What I Learned From My Mom's Encounter With Discrimination
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

What I Learned From My Mom's Encounter With Discrimination

The reality is that prejudice will always be an issue, not just in the United States, but in all parts of the world.

80
What I Learned From My Mom's Encounter With Discrimination
Flickr.com

I couldn't believe what had just happened.

Wait, let me rephrase that. I didn't want to believe what had just happened. Here, in the middle of Oak Tree Road, a hub of Indian activity, a white man in a pick-up truck had just drove by and shouted "Happy Halloween!" to my mom, who had been wearing her religious garb. I knew sticking my middle finger up wouldn't solve anything, but it was my first impulse, triggered by anger and spite. I knew there were still ignorant, prejudiced people out there, I just didn't know why. And when you or your loved ones are directly targeted by someone's bigoted views, the issue becomes all the more real and personal.

As a Muslim living in America, I have thankfully never been treated differently by my peers. I've never been the brunt of cruel japes, or been suddenly attacked due to my religious beliefs. The individuals I surround myself with are open-minded, accepting, and understand that the actions and thoughts of a few don't taint the rest of an ethnic or religious group. They have enough sense not to label Muslims as terrorists, and African Americans as criminals.

Until the incident with my mom, I hadn't experienced the effects of prejudice, either directly or through someone I knew. My "worst" encounter with harassment occurred during 3rd grade, when I was teased for having large glasses at a sports camp. It seems so trivial now, and because of this, I wrongly remained aloof from the detrimental nature of prejudice. The "if I'm not personally affected, why should I care" mentality is as dangerous as it is selfish. By not becoming aware of what's happening to others, and passively allowing such hateful attitudes to affect the lives of so many, only adds fuel to the fire.

This is not to say I am innocent of making snap judgments about people I glance at on the street. If it's dark out and I'm walking alone in a residential neighborhood, I would unconsciously be wary of seeing an African American male striding towards me. I don't know anything about this man, and yet my heart skips a beat and I'm painfully aware that I am by myself. Why? Why is this still such a pervasive issue? Perhaps it's because I have grown up with the social stereotype that African Americans have aggressive tendencies. Perhaps it's been ingrained in my psyche, to the point where that's the first thought that flashes through my mind. At the end of the day, they're all just excuses for constructing a negative first impression of a person.

I understand the need to be cautious. I understand that there are those who have violent intentions. Safety is of the utmost importance, and so I agree that sometimes, airport checks need to be more severe, and screening protocols more thorough. And believe me, I know how difficult it is to not immediately jump to conclusions solely based on a person's appearance. What I struggle to comprehend, however, is how people stick to their narrow-minded views even after getting to know someone. They refuse to accept the person for who they are, and instead fixate on their preconceived notions of the individual. We may not be able to control the surfacing of prejudiced thoughts due to societal influences, but we can definitely look past those thoughts and get to know people through an unbiased lens.

The reality is that prejudice will always be an issue, not just in the United States, but in all parts of the world. It has plagued us in the past, and it will continue to do so in the future. It therefore becomes our responsibility to be aware of this, and to actively prevent anyone from being subjected to such negative treatment.

Because what happened to my mom will never happen again under my watch.


Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

There's More To A Relationship Than Netflix

Summertime is only 93 days of the year, Find something to do!

2297
Tallie Ammar

Summertime is ideal for more than just hanging out and binging your favorite TV series with your friends. Although summer does bring rain and thunderstorms which is perfect for those binging days, take advantage of those nice and sunny days. There is so many opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy the season before the snow starts to come back. Here are 25 interesting dates that are doable almost anywhere for any age.

Keep Reading... Show less
Leilani Encarnacion

Philadelphia has its beauty, but some of you may have not been to some of the most beautiful hidden spots in the city. This summer is a chance for new adventures and exploring, so here are a few places that I highly recommend you should visit at least once.

Keep Reading... Show less

To my boyfriend's parents,

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How Not To Go Insane During Summer

Holy cow. If you're like me, you are bored out of your mind taking summer classes all the way until August. Then just to come right back and take more classes for the Fall?

It is like I am going insane.

4916
Pexels
https://www.pexels.com/photo/sunglasses-sunset-summer-sand-46710/

I mean, I am taking rigorous classes which allow me to devote a lot of my time towards them, but still...it is only two classes. By the time I get done, I have a whole half of the day full of nothing. I end up just sitting on my phone for most of the day instead of doing something practical.

So here I have compiled a list of how to keep yourself from not going crazy!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Week One of Being A Freshie Again

August rolls around, and school starts again...

4054
Week One of Being A Freshie Again
Dear Freshman Me,

Most of us officially embarked on the journey of college. Yay! more school, how great is that? (Sarcasm people) This past week has been my first week at this amazing university. I've been finding all of the neat little short cuts that save me 10 minutes to get to a class, or just allow me to de-stress a little when I feel over whelmed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments