Linked is an article by Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Racism at the Pool and a USAToday article for background. In her article, Harris-Lacewell speaks on both the recent incident that took place near Philadelphia, and the fact that every person of color will face at least once in their life a similar situation.
For me, I was 10. A cutup kid, who the teachers hated and very few of the students liked, passed by me on my way to my desk. As we crossed paths, out of nowhere he yelled at me, saying something to the effect of “Get away from me, Indian.” I was taken aback, not knowing why he had even spoken to me. For one, I am part Native American, but what did that have to do with anything? And two, I was nice to everyone and a generally sweet and good kid. Why was he picking on me?
Unfortunately, I remember three things about that kid. 1-He was short. 2- I remember his face, though not his name. And 3- His last name had -El attached to it. Our teacher asked the kid to tell the class why his name was different. He refused, so the teacher explained the family’s religion was Islam, and his last name had to do with that. Talk about a bad introduction for a faith and people I didn’t understand and took years for any other answers concerning it.
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