While waiting in traffic the other day, I saw a culture clash happen on the street. A middle-eastern man from some tradition unfamiliar to me was walking along the street, when he came to some steps where a group of young african americans were sitting, older children, not yet teenagers. The man was wearing a kind of dark-colored turban-like affair that tied in a knot just above the forehead and kind of projects a bit forward. The children laughed at him and called out remarks. Their faces, to me, looked full of innocent fun. He turned to them, with his back to me, and I observed the changes on the children's faces. They looked surprised, chagrined, a bit confused, their eyes widened, their smiles faded, and some took the shape of '0'. It looked as if they were asking themselves, why is this man angry? What did we do to make him angry? I think he was angry because he was kind of stabbing the air with his index finger, and when he turned away his face was very red, as much with embarassement as anger. His coloring was what I would call ginger, not really dark, as if he might be from yugoslavia, turkey, or some region a little bit north of what we call 'the middle east' but where there are lots of muslims.
Anyway, upon reflecting on this scene, I wondered if the african-american kids thought the man had a 'do-rag' on his head. Now, I haven't seen many do-rags lately, but I quite often saw young African-American men in my neigborhood in Philadelphia wearing silky black do-rags, wrapped tightly around their heads and tied in the front above the forehead, in just the manner of this turban. These young men had to take a certain amount of good-natured ribbing about their do-rags, and that just came with the territory. It was nothing to get angry and upset about.
I'm sure these kids thought the turban was some kind of do-rag, and the muslim (?) man felt attacked and ridiculed by their laughter. How sad that we all misunderstand each other so, it causes us all more pain than we need, it's a kind of needless pain.