GET BIG: MASCULINITY, CULTURE, AND HOW OUR BOYS BECOME
“what is a man, if not/ a thing that is just/ a boy that did not die?”
In this lecture Tariq discusses his own learning process about traversing his dual identities as an Arab and a Westerner growing up in a conservative, religious home in America. From the times he unwittingly passed to the moments he embraced both the flack and the flight of minority-American boyhood, Tariq discusses and builds a dialogue around the nuances of becoming himself, becoming a man, and becoming an individual that advocates to dismantle patriarchy in spite of having grown marginally benefiting from it.
*This lecture can also be catered to a general audience as well as an audience of people that identify as Arab-American.
STANDING ON SHOULDERS: THE ETHICS OF BUILDING AND APPROPRIATION
Cultural appropriation, double-standards, gentrification– they’ve been around for centuries, but the global conversation is only just catching up thanks to the advent of social media. Growing more aware of this, how do we as creators [whether of art, technology, fashion, etc] remain conscious of these cultural and social ethics to ensure that we are pushing work that advances rather than exploits. As a Palestinian, some of Tariq’s greatest dilemmas lie in understanding when he is telling a necessary story, or appropriating the tragedy of his people for the sake of art– ultimately, it is the difference between standing on shoulders and stepping on backs. This lecture delves into Tariq’s growth process, rules he’s learned over the years, and what it means to invent/innovate while also navigating the social and societal implications that come of crafting from a place of privilege. We also look at what it means to mature as a PoC, or otherwise, identity is often forged from an oppressive lens.
It is impossible to go a single day without hearing something negative about people of color or places like the Middle-East, whether fabricated or otherwise. If we are not careful, we can fall victim to the negativity and succumb to the damage only to becoming damaging ourselves, perpetuating a cycle of violence and oppression. As an Arab-American, Tariq has grown accustomed to an existence that is not without its share of islamaphobic or anti-Arab rhetoric. However, he is also aware that in spite of these aggressions, fellow community members may sometimes take on a colonialist mindset of their own and feed a harmful machine. Tariq uses these experiences to navigate how our communities can be progressive while also being repressed. Being a part of an oppressed community does not give one the right to oppress others [because sometimes that is all they know], but that lack of progressiveness also does not serve as a justification for the oppressor. This lecture delves into what it means to navigate pride and self-love in the midst of oppression, while also being cognizant of our potential to erect negative systems of our own.