I grew up in neighborhoods and schools where the minority was the majority and Caucasians were the minority. African-Americans, Africans, Asians, East Indians, Mexicans, and everything mixed or everything else were my world up until I entered the work force. As children we didn’t realize the color of our skin meant more than just the color of our skin. We were all children and our differences were not differences but interesting variations of our race – the human race. We had no boundaries to cross or prejudices to be concerned about. We played, we laughed, we sang, we danced, and we learned together. It was not until we got older that prejudices formed and we wondered if it was always there and we didn’t know about it or did they just surface in the later years?
It all seems sadder now that even worse prejudices exist even today.
While walking yesterday with my dogs, I witnessed a near vehicular homicide. It happened by a mosque, where people were just coming out of – I’m assuming – a service. It was on a business campus with sparse traffic and no sidewalks, but I was still worried about walking the dogs on the streets, having lost my way out of a park. A gentleman crossed the path in front of me with his companion, both dressed in traditional Islamic attire. Suddenly a car pulled up fast and furious, coming straight towards the gentleman, speeding up as if trying to run him down. My heart stopped as my dogs were also in the same path and I didn’t think I could move fast enough to pick them up and move out of the way. The gentleman jumped as the car came within inches of him. He did not curse of swear for such an idiot trying to kill him, but instead looked in curiosity at the car and then towards his friend. ‘Why would someone do that?’ they seemed to say to each other. As the car drove past me I noticed the angered, furrowed face of its Caucasian driver. In shock that someone could be so mean and in front of witnesses, I knew that it was not regular road rage that sparked the incident.
Moving on and trying to calm my nerves, I once again found the park and in its midst there was a picnic party with inflatable bounce castles for kids. I imagined it was a birthday party for a girl who liked castles, and my spirits gave way to a smile. This particular picnic consisted of predominantly people also in Islamic and Arab attire, probably about 300 of them, a huge event. I felt hunger pangs and remembered middle eastern food – lamb kabobs and baba ghanouj – then wished I still had my Arab boyfriend. He would have gone over to them, claimed to be a cousin of some sort, then come back to me with a couple plates of food. It was seeing this family type of affair that brought my hopes up again about the world.
I was thus in a hopeful mood until later that day when I read my Facebook feed, and in its midst, a tirade against Muslims by someone I had called a friend. This so-called friend had made disparaging remarks about Muslims and of the President himself before, but I discounted it as ravings of bipolar disorder or someone simply messed up from life and needed attention. I am now in the midst of deciding whether or not to keep this person as a “friend” on Facebook for I suddenly feel hurt for my other friends who are Islamic, Jewish, Atheist, or any other religion this person deems wrong.
In any case, I am saddened by prejudice.