On my way into the city this weekend, I was seated behind a woman and her seven or eight year-old little boy on the train. Across the aisle from them were two men, both with beards and both wearing turbans. Both brown, and according to the little kid, both heavily armed and dangerous.
The moment they boarded the train, the two had the little boy’s attention. He looked terrified. “Do they have guns?” He asked his mother, “Will they blow us up?”
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a little kid try to whisper, but they are about as good at that as they are at being quiet and keeping themselves clean. That being, not very good at all. So this boy is going on, speculating loud as can be, about whether these men are going to kill him and everyone else on the train. What does his mother do? Nothing. She just shrugs and shakes her head.
Meanwhile, I’m pretending to mind my own business, just like everyone else seated around me. Eyeing the two men over the top of my book that I had previously been reading but was now using to mask my face of horror, I could see that they were clearly uncomfortable. Yet, they remained unfazed. Honestly, I was astonished at how composed they were. And then I realized, they were probably used to it.
In America, we have a fiery culture of rampant islamophobia. For those of you who don’t know what that is:
dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.
I don’t know what it is with this place, but boy do we love hating on minorities. Like, damn, what happened to the happy melting pot of diversity? American culture is so blatantly islamophobic that it still isn’t seen as an issue that 36% those who appear to be Middle Eastern and/or Muslim are stopped for secondary screening by TSA agents, when only 3% of all those who travel are stopped in total. Like, what?
That doesn’t make sense. Let’s be real, if we really want to find those who are posing an actual threat to the security of this nation, we need to start stopping and frisking all anti social white males who look like they might want to shoot up a school. But, oh no, we aren’t going to do that. It would be so discriminatory and biased to search everyone who fits a certain profile just because a handful of unstable sociopaths happened to resemble them in appearance. Right?
Obviously not, because according to a bunch of people, Donald Trump included, we need to start not only being even more wary of our Muslim peers, but also tag them so we know who’s who and where to look for the suicide bomber.
Or even better, we can’t let in any Syrian refugees, God forbid that one of them decides to blow up Times Square, because that’s exactly what people fleeing a war plagued country are thinking of doing. Blowing up our beloved jumbotrons. Yup.
The fact of the matter is that there’s a greater chance of some American teenager walking into the movies with a gun than there is of an ISIS suicide bomber rolling up to a major city and decimating the place. It makes me wonder: What do people fear more? Gun control or the turban?
We have so much propaganda promoting this irrational fear that we don’t even notice it’s there. Have you ever watched one of those 9/11 documentaries? Those things used to scare the living daylights out of me. I clearly remember sitting on a plane next to a Muslim man and legitimately fearing for my life. Just like the little boy on the train.
It’s ridiculous. Why are we afraid of an entire people? Why do we fear a religion? I don’t get it. This is not something that only Muslim-Americans should be concerned with. This is everybody’s issue because if you too are afraid of the brown men, then you too are part of the problem.
Stop buying into it. I can assure you, it isn’t worth what it’s going to cost us.
Until next time,