By Mariam Alata
Unis Middle School
It’s so typical.
Stereotypical degradation and humiliation of minority ethnic groups is still being perpetrated and practiced toward many people, Including Arabs.
Even though the aftermath of 9/11 heightened the hatred and racism bottled up inside many people, we Arabs continue to do the things average Americans do. Discriminatory behavior and beliefs directed toward all Arab Americans and Muslims causes great tension among the many ethnic groups that coexist in this world.
Arab Americans notice a friction in the world, like borders that no one can cross. Now more than ever, people are more cautious of Arabs. If anyone were to cross the boundary separating us, caution could turn into warning and we would do anything to survive.
During the everyday life of an everyday Arab child, we experience discrimination from our classmates, friends and even some staff. Words such as terrorist, Arab, boater and curses are thrown at us daily. Now, even the smallest child is feeling hatred that strikes harder and deeper than any knife or gun could. Labels haunt us and tell us that we don’t belong here.
Like anyone in the world, we walk home, kiss our mother’s hand and walk into a warm and inviting house where you think you won’t hear or see the cruel outside world. As you walk to your father, you notice a newspaper in his hand. You walk closer and, on the front page, you see a picture of an Arab coquette, drinking with a few men.
You stop dead in your tracks and read the captions, “What Arabs really are…”? You’re not safe, not even here, not even in your own home, from the media’s message.
The media continue to insult Arab Americans. Every time they come back, it is more harsh and cruel. The new TV series, “All American Muslims,” is not making things any easier. It shows a different side of Arabs: Arabs with tattoos, Arabs who drink and such.
Nada Alhamdi, an 8th grade student here in McCollough-Unis School, said, “Sometimes, I wish I could forget what the media says. Sometimes, I wish I could just block out everyone and focus on my studies and life, but I honestly don’t know if that’s possible. Not when everyone is treating us like this.
“I have to care about all the discrimination they’re pointing at us, because they are talking about me in a way, and they have no right to judge me if they don’t really know me.” Nada continues. “I just wish they would stop.”