Islamophobia exists: Take it from someone who knows
At Northwood, we are no strangers to diversity. In any single classroom, there are bound to be countless ethnicities and cultures represented among the faces of the students. Here at Northwood, our differences are celebrated, regardless of whether they’re racial, religious, political or economic. That is a quality which, unfortunately, many other high schools lack.
This tolerance is the reason why it pains me to see that there still exists so much ignorance among fellow students on our campus. A specific reaction to the NTV segment on a few American Muslims at our school left many of us confused and frightened as to why someone would hold such a vitriolic opinion about their peers. To say that we, as Muslims, can only be terrorists is the uninformed opinion of someone who has refused to empathize with their classmates. To say that we, as Muslims, deserve to be beaten for speaking out against discrimination is the very reason why we must continue to do so. Especially when many of us at Northwood have experienced some form of discrimination in our lives.
However, this experience hasn’t been entirely negative. The chance to connect and reconcile with those who held this opinion became an opportunity to improve understanding among our peers in a politically charged time. It was an opportunity to express that as Muslims, we want to make sure everybody understands the distorted image that media sources constantly project onto us is not our true reflection. It was an opportunity to say that we deserve to be listened to when our feelings are heard. It was an opportunity to show someone why their outburst was hateful and insensitive. And this is the benefit of going somewhere like Northwood: we always have the opportunity to change minds and alter perspectives. So for those of you that still hold jaded feelings towards your peers, do something about it, and maybe in a previous stranger you’ll find a friend.