My Folks Don't Know My Teenage Sister Is Eloping. Help!

Welcome to Ask Willie D, Rocks Off's advice column where the Geto Boys MC answers reader questions about matters, in his own words, "funny, serious or unpredictable." Something on your mind? Ask Willie D!

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Photo by Mario Jaramillo
MY GROUP MEMBER MAKES JOKES ABOUT MY RELIGION

Dear Willie D:

I am a Black Muslim living in the U.S. who serves as a mentor for a male youth organization in Texas. Occasionally I have noticed that one of the mentors who is a Christian will make negative comments about my religion. He tries to put it in humorous context, but I have yet to find anything funny.

Whenever we go to a restaurant as a group I always double-check with the waiter to make sure my food is not made with pork products. Without fail, he will seize the moment to make fun of the verity that I don't eat pork. He also frowns on my reference to God as Allah, which simply means, "The God" [the same God as Christians believe in]. It's just that we do not attribute Jesus or the Holy Spirit to him.

The guy is a pain in the side. If it wasn't for the young men I serve I would have long ago disassociated myself with the organization. Why do Christians think they have a right to impose their religion on the rest of us?

Black Muslim:

As you know, with being a member of such a diverse religion, it is very dangerous and ignorant to generalize. Not all Christians think they have a right to impose their religion on the rest of us. But I hear what you're saying. It boils down to people fearing what they don't understand. Your group member is ignorant to Muslim beliefs, so teach him. Pull him to the side and tell him how offensive it is to you when he makes fun of your religion.

Remind him that you don't disrespect his religion, so you would appreciate it if he didn't disrespect yours. Express to him that if there's anything about the Muslim religion he wants to know, you will be happy to inform him and clear up any misconceptions. This is really about simply respecting the rights and culture of others. I'm not Jewish, but what is it going to hurt if I wish them Happy Hanukkah?


BOSSY CUSTOMER

Dear Willie D:

I work at a donut shop in the Phoenix area. Every morning the same old lady comes to the shop and harasses the employees. She complains about everything: the coffee is either too cold or too hot; the table needs cleaning; you're taking too long; the donuts don't taste the same; there's nowhere to park. It's always something. It's gotten to the point that it's amusing.

We now take bets on which employee she will single out to insult next. I think she is lonely because she comes into the shop every day depressed and grumpy. I'm helping my brother organize a community event next month and I was thinking about inviting her, but I'm afraid she may embarrass me if I ask her. What do you think?

Afraid of Embarrassment:

I think that's a beautiful idea. So often when people present themselves in an impolitic manner we are quick to dismiss them. You never know what someone is going through. Sometimes all it takes is one kind gesture to give hope to the hopeless and love to the loved-less. Hostility is unsettled but compassion is immovable.


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