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Kent Eskam

Posted by adminadmin on September 4th, 2016

Racism and stereotyping, I believe, take place much more often than people think they do, simply because it is something that no one wants to talk about.  Sometimes people who are put down due to stereotyping or discrimination do not have a voice. Personally in my life, I have witnessed stereotyping take place with my good friends,

Muhammad is of Arab decent and he is also a Muslim. As long as I can remember, people have said mean things about him. For example, I remember kids saying that Muhammad’s son looked like a miniature terrorist.  Due to the fact that Muhammad  was generally a positive guy with a light hearted personality, he usually took these types of comments in stride, brushing them off as mere jokes. To make light of these situations, Muhammad would often return the insults with humorous, quick, witted comebacks of his own which usually put the offender in his place.  Although Muhammad usually handled these derogatory comments with a positive attitude, I knew that deep down inside these comments hurt him, or at the very least made him feel very uncomfortable. While it may have appeared as though Muhammad was jokingly brushing the comments off in the moment, I knew that many times he wondered if people really meant all of the mean spirited things that they had said to him or if they were only joking. Through the years, Muhammad’s  doubts were always increased during times of heightened tensions in the Middle East.  During those times, Muhammad’s  would tell me that small business owners were rude to him or would suspiciously watch over him when he was in their stores. This type of outward discrimination made the comments  much more painful for Muhammad. As a result of being negatively stereotyped and tied to very serious situations, he wondered if there was also a level of seriousness to all of the comments.  He wondered if the comments were said because the people really believed the horrible things that they said about him or if in fact they were just joking.

Additionally, as a very close friend, I know that Muhammad takes his faith very seriously.  Through the years we have had many deep talks about our faiths and the differences and similarities between Christianity and Islam. Through these conversations I have learned that that these faiths are not as different as many people think they are. In fact, these faiths share many commonalities. While I am not a Muslim, I know that this religion is a far cry from the ignorant and negative things that I have heard people say about this religion. For instance, I have heard people mistakenly say “Oh, Muslims, don’t they all believe that you have to kill everyone to get into heaven?” All in all, I think people should spend a little less time saying hateful things about people and cultures they know nothing about, and instead learn about them before they decide to open their mouths and make claims they have no evidence to back up.

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