is, after all, a specifically Jewish version of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, with a specifically Jewish name—the Haskalah —for itself. The term derives from the word for 'mind' or 'intellect,' and it is naturally associated with ethics rather than rituals, life rather than prohibitions, and assimilation over 'exile' or 'return.' It's everlastingly linked to the name of the great German teacher Moses Mendelssohn, one of those conspicuous Jewish hunchbacks who so upset and embarrassed Isaiah Berlin. (The other way to upset or embarrass Berlin, I found, was to mention that he himself was a cousin of Menachem Schneerson, the 'messianic' Lubavitcher rebbe .) However, even pre-enlightenment Judaism forces its adherents to study and think, it reluctantly teaches them what others think, and it may even teach them how to think also.
Once again she would arrive at a foreign place. Once again be the newcomer, an outsider, the one who did not belong. She knew from experience that she would quickly have to ingratiate herself with her new masters to avoid being rejected or, in more dire cases, punished. Then there would be the phase where she would have to sharpen her senses in order to see and hear as acutely as possible so that she could assimilate quickly all the new customs and the words most frequently used by the group she was to become a part of--so that finally, she would be judged on her own merits.
The Americans are very patriotic, and wish to make their new citizens patriotic Americans. But it is the idea of making a new nation literally out of any old nation that comes along. In a word, what is unique is not America but what is called Americanisation. We understand nothing till we understand the amazing ambition to Americanise the Kamskatkan and the Hairy Ainu. We are not trying to Anglicise thousand of French cooks or Italian organ-grinders. France is not trying to Gallicise thousands of English trippers or German prisoners of war. America is the only place in the world where this process, healthy or unhealthy, possible or impossible, is going on. And the process, as I have pointed out, is not internationalization. It would be truer to say it is the nationalization of the internationalized. It is making a home out of vagabonds and a nation out of exiles.
To plant a family! This idea is at the bottom of most of the wrong and mischief which men do. The truth is, that, once in every half century, at longest, a family should be merged into the great, obscure mass of humanity, and forget all about its ancestors.
It’s a great honor, m’ijo. We know that. I’m sure everyone in Ysleta is proud of you. But this is who you are," she said, for a moment scanning the dark night air and the empty street. A cricket chirped in the darkness. "God help you when you go to this ‘Havid.’ You will be so far away from us, from everything you know. You will be alone. What if something happens to you? Who’s going to help you? But you always wanted to be alone; you were always so independent, so stubborn." "Like you.
Watching Paris is Burning, I began to think that the many yuppie-looking, straight -acting, pushy, predominantly white folks in the audience were there because the film in no way interrogates whiteness. These folks left the film saying it was amazing, marvellous, incredibly funny, worthy of statements like, Didn’t you just love it? And no, I didn’t love it. For in many ways the film was a graphic documentary portrait of the way in which colonized black people (in this case black gay brothers, some of whom were drag queens) worship at the throne of whiteness, even when such worship demands that we live in perpetual self-hate, steal, go hungry, and even die in its pursuit. The "we" evoked here is all of us, black people/people of color, who are daily bombarded by a powerful colonizing whiteness that seduces us away from ourselves, that negates that there is beauty to be found in any form of blackness that is not imitation whiteness.
One couple described the effects as being, dated hard, married quick, and then ignored. They got into church alright, but the church never got into them; they were let in easily enough, but they never felt they were counted on.
I realised with a prickle of discomfort why he bothered me: it was not so much that I resented the hearty backslapping bonhomie of English upper-class gentlemen, for I could tolerate it well enough in Sidney on his own. It was the way Sidney fell so easily into this strutting group of young men, where I could not, and the fear that he might in some ways prefer their company to mine. Once again, I felt that peculiar stab of loneliness that only an exile truly knows: the sense that I did not belong, and never would again.
Julia, is everything all right? her father said in a raspy voice. It’s three in the morning, m’ija. I’m sorry. I have to talk to you; it’s something very important. Papá, Mamá, I’ve made a decision, and I wanted to share it with you. I’ve decided to convert to the Muslim religion. What? Pilar screamed. Are you out of your mind? Julia, what are you saying? I want to be a Muslim. I’ve even chosen a new Muslim name, Aliyah. Julia, are you drunk? No, Papá, I’m not drunk. I’ve thought about this for a very long time. I think it’s the right thing for me, a way to follow God.