Revisiting last week’s scene of hate, displayed by a group of American citizens protesting in front of the Islamic Center of Irving, raises many questions. Questions which should cause pause in our society, then effectively, lead us to seek with expediency answers which correlate both peace and hope with a progressive stance of justice for every American regardless of one’s hue, level of education, religious practices or wherever one chooses to invest, or plant roots, in a predisposed plot of American land.
It seems, although, we are American and are held accountable to invest in American society by paying taxes to assist in America’s growth, some of us still, unfortunately, are seen as, and treated as inferior. It’s heartbreaking to witness a non-white American for the first time experience white supremacy racism. In a given moment when one realizes, it’s simply because they are different (skin color, religion, etc), that the laws written in America may protect them or may not. Or the constitutional rights granted to all American citizens at birth, may not always apply to them.
During the hate protests in Irving, TX, held by the Bureau of American Islamic Relations, the group of about a dozen protesters carried rifles and signs, while chanting and speaking to journalist about their patriotism and their intentions of protecting America (their land and property) from Muslims. The protest in itself was very sad in knowing that America (in her present tense) has citizens who continue to display acts of racism, discrimination, and hate towards a certain group because of their differences, and use ‘freedom of speech’ as an avenue to carry out this hate. However, the most disturbing and disgusting display of hate during this protest was “a mother” marching with her child, actively teaching her child to stand up in protest against others due to their differences; A mother nurturing her child in an environment of confusion, fueled with chaos and armed in white superiority; a mother cycling hate into the next generation.
“What am I supposed to tell my children? My children are American”
A local FOX news journalists was able to interview a member of the Islamic Community, while the hate played on in the background of the story. The question presented to the man prompted his answer, “What am I supposed to tell my children? My children are American. They were born here. They pledge allegiance to the American flag, but are being treated like they are not Americans.” As African-Americans we can certainly relate to his dilemma.
Delving a bit deeper, into Civil Rights, as relating to all Americans who had to stand and claim one’s rights to equality, including Mexican-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Native-Americans.
This hate protest only shows that we as a community, in the midst of this society, must continue standing, and fighting for equality and justice for all Americans. Every one of us in the African-American community should be standing against anyone, or group, who is discriminating, and teaching to hate due to one’s skin color, or religion, etc. We cannot sit on the sideline, simply, because we know what the Muslim brother faces when he has to have the talk with his children about being a Muslim surviving in America. Dr. Martin King, III, had a dream that we all could live together, love, and respect one another, and all men will be treated equally. We as a community will always have the responsibility to fulfill this dream.
Policies must be implemented and current laws executed, in local, state and federal government. We must hold our law makers accountable for their decisions which cripple our society (including not acting on critical issues such as: gun laws, child poverty, equal education, mental healthcare, unfair sentencing laws, access to affordable healthcare) . We must restore “one man, one vote” and get big money out of our government and cease their buying of our futures. We must ensure every child has an equal chance to an affordable education. All of these mentioned were a part of Dr. King’s dream, and as community leaders it’s our responsibility and obligation to continue working for positive changes in our society, especially when we are presented with hate.
Every American citizen deserves to live in the freedom this country stands for, without having to one day sit their children down and have the talk. Until that day comes, it’s up to all of us to stand up for equality and justice for everyone.