THE DISGUST OF DISCRIMINATION FROM 9/11

  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Sep 11, 2008 8:25 PM GMT
    As I relayed in the 9/11 thread, I was in Toronto on that day, about to leave on an American Airlines flight from TO to St. Louis. All was cancelled.
    Fortunately my friend Mark let me stay at his home in west central TO, not from from Bloor.

    I wanted to get home and on Wednesday (Sept 12th) I was told the airports might open up. I called a taxi and got my bags ready. When the taxi arrived a gentleman of middle eastern decent (coal black beard with turbin)
    picks me up at Mark's house and took me to the airport. I remember I was
    nervous to say the least. I kept thinking "we'd damn well be going to the airport"!!

    He was the nicest man in the world, helped me, was pleasant (considering the conditions) and I left him a very decent tip. I was embarassed about how I felt. My mother always taught me that prejudice of any kind is
    ignorance. I wonder what it was like to be this man during this period of time.......
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    Sep 11, 2008 9:31 PM GMT
    We had a friend here in Mexico who was from New York. He didn't look Arab, he was black and his name was Ahmed Mohammed. Obviously he tried to get back home as soon as he could after what happened to the towers. The immigration people were more than a little rough on him, both going and coming back, and he tried to take it with a neutral mindset ("In their shoes, I'd probably be doing the same" he said) but it was also obvious he was holding back his anger.

    He also had to deal with a lot of idiots here in Mexico who either acted afraid of him or asked him stupid questions.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Sep 11, 2008 10:08 PM GMT
    SoccerGuy,

    I'm sure this brings up bad feelings for you. I think HK is exposing shame that he still feels about that situation.

    I think the Arab community, along with other rational thinking groups, did a great job at dispelling the need to fear anyone with a middle eastern accent, especially any that practiced the Muslim faith. It may hurt you, especially when you have to hear people discriminating against the Democratic Presidential Nominee due to a lie, to have to constently be construed as Un-American because of your heritage. However, please see the bigger picture in the intent of HndsmKansan's post.

    I'm not trying to take away your right to be angry about racism. I only ask that you recognize this thread for what it was intended to be. An honest discourse and, perhaps, an apology to the world community for feeling the way he did.

    Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who never had the chance to have thier fears diffused as quickly as HK did.
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    Sep 11, 2008 11:10 PM GMT
    Hey Soccer, HK is decent personified. A man who can talk about how he really felt that day has 4 balls and is better than some ass-kissing closet racist who wonders the same thing but doesn't say it. HK is the good guys.

    My favorite world is the Arab world, and I just won't except that whatever circumstance manipulates us into hating each other for the aims of someone who doesn't know the difference between Ramadan and Top Ramen.

    If none of us can define victory then we can surely define defeat as being divided from a whole world of wonderful people Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians, and even Atheists (well the cute ones like Sed and Jprich).

    Anyway, please don't take offense. You said it correctly, I would only change it around American Arab.

    SoccerGuy82 saidGuess what! I am an Arab-American... I guess you'll defined me as a terrorist?
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    Sep 11, 2008 11:19 PM GMT
    SoccerGuy82 saidGuess what! I am an Arab-American... I guess you'll defined me as a terrorist?


    Yep, all of us Arabs.... are terrorists.

    Well, I should say, we were....

    For a good three years after 9/11, i would "randomly" be selected for the extensive search when I was going through airport security. One time they made it really obvious, when they wrote four red X's on my boarding pass.... it was really nice, being made to feel like a dirt bag when I was just trying to get on my flight like everyone else. I guess my name and birthplace (both Arab) set off alarms or something. And the fact that I have an American passport seemed to make no difference....

    Anyway... things have gotten better since then, and I can go through security without issue.... yay for progress....


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    Sep 11, 2008 11:23 PM GMT
    Panic and hysteria, sadly, bring out the stupid in folks. One of my best friends is from Germany, having come to the States for college and then grad school. Her English is impeccable, but she has a reasonably thick accent. Post 9/11, the accent alone was enough to get her dirty looks from people. It was jarring enough to her that she left the country for a few months and returned when things settled down a bit.
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    Sep 11, 2008 11:28 PM GMT
    ZbmwM5 said
    SoccerGuy82 saidGuess what! I am an Arab-American... I guess you'll defined me as a terrorist?


    Yep, all of us Arabs.... are terrorists.

    Well, I should say, we were....

    For a good three years after 9/11, i would "randomly" be selected for the extensive search when I was going through airport security. One time they made it really obvious, when they wrote four red X's on my boarding pass.... it was really nice, being made to feel like a dirt bag when I was just trying to get on my flight like everyone else. I guess my name and birthplace (both Arab) set off alarms or something. And the fact that I have an American passport seemed to make no difference....

