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I have to tell my Muslim kids that some people will never accept them

Khaula Mazhar

The United States makes me grateful to be in a country that has a comparatively high acceptance and appreciation for diversity. Of course there is the random incident that occurs to remind me that some people are always going to hate me for being brown and Muslim. There was that a lady in the mall when we were both not watching where we were walking and bumped into each other. I reacted by apologizing profusely (it’s a Canadian thing) and she reacted by shaking her head and yelling, “Oh you f——- ignorant people!” (Not so Canadian.)

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There was also the guy at the cargo place (where you go to pick up all that extra luggage you decided you couldn’t part with) when I went to pick up some boxes that we had shipped from Pakistan. He was so aggressive I was shaken. He told me very loudly I should go back to my country. I told him this was my country.

But compared to what I grew up with, it is nothing. Things have really changed for the better over all the years. I tell my kids this all the time. My kids have classmates and friends who come from all corners of the globe. Kids are great, they don’t seem to see color – not in the way we adults do. If we left kids alone they would not learn to hate the way we do. Unfortunately, we can’t save our kids from the outside world.

My little girls got their first taste of rejection from Barbie. You know that feeling that somehow you don’t meet the standard because of excess skin pigment and brunette locks? Twin Two’s statement, “I wish I had blond hair and blue eyes,” heralded the end of Barbie’s welcome to our abode. I went out and bought three Disney princesses, Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine. Monster High toys are most welcome, however I still have a beef with their unrealistic proportions. Who the hell sets these standards? Why do they think this is a good idea? We need to grow up. It’s time we got realistic.

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But only a year after the Paris attacks, and with Donald Trump’s team discussing a Muslim registry, the news has me a bit nervous. Of course there are people who are going to go nuts in response to other people going nuts. That’s just what happens. But with anti-mosque activity on the rise as well as Muslim hate crimes, I am afraid of what more may come.

I call my teens at school, I tell my son to be careful walking home. And I am racist about it.

“Walk home with your white friends,” I tell him.

“Seriously?” he asks.

“Yeah, especially when you are crossing the road.”

I tell my girls to wait near the teachers at home time until I come to get them. I have to tell them why. I do not sugar coat anything, this is reality and they have to deal with it. There will always be people who will hate you, they will try to hurt you, you must be strong and confident and not let them intimidate you. You must also not hate them back, just pray for them. They need it. You must not be hurt by them, because that is what they want. They want you to be hurt.

“Why?” they ask.

“Because you are different.”

“But if being different is good then why do people hate us for being different?”

“It scares some people.”

And that is exactly what ISIS (and anyone who kills and terrorizes) wants. That is why we have to NOT sugar coat things for our kids, they need to know that people are going to hate. They need to know how stupid it is to hate and be afraid of something that is different so that they don’t inherit that hate and fear. So that tomorrow when they go out into the world they will replace the hate with acceptance and peace.

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Originally posted on BlogHer

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