Yasmina Reality

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What do “regular Americans” look like?

What do “regular Americans” look like?

By on April 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
I welcome you to answer the question, “What do regular Americans look like?” by commenting on this post.

I’m white.

I have blue eyes.

And a Chicago accent.

And I’m Muslim.

In times when I am faced with diversity issues, my mind goes back to the 3rd grade- and to the Chicago Public School system.  (Don’t we all have wierd frames of references for things stored away in our memories?)  I’m not exactly a spring chicken, (maybe early summer) so we are talking the 1970’s.  Fleetwood Mac, The Electric Company and metal roller skates that I used a key to loosen and tighten.  Yeah, that is my era.)  My teacher’s name was Miss Hale.  My social studies book was called, “The Melting Pot.”  (For anyone who can locate a copy of this book and get it to me … you will win a prize.  A prize of… my gratitude!  And a shout out here on yasminareality.com.)  We learned that America was a melting pot of immigrants from all different countries from all over the world.  Immigrants that came to the U.S. to live the dream; to pursue a greater life for themselves and their families.  3rd grade must be a time when ideas can really start to take shape, because things taught to me at this age have become engrained.

I not only listened to Fleetwood Mac, but I watched SchoolHouse Rock ad nauseum on Saturday mornings in between all the other cartoons.  Thanks to SchoolHouse Rock, kids from my era passed our 8th grade constitution tests!  You could literally hear kids in the classroom humming while they wrote the preamble for the exam, “We the peeeeeeeeople in order to form a more perfect unioooooon.  Establish justice ensure domestic tranquility eeeeeee eeeeee!”  “Melting Pot” must have been a buzz term in the 70’s because not only did my social studies book trick out the idea of a melting pot, so did my Saturday morning cartoon bonanza:

Great American Melting Pot- Schoolhouse Rock <———  You gotta watch it. And if you’re from my era, you’ll love it!

Now being white with blue eyes and a Chicago accent is one thing sure.  BUT!  (There is always a but, right?) I had an eastern European last name that sounded Russian.  I am not Russian- but my name sounded Russian.  And in the 1970s, it was during the cold war.  And anything Russian was like ALIEN …. EVIL …. AWFUL …. HORRIBLE…. (trust me on this.)  So, I would get discriminated against for the perception that I was Russian.  And to be honest- I have blocked most of those memories out- so I really have nothing of interest to blog on that except to say, being made to feel like an alien is WACK.

Fast forward.

Boston bombings.  Suspects are Chechen Muslims.  They do not represent 1.6 billion Muslims across the planet.  And Islam in its very core and essence, condemns the Boston bombings and everything that it stands for.  Because Islam strictly forbids acts of violence against the innocent.  In fact, I shudder thinking of the fate on the Day of Judgement for anyone who plants a bomb in a crowd and kills and maims people.  It is surreal.

Most rational people realize that crimes are committed each and every day.

By people of every skin color.

Every eye color.

Every race.

Every nationality.

Every religious affiliation.

Rational people realize that judging random people you see on the street that share one of the above attributes with criminals that committ crimes against humanity, is illogical, unfair and discriminatory.

That’s why it breaks my heart to see things like this come across my desk (warning- there is profanity.):

 Amira

Amira who wears the head scarf, called hijab, which is her choice to wear as an expression of modesty in Islam, was verbally attacked by a person who is upset apparently about the Boston Bombers being Muslim.

I’m pretty much going to wrap this blog piece up at this point.  I’m not one to stand up on a soap box and shout, “Thou shalt not treat Americans like they do not live in a melting pot like Miss Hale taught me in 3rd grade!  Thou shall love thy neighbor even if she wears a scarf on her head!”

Naw.  Not gonna do that.

But the topic of backlash following the Boston bombing incident is on my radar.  As a Muslim activist and a volunteer for the #MyJihad Public Education Campaign, I am concerned about backlash and the safety of my Muslim brothers and sisters across the country. (And all people of all faiths and nationalities who suffer discrimination.)

So — you will be hearing more about this topic from me.  From the campaign. And from others.  As we urge people everywhere to not lose sight of our American values and to stay in tune with the rational side of your brain.

And I will leave you with this thought:

“Don’t judge a person by their cover.”

Stay Tuned!

Thanks. 😉

Sadaf Syed's iCover

Photo by: Sadaf Syed: http://www.sadafsyed.com/

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About the Author

About the Author: I'm a Writer and Muslim Activist. I'm also a Board Member of the #MyJihad Public Education Campaign. Follow my blog at yasminareality.com or follow me on Twitter: @yasmina_reality. I'm also now on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YasminaReality Peace! .

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