that life thing

I’ll Keep Speaking Up

Let me preface this post by saying that I’m going to address the topic of racism and “white-privilege.” If you’re not sure you can handle these topics, please come back another day.

ill-keep-speaking-up-that-girl-myra-racism

For months, I have watched the absolute clown-show that has been paraded around as our election with a quiet frustration. But now, I’m tired of it. I’m ashamed of where we as a country and as a people are at. And as an immigrant, first generation Muslim-American, I can’t sit idly anymore.

While browsing Facebook this morning, I came across a friend’s post about how NFL ratings have dropped significantly due to conservative, white NFL fans refusing to watch if it means allowing players such as Colin Kaepernick to protest. She quoted this line specifically from what was written (via Shaun King): “If Donald Trump has done anything, he has deepened the racial divide in this country and emboldened tens of millions of white Americans to embrace their whiteness in ways I’ve never seen in my lifetime.” 

If you’re asking me, I agree with what is quoted above.

But a friend of my friend’s, a Caucasian lady, immediately went into defensive mode. “This is the biggest load of crap,” she noted. She went on to say that she “is just as discriminated by people” as my friend is. And then she threw in my favorite part — “racism exists to a very small degree.”

WTF. Are you kidding me?!

Since she has had her say, here’s my response. 

“This is the biggest load of crap.”
How is the article which directly quotes reports & provides statistics, crap? Is it crap because YOU don’t agree with it? Do you feel this way because the article is calling out the racial divide? Is it because you don’t feel that there is any truth to what is being said? The same lady made a remark that the NFL fan base is mixed, but I still don’t understand how that makes her point about the article being crap. Even though the fan base is mixed, if you take away the chunk that is against the players that are raising their fists in silent protests, the article is STILL correct. The NFL ratings are STILL significantly lowered. And there is STILL a racial divide.

She has been “just as discriminated by people.”
Okay, tell me how? You can’t just say the words and then not back them up with examples. If you’ve ever joined a protest, has anyone stopped you or said you are un-American? Have you been told to “go back to your country” just because you don’t look like you were born in, say, Texas? No?

Ok, then let me tell you about discrimination.

In high school, I was on the soccer team. My religion says we shouldn’t show bare skin, so I made the decision to play in pants. My coaches were fine with it, but I was told to write a letter to the Superintendent’s office. I had to inform them that I would be wearing pants due to a religious reason. Have you ever had to write a letter to a school district to inform them that you will be wearing shorts while you compete in the sport of your choice? I’m going to say the answer is probably no.

Let’s talk about 9/11. A few days after the attack, a guy I had known & been friends with since the 2nd grade called out in the middle of the hallway that the terrorists were probably distant family members of mine. Mind you, I was in high school & he shouted this during a period change. Can you imagine the pain, the mortification, the frustration? Probably not. I highly doubt you or your family has ever been accused of being terrorists.

Do people threaten you when you go to church because they believe that all Christians are bad? No? Ask the thousands of Muslims who now worry about going to their mosques due to the rise in hate-crimes. [Here are the Google results just based on my 2 second search for anti-Muslim hate crimes. Quite a lot, wouldn’t you say?]

Those are just a few examples of discrimination that I, and those around me, have experienced. If I were to ask everyone who reads this post to give me their experiences, I’m sure I would have a novel to share.

“Racism exists to a very small degree.”
Maybe for you it exists in a small degree, but for so many others, it doesn’t. Racism is real for those that are treated disrespectfully due to the color of their skin, their origin, or the way they speak. It is prevalent for those that are repeatedly told to “go back to their country” even if they were born in the US. Racism is affecting those who are going to pray only to find gun-toting folks hanging out, intimidating them as they enter God’s house.

If you still don’t see the evidence of racism being at an all-time high, then I advise you to take off your rose colored glasses & read this article. It does an incredible job breaking things down. Here’s another idea — have conversations with other non-Caucasian people. Who knows? Their life experiences may help you get out from behind the sheltered thoughts you’ve been believing.

