Sophomore at UB
Everyday our children face challenges for being who they are. Both girls and boys encounter experiences that leave them confused or hurt. On an average, almost every single child has experienced discrimination in either their school or outside world. Just recently, a girl reported that her fellow classmate teased her about wearing the hijab and bullied her. She’s not the only one that receives this type of judgement; we have all heard and seen on the news the countless moments of how teenagers, especially Muslim students, have been bullied for their identity. A student in the 12th grade once walked into school after the election during 2016 and her classmate commented, ‘so when are you packing your bags?’ She felt very unsafe and insecure at school and as she is visibly a Muslim woman, it made her feel scared everywhere else she went after the 2016 election. Muslim boys don’t encounter as much being that they do not wear the headgear however they do receive other types of discrimination. For instance, kids from all ages have gotten suspicious looks from their peers just for having a Muslim name. A kid in the ninth grade, created a clock brilliantly, was discriminated against and arrested because he was named Ahmed Mohamed. Two of the most possibly Muslim names in the world. He ended up on the front page of the newspapers and later on he got lucky enough for most of the world to hear including getting an invitation to the white house. On the contrary, not all Muslim kids are lucky enough to end up on the front page. Therefore, we should understand that we need to do something for all our children.
Discrimination has been there from the beginning but to improve is the goal. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and so many others are an exemplary situation how a very extreme situation was improved but not totally resolved. “The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step,” a great quote that sums up what we need to do as parents, colleagues, and peers. We need to speak out against these acts and bring it to light. Rallying for support and shedding light in our community is our job. If we can get awareness on what Islam is and who Muslims are, just beginning in our small communities, we can break racial barriers faster than we can imagine. In addition, most of our parents and grandparents don’t exactly know what the situation is or how to interact when their children bring it up. We need to be there for the children too. A lot of the times children never speak about these issues with family or friends because they won’t understand or they are embarrassed as individuals but we have to make sure we are making it comfortable for them to talk about it. It’s important to give our children a shoulder to cry on. Our job is to support our children, create more awareness about Islam, work with our communities no matter race or religion, and stand up for everyone. We only have to be human to understand universal feelings such as hurt and pain. Everyone should work closely with their families and friends to work on building a better space for everyone to feel comfortable and respected in. These children are our future and we need them to work collaboratively to improve the state of our nation.
Today, we are still fighting for so many more rights but we can’t deny that we have made a few steps more, in our thousand miles journey. Hence, I say we keep fighting.