Muslimah Media Watch has a two-part review of writer Ali Eteraz’s memoir “Children of the Dust,” about (in the author’s words) “a thoroughly Islamic childhood and about a boy’s attempt not merely to know his identity, but to assert his sovereignty. (Some parts of it are about the girls he met along the way).” The MMW review focuses specifically on the portrayal of women and girls:
While the book’s emphasis is on Eteraz’s own personal upbringing and understanding of himself, I was intrigued by his relationships with girls and women throughout the course of the memoir. In Children of Dust, girls and women serve as mere sexual interests for Eteraz—he is unable to form long-lasting relationships with women without sexual motives. Even with sexual motives, he is unable to form any kind of healthy relationship with women.
Eteraz describes his first sexual experience when he is seven years old living in Pakistan: “I learned of sin from a girl named Sina.” He has Sina undress and exposes himself to her. Eteraz does not elaborate on a prior, non-sexual relationship with her (or with any other girl, for that matter). His mother admonishes him: “Good boys don’t play games with girls” (19). The disturbing episode during his childhood foreshadows his subsequent relationships with women: they merely serve a sexual purpose in Eteraz’s relationships. Read more…
Part II of the review can be found here.
LIE columnist Liz Dwyer reviews the exhibit America I Am: The African American Imprint at Los Angelista’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness:
“Mommy, I don’t want to be in this room anymore.” My six year-old’s eyes stared at a glass case containing a white hood and robe.
“You’re scared?” I asked. His head nodded yes in response so I said, “Just imagine how it must’ve been to see real men wearing those white hoods and robes, riding up to your house and setting a cross on fire in your front lawn or burning down your entire neighborhood.”
His eyes widened and I realized I was scaring my child even more. Part of me wanted him to be scared, wanted him to feel what his ancestors felt so that he’d know what a sacred legacy he comes from – one of bravery despite terrifying circumstances. I wanted him to see why we have the responsibility to let our own lives be examples of justice and racial unity. But he’s six and there’s a time and a place for everything, so I distracted him by pointing out something less frightening. “Hey look, baby, here’s the original charter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. That’s over 100 years old and did you know your daddy’s dad was an Alpha?” Read more…