A long way to go

The misconceptions of racism


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Mother and daughter holding hands in cafe

Marie Nyirahategekimana, Special to the NL

“I love being a walking symbol of Islam. And I love modest fashion. It allows me to walk outside in public and show people that Muslim women are not oppressed and can be into fashion while maintaining modesty,” said Tashifa Fayyaz (11). If that is the message of the Islamic faith, why is it viewed in such a negative light by the media and society?

The attack of 9/11 will forever be one of the most tragic moments in American history. 2,977 people died. The detail most forget to mention, however, is that nearly 60 of those victims were Muslim, according to the Al Arabiya News.

The terrorists who crashed the plane called themselves Muslims. The KKK who persecuted people of color alleged to be doing the work of God. Not all Muslims are bad because a few decided to take the wrong path, just like not all Christians are bad because the KKK decided to terrorize people simply based on the pigment of their skin. Likewise, not all Germans are bad because of the atrocities done by the Nazis. History has taught us that humankind simply cannot be perfect. People make mistakes. There is no reason to punish a whole people because of what a few did. “I don’t think anyone should be judged or have to apologize unless there is evidence that they did something wrong.” said Ben Neal, a teacher at Portage Northern.

After being asked if he felt that it was unfair the way Muslims were treated in airports, Tyler Maki (10) replied, “I understand why security does it, but I also understand how it can be stereotyping.”

For some people, this type of stereotyping can be a humiliating experience. On the subject, Nancy Nott, a teacher at Portage Northern said, “I definitely don’t agree with any kind of profiling. Whether it’s a black man driving a car getting pulled over, or a muslim woman wearing a hijab getting checked over at the airport, or a brown skin person at the airport. Obviously I don’t agree with that kind of profiling at all, it’s racist. I think we’ve come along way in accepting the hijab, but I still think it’s something we need to work on.”

Society has taught us to look at the hijab as a sign of oppression against women. After being asked if people stared, “yes, like all the time,” Fayyaz replied, “[but] it’s all about educating people about it. We’re supposed to be a country of change and eliminating ignorance and stereotypes because we are a country of immigrants.”



Fact- Nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.


Fact- The purpose of the hijab is to protect a woman’s modesty and beauty being more than hair and outward appearance.


Fact- In October 2001, an ABC Poll found that 40 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Islam. By 2010, that number dropped to 37 percent.


Fact- According to official statistics, during the decade following 9/11, the USA saw 150 percent rise in workplace discrimination against Muslims.


Fact- According to the FBI’s new national hate crime statistics, hate crimes against perceived Muslims jumped 50% in 2010 and remained at alarmingly high levels through 2011.