Do you have an opinion on Jordan Peterson? (What?!? Canadians two weeks in a row?) I’m ambivalent, having enjoyed much of the limited exposure I’ve had to him, but (to his great consternation, I’m sure) disagreed with some of his thoughts.
However, when the guy who’s been labeled “the most influential public intellectual in the Western world” releases a video called “Message to Muslims,” my head cocks to the side like a curious German Shephard puppy.
You can watch the video here. It’s six minutes long, but for people like us, probably worth the watch.
I find a couple of things worth noting:
- Gutsy move on Peterson’s part to produce this video. When a celebrity says something to 1.8 billion people, some will certainly love you, but with equal certainty others will call for you to be flayed.
- The tone of paternalism is breath-taking! Peterson offers simplistic solutions and calls Muslims to get along the same way I challenge my daughters to not fight with each other as they unload the dishwasher!
I wonder how I (and other Christians) would feel about a Muslim speaking to all of us this way? Imagining some of my response, I’m afraid it indicates I have a heart-level sense of superiority to Muslims. Dang it.
A guy I follow on Instagram, khaledbeydoun says, “This video. . . has to be one of the most condescending, tone deaf, inherently Islamophobic rants I’ve seen in some time. While sitting from his perch, it sounds as if Peterson is a parent scolding his children.”
Even the Muslims fans of Peterson seem to be distressed by this video. “Dr Peterson, I’ve been following your work for years now, and your lessons helped me process and go through a lot of challenges I had in life. However, I’m disappointed by how shallow and presumptuous this video was.”
I’m no Jordan Peterson, but I’m reminded to consider afresh the ways I think about Muslims and the language I use to both talk about and to them.