During my freshman year my sisters and I went to Jacksonville to catch a plane home for Thanksgiving. The first sign of a delay was when we printed our e-tickets at the airport and my older sister and I had tickets marked “random search.”
I guess it didn’t help that she had an Arabic male name and used her credit card to buy my ticket.
While we were completing the final stages of our intense search, I noticed that the other people undergoing the “random search” process all looked to be people of Arab descent. At first I thought maybe the “random searching” was unnecessary.
Then I saw an Arab man trying to pass security with a blade that had to have a diameter of 6 inches, and some tools he said were for work that looked like they could be used for murder. I noticed the looks on the security guards’ and policemen’s faces turned to disgust and terror.
As my sisters and I walked to our plane we overheard other passengers making jokes about how they “didn’t want that Taliban to ride their plane,” and the “the guy resembling Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaida.”
It didn’t help the situation that the guy sat by our plane’s exit. At that point, suspicions began to get worse, with people saying we might be next in the terror attacks.
It was at that very moment that I stopped them right in the middle of their conversation. I realized not only how ignorant their comments were, but also that they too fell into the trap of accepting the stereotypes that they see on television.
But then I thought about if I, or anyone in post-9/11 America, can honestly say that he or she has never made any jokes regarding Arab-Americans, the Taliban or Osama Bin Laden? It seems that ever since 9/11, the government and news stations have done a wonderful job of making the American people shun and fear any Arab-American.
Prior to 9/11 you wouldn’t give an Arab-American a second glance, other than to check out their beautifully woven cloths and headscarves while thinking, “I know they are hot.”
Arab-Americans were happily accepted into the American society before the attacks on the nation, but now it seems they have became the “new race to hate” in America, as blacks once were.
Just think about it.
With the influence of the news only talking about Arab-Americans when it refers to terrorism or conflicts in the Middle East that include daily bombing, it seems to resemble the fact that nine times out of 10, when you see a black man on the news he has been accused of committing robbery, grand theft auto, murder or drug charges.
But whenever the news talks about an alleged criminal and they don’t show his or her face, nine times out of 10, the criminal is white.
America is at it again – but this time there seems to be a new target. It is a shame that at times we fall in its trap and believe some of the bull and stereotypes that we see on television.
It is time to stop the madness and begin to think for yourself.
Katrelle Simmons is a junior English education student from Orlando. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.