One World, Many Colors “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character. ”~Martin Luther King, Jr. Discrimination is one of the world’s major concerns today. Many people are not aware of how much it still exists in our schools, work places, and society. Discrimination has indeed changed many lives and many people’s way of thinking about other ethnic groups and religions. Discrimination is looked at differently depending on the person.
Discrimination also leads to people being racist against how one thinks about something, such as religion. I feel that discrimination is a plague in our society that only causes destruction. To some, being prejudice is a way of life, and for others, it is an offensive term representing closed-mindedness. Being discriminative or being racist develops from different cultural values, ethnic backgrounds, as well as physical appearances. As the devastating terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th in Manhattan, New York, has changed the way people think about Muslims around the world.
I was only 7 years old; when the most significant decision was taken in my life, shaping me what I am today. This is when I started wearing a hijaab. My decision started to concern my teachers at school. My teachers wanted to have an interview with my parents. I did not know what was going on, I was lost. Why was everyone talking about me as I walked by? Why were my teachers acting differently towards me? As I told my parents about my teachers wanting to talk with them, they were also confused and a bit scared.
The next day, after school, my parents came in for the interview. As they settled down, my teachers’ first questions were “was she forced to wear the hijaab? “Is it necessary for Nawal to wear this? ” My parents calmly told my teachers that it was my own decision to wear the hijaab and they had not forced me to wear it. It was then that I understood why my parents were called in to have a talk. I felt heartbroken as I realized why everyone was acting so different with me. The interview with my teachers put me in the spotlight.
This is when I found out what racism meant. It was like putting bricks together to create wall of hate, which we may never be able to bring down. This was totally unfair and unnecessary to judge someone by the decisions they make in life. Thousands of people have faced a similar situation at least once in their lives and yet continue to be treated harshly. Why is this world so cruel? Should I stop wearing the hijaab? Sometimes I felt like I didn’t belong and that I should stop going to school.
Everyone at school started to call me names and they teased me by asking me if I was bald. There were times where I would hide from the teacher and hide inside the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to go out for recess. Even after my classmates teased me I tried to fit in and ignore the fact that I was being teased. I started to realize that I shouldn’t care about what others say to me because everyone has had difficulties in life and somehow got over them. However, I was still against the fact that people were being discriminating to me because I wore a hijaab.
Unimagined was a biography I read about a boy born and raised up in England but with Pakistani ancestry. Imran was a Muslim boy that on one hand wanted to learn about his religion and on the other hand was teased by his fellow classmates because he was Muslim. Imran had a lot of ups and downs in his life in the beginning and hated people that were racist against different cultures and religions. He always had people come up to him when he was a little kid and try to change his mind about Islam, but he never let that happen as he knew what he was doing.
There was a part in the book where there were two American priests that came to his school to give morning lectures and sing religious songs. They approached Imran and told him that they needed to talk to him. He went with the two men they sat down in the library and told him about how Islam isn’t such a good religion. At this point Imran was really confused as to which was true and which was not. Imran was also thinking about the fact that people made so much fun of him being Muslim and living in England. He was always teased about his religion and his culture.
Imran did not know what was right and what was wrong. One of the priests tells Imran that “the Quran comes from Satan and its purpose is to mislead people away from being saved by Christianity” (Ahmad 133). As Imran kept hearing this from the two priests he got very upset and doubted his own religion. Imran also had a neighbour that constantly threaten or moreover abused him and his family because they were Muslims. “He makes a fuss about our new extension, tears down part of the fence at the back and puts a sign on a big piece of paper which says ‘Wogs keep off’”(Ahmad 104)
Eventually, discrimination and being racist is something no one can live without. After reading this part in the book I started to realize how there are people that go around trying to brainwash or force one’s mind to believe something just like how propaganda was used towards the Germans to like Hitler and think that he was a great man. I was really shocked while reading specifically this part in the book because of how people can be discriminating by saying such offensive things against other religions. Also those priests should know better, then to say disrespectful aspects like that.
Racial discrimination is an ongoing human judgment that can’t be stopped. Stereotyping is also judging someone before actually knowing that individual based on your assumptions. This is what Imran went through in his life. Discrimination occurs in Macbeth on several occasions. For example, how the weird sisters were described “weird” for their distorted figures. Another moment was how society discriminated women, as there were not many female characters in the play as well as how Lady Macbeth began to lose her mental stability, while Macbeth did not.
The play had also discriminated the common man, as they had little to no parts in the play, focusing only on the wealthy and powerful individuals such as the kings, queens, and thanes. Back then, Lady Macbeth was considered to be a crazy woman because females were supposed to be quiet, shy and a perfect housewife. This was the stereotype that was placed on females by society. This was discrimination because it showed that women were not allowed to be emotional or voice their opinions. It was showing that women were just object instead of people.
When Lady Macbeth died Macbeths reaction was like: “She should have died hereafter. /there would have been a time for such a word” (Shakespeare 5. 5. 19-20). Macbeth is saying how she would have died anyways and that this news was bound to come someday. This shows how Macbeth really did not care about Lady Macbeth after he became king. After reading Macbeth and understanding the in depth content of the story, I realized that back during when this play was written there was still discrimination that existed.
There has never been a time where one has not been discriminated ever in this life span. I feel that majority of the time women suffer from discrimination and the denial of their human rights based on gender. All through the world, women have often faced systematic discrimination in the political and cultural society. Along with agreeing with the different types of groups, genders, cultures and religions that are discriminated I feel that after reading Macbeth it proved to me there has always been discrimination alive in this world.
I also feel that women are more at a disadvantage of being looked down upon because of the stereotypical saying of “weak women”. One day, my family and I were out on a drive, as we approached a red light there was another car that drove next to us and stopped as well on the red light. As my mom turned to look at the car next to us, the man inside the car rolled his window down and gave her the finger and calling her a terrorist. My mom was in shock but stayed calm about it and acted as if nothing had happened. As my dad saw this happening he started to follow behind this man to have a word with him.
The man was scared that he drove into the mall’s parking lot and ran off with the lady that was sitting next to him. After calming my dad down we drove off to where we were headed. Ultimately, I realized that people intentionally tease us and say racist comments about us to make us feel that we don’t belong. But when you act like what they are saying is not going to change who you are, it makes a significant difference on how people treat you next time. I realized by my mom’s reaction towards this man was like nothing is going to stop me from being who really am.
This made me become aware of how one grows older and experiences more; they learn that racism, along with several other obstacles, is just a stage in life that is a part of growing up. It challenges us to look within our souls and understand who we really are. Instead of being timid and letting it get better of us, we should be strong and use it as a stepping stone to make us better human beings. Beyond any doubt discrimination is surely a major concern in today’s life but the world itself is not cruel, nor is the people.
It is our lack of knowledge that results in such cruel behaviour towards people who are different than us. Although removing discrimination from our world would cause people a lot of sacrifices and suffering, I hope that we would be able to overcome all those incidents and live in a place where we do not care about an individual’s skin color or nationality. Frankly, eliminating discrimination from this entire world is impossible, it simply cannot be done. But what is achievable is to change the way we respond when we are victims of it, and help teach others to become more gentle mortals.