I get it; these topics are hard to talk about. But, for goodness sake, can we stop trying to generalize everything just because we (1) don’t understand them or (2) don’t want to deal with them? Have real discussions, y’all. Talk to people who are different from you in color, origin, and thought. It will do amazing things for the way you think & what you learn.

As for me, I’m done sitting around in quiet frustration.

Because, we have the right to be heard & we have the right to be us.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenn
    November 3, 2016 at 2:55 PM

    I’m glad you’re speaking out. I think the thing that makes me the most sad about this election is realizing how many hateful and bigoted people there are out there. It is really disgusting and makes me sad that this is where our country is. I, naively I guess, thought that we were in a different place than that, but it’s clear that we’re not. It makes me sad that so many people in our country would support a man who is SO obviously racist, sexist, and just downright mean. I’ve actually been surprised when I’ve seen certain friends or friends of friends who I thought I knew, and realized that I just don’t understand where certain people come from. I don’t understand it…any of it.

  • Reply
    kerri @ cheshire kat
    November 3, 2016 at 3:11 PM

    girl seriously this post gives me all the feels. people NEED to talk about it. and not everyone gets it. i’m a white girl who believes this is real and i FEEL for what you and SO many others must go through, who are going through it what am i saying. it’s not less than it’s ever been, it’s real and out there and in our faces and we need to talk about it. ugh. i just. .no words. only love

    xoxo cheshire kat

  • Reply
    Allison Arnone
    November 3, 2016 at 7:46 PM

    YES. Kudos to you for saying something that some people might be scared to say. Truth hurts, doesn’t it? That woman who commented doesn’t want to face the reality that racism not only exists, but is now becoming more acceptable and outward because of a certain Republican candidate. Those are my beliefs. And while people may want to live in this pretend world where racism doesn’t exist, I know firsthand that it does when I see and hear examples of it ALL the time. Last night at the Country Music Awards, Beyonce performed a COUNTRY song from her latest album with the Dixie Chicks, a COUNTRY GROUP. I went on Twitter and saw HUNDREDS of people angrily writing that Bey “didn’t belong there.” Think about that language. Think about her race. You don’t “belong.” I’m still disgusted by it.

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    November 3, 2016 at 11:50 PM

    I’m with you. I’m disgusted by the actions and words of some of my fellow Americans—hell, some of my family members. I want to say I can’t believe it, but I can. I can believe that their fear and hatred runs so deep—which is worse, I think, than being surprised by it. I’ve seen it for years. I’ve seen it climbing to the surface. And over the past 2 years, I’ve seen it spill over, with nothing but help from big-mouthed bigots like Donald Trump and his ilk.

    Your friend is right. Her friend is ignorant. I’ve had someone in my family swear he has been discriminated against because he’s white. As if black men have the advantage over white men in most scenarios in American social politics? Please. It’s bull, and it’s disgusting that white people think that they have experienced one fraction of the discrimination that minorities have been subjected to during this country’s history.

    Your response is perfect. I could go on to echo every point, but it’ll get way too long here. I am so, SO sorry that jerk teenage said such a horrible thing to you in school. I’m sorry you feel that you have to bring up memories like that to make points that other people just refuse to hear, because they are afraid to be confronted by their own ignorance and bigotry. I’m sorry that this country is still in such a sad, sad place where hatred runs rampant.

    This is an amazing post, Myra. I’m so glad you wrote it, and I’m so glad I count a woman like you among my friends.

  • Reply
    Ivonne Guerra
    November 21, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    Great post! I wish I could just comment with the handclap emoji.

    It’s easy to say racism doesn’t exist (or exists to a “small degree”) when you have not felt it yourself.

    • Reply
      Myra
      November 24, 2016 at 9:02 AM

      Thank you, sweets!! We’ll insert our own handclap emoji! 🙂 I completely agree with people diminishing thoughts just because it hasn’t happened to them. It makes me sad that we can’t empathize with others anymore.

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