The Victim of Ignorance and Racism | Teen Ink

The Victim of Ignorance and Racism

May 3, 2012
By Nourab SILVER, Burke, Virginia
Nourab SILVER, Burke, Virginia
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“What I’ve learned is not to change who you are, because eventually you’re going to run out of new things to become.

Have you ever faced racism right in the face? Have you ever been the victim of somebody's pure ignorance? Have you ever been so offended by a derogatory term that you start to doubt the society you live in? I have.

It was just another regular day. I decided to get a tan from the nearest tanning salon on Broad street, called Fan Tan. I walked in the store with a positive attitude, ready to embark on an experience I've never tried before.. tanning that is. The owner of the store, middle aged white male, asked me what my nationality was. I felt a little puzzled that he wanted to know this information when I was just going for a tan. I told him I was half Egyptian and half Lebanese. I will never forget his response. He looked at me and said "Oh, so you're a Muslim terrorist."

I could not believe my ears. This man, that I met literally two minutes prior, just called me a terrorist. I have never been so offended in my entire life. It was the first time I faced racism right in the face. I've heard of many stories about racism but I've never had an experience where I was the victim. It makes you rethink people in general. You start to wonder, if this guy that I just met has the audacity to call me a terrorist, what do other people think? If racism is so blatantly put out there, what sign are we giving our future children? Are they going to step into a world of discrimination and prejudice? I would be sounding unreasonable if I were to say that racism is going to stop eventually and everyone is just going to accept one another. That's not the ugly truth. The truth is, people are going to put you down for whatever reason. It may be because of your skin color, heritage, gender, you name it. It's still going to exist.

I've realized that the only way to become at peace with situations like these is to be the bigger person. Look down at their ignorance with pure disgust and be proud of the fact that you are more educated and would be taken more seriously as a person in this society. Making fun of someone because they are of a certain heritage is pure ignorance at its finest. What makes that okay? It's 2012. I didn't know people that ignorant still existed in this world. Yes, this traces back to 9/11. The idea of generalizations and how Muslims were thrown under the bus and placed under a microscope. It just isn't fair. Anyone who generalizes a major group of innocent people that have nothing to do with the matter shouldn't be taken seriously as human beings.

The point to remember: Racism is still going to exist wherever you go. Whether you're walking to class, picking up a gallon of milk from the market, or just walking into a store, racism can sneak up on you. Obviously I had no idea a situation like this would happen to me walking into a tanning salon. But it did. I've learned to accept it. In a way, I'm glad this happened. I can already tell that this experience is making me a stronger person.

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