“Please tell me they’re not Muslim” was the first thing I said when I heard about the Boston bombing attackers, and again with the attack on the British soldier after that.
I found myself hoping that the men who did these things were of any other shade than brown or of any other religion.
Ever since I can remember, I get upset when I see people act in a way that re-affirms the exact stereotypes they are trying to fight, and even more when people who don’t know any better generalize.
This time though was one of the first that I felt physically upset.
I was shocked at the way Media Outlets made assumptions about religion before any verification was made (even though sadly the assumptions were right).
I immediately felt protective of the people in my life that I love and care for that are already judged by their traditions and the emotion that was brought up made me realize this was something for me to explore.
I had questions:
Why do some people convert to Islam and become violent?
Do people that commit any sort of crime in the name of religion not see what it is doing to people of the same religion that promote peace?
Basically: What makes them this way?
And then my guilt kicked in.
Why was I concerned more with who the attackers were than the victims?
Did I have no compassion for these people that lost their lives and their loved ones?
I concluded that the greatest act of compassion I could take was not posting a Facebook status and then doing nothing – but educating myself about why these things happen in the first place, and starting from the source to find what triggers the aftermath.
The prevention instead of the treatment, so to speak.
SOMEONE ONCE ASKED ME WHAT I WOULD SAY IF I WAS ON STAGE IN A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE AND HAD ONLY 30 SECONDS TO MAKE A STATEMENT I THOUGHT WOULD LEAVE AN IMPACT. THIS IS WHAT I TOLD HER: “I WOULD SAY: LOOK FOR WHAT SCARES YOU ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE, THAT MAKES YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, AND GO LEARN ABOUT IT.”
People have always joked that I’m not a “typical American girl” because I get along with people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds without being uncomfortable or making assumptions.
I always just laughed a little bit and didn’t think much of it.
Really, I think that if I was any different, I would be using my race as an excuse to remain ignorant.
But my emotional response to the recent attacks made me realize that my interest in the world, people, cultures, and cultural habits is the reason I’m here.
I haven’t quite figured out how yet, but it has been an exciting realization so far.
Can’t wait to share more of the journey with you!