My Pride Blown Away

June 21, 2013
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“Get out of this country you terrorist!” “You are Osama Bin Laden’s son.” Comments like these were displayed on Zayn Malik’s Twitter page daily and are now imprinted in his mind. Racism is not something that someone should laugh about. It affects a great amount of people in this world-including me. Malik is in a popular boy band, One Direction. His mother is from England, his father is from Pakistan, and he is Muslim. He always has a smile on his face for every concert and photoshoot-but racist comments are still on his mind, and more of them keep coming. They cannot just lose their place in someones mind, they are permanently implanted in their memory.

“Terrorist”. This word is not one that you can play with. It is not funny to see an innocent person crumble apart from words like this. Personally, I witness this frequently and I am also a victim of racism. I used to be so proud of who I am, a Persian, Middle Eastern, Muslim girl. My point of view of who I am changed in an instant. One of my classmates-one of my best friends-came up to me and asked me, “Where are you from?” I sat up tall, proud to share about my personal life and told him “I am Iranian.”

“Oh, so you’re a terrorist! Stop bombing our country!”

I just wanted to run away and try to erase his words from my memory. All I was capable of doing was to try to explain to him that he has no right to call me that, but my eyes were already filled with tears and I choked up, unable to say a word. I just looked him straight in his eyes, trying to see if he was joking and if he would take back what he said. He just went to his locker and started shoving his books into his backpack in a messy manner. I was shocked at how anyone could ever say such words. From then on, when people would ask me for my ethnicity, I would hesitate and try to change the subject so that I would not have to answer. This is not how someone should feel. This is what racism does.

Another day at school, I was sitting in my class, waiting for my teacher to enter the room. One of my good friends was sitting next to me and we were having a discussion on the test in math class. All of sudden she looks at me and asks, “Do you like being Muslim?”

I was thrown back by the question. She asked me as if I was from a different species. How could I even respond to a bizarre question like this. Thankfully, the teacher came into the classroom that moment and I didn’t have to give her an answer. The list of racist comments that I have been told are endless. I feel as if these are never going to stop, even though I stick up for myself and I explain to everyone that I am not a terrorist and only less than 1% of the Middle East was included in 9-11-Iran being no part of that.

I have also been a witness of my friend who has been a victim of racism as well. She is Indian and several people come up to her and ask for a Coke, as if she worked at 711. This is not right and she knows it, but she laughs anyways. She laughs because she wants to trick herself into thinking that it is okay, so she wouldn’t get too upset. But it is not okay and I started to stick up for her, but she insisted that it was alright. It seemed as if I cared more about it than her, which is false. She is going to remember those words forever, no matter how old she is- I know I will.

We all need to join together to fight against racism. Everyone can visit the Let’s Fight Racism campaign on Facebook to share ideas for combatting racism in your community. We can take those ideas and come up with a way to bring racism to an end. Racism can lead to bullying and to an extent, war. It is definitely an issue that needs to be solved quickly because all it is doing is hurting innocent people. Everyone should feel confident and be proud of who they are. If we are all equal, why aren’t we being treated the same?

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