    Anyway... things have gotten better since then, and I can go through security without issue.... yay for progress....





    At least you only get searched when a national disaster occurs. I have to explain what's in my bag to about every bag check in the airport, opening it sometimes. The first time I was in an airport(in Denver) I bent down to tie my shoe when I look up and see a cop make eye contact with me.

    Instantly "randomly" selected search target. icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Barricade

    Posts: 457

    Sep 12, 2008 1:48 AM GMT
    This makes me think of a movie I was watching and how wrong it was on some levels. It's a plane and all of a sudden you(viewer) just see everyone on the plane turn and look at you, conversations stop, comments made, The frame circles and an arab had boarded the plane, the 2 security gaurds sit down next to him and tell him they are watching him....it was done as a comedy but still.

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    Sep 12, 2008 1:55 AM GMT
    Barricade said This makes me think of a movie I was watching and how wrong it was on some levels. It's a plane and all of a sudden you(viewer) just see everyone on the plane turn and look at you, conversations stop, comments made, The frame circles and an arab had boarded the plane, the 2 security gaurds sit down next to him and tell him they are watching him....it was done as a comedy but still.



    Soul Plane was one of the most politically incorrect movies.

    And I loved it.
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Sep 12, 2008 4:20 AM GMT
    i have no problem with arabs/persians/middle-easterners... but i do fear Muslims who blindly follow their faith, just like I fear Christians and Jews who do the same. These are the people causing the problems, folks. The world is on the brink because of them.
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    Sep 12, 2008 4:40 AM GMT
    SoccerGuy82 saidGuess what! I am an Arab-American... I guess you'll defined me as a terrorist?


    Terrorist? No. Smokin hot? Absolutely!
  • chitown_mofo

    Posts: 98

    Sep 12, 2008 5:04 AM GMT
    It was natural for you to feel that way, even though your intellect knew it was not necessarily right. My guess is that the man with the Turban (assuming he also had an intellect) would be naturally angry at the discrimination aimed at him, but would understand human nature and not hold a grudge.

    Or he had a bomb under his turban.
  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Sep 12, 2008 5:08 AM GMT
    Now you guys know what if felt like to go ANYWHERE with dreadlocks....pulled out of every line, everything searched 3 times to make sure we had no drugs.

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    Sep 12, 2008 5:32 AM GMT
    After 9/11 my house got a couple harassing calls about how we are evil and need to leave this great country. I took it in stride and didn't let it get to me. I made sure to answer the phone a lot when a number showed up I didn't know so that my father never had to deal with it nor my mother.

    Then racial profiling came in and I was really upset, but I actually was getting on a plane once and noticed how nervous a little white lady was to be by me. I smiled and told her that I was clean and a good, loving Catholic boy with just a summer's tan. She calmed down but wow, people get nervous. I get pulled out of line a lot at security. I know the drill, bad thing is I never get dinner after the search icon_sad.gif

    On the extreme end, I have a friend whose father is Syrian and just got up and left the country for good. He was a successful doctor, but he just packed up everything, left his wife, son, and two daughters, and moved to France. He supports them and talks to them daily, but he doesn't want to ever come back.
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    Sep 12, 2008 5:40 AM GMT
    XRuggerATX said
    Barricade said This makes me think of a movie I was watching and how wrong it was on some



    Soul Plane was one of the most politically incorrect movies.

    And I loved it.


    Political correctness is just an excuse to restrict the first amendment right to free speech. icon_neutral.gif

    Go politically incorrectness!icon_biggrin.gif
  • joeindallas

    Posts: 484

    Sep 12, 2008 5:44 AM GMT
    The Irony is read Malcom X's book. He desribed his Haji to Mecca where the crowds were "blackest of black and the Fairest of Blue Eyes"
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    Sep 12, 2008 6:45 AM GMT
    The guy you mention sound more like sikh to me.
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    Sep 12, 2008 8:01 AM GMT
    Turbans most commonly mean Sikh (cutting their hair and beard is forbidden in their religion). They are most recognizable because more often than not, they're names include Singh or Kaur (may be first name, middle name, or last name, it doesn't matter) since it is traditional to name a Sikh baptized male Singh and a skih baptized female Kaur. Most are South Asians not Middle Eastern. But yeah, I get you. Some of the nicest guys here are middle eastern. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 12, 2008 8:45 AM GMT
    9/11 was not on my mind today; I reckon my mind has a system to stay away from subjects that only bring controversy, especially to things that may not be true, yet many suffered from, yada yada, you know the story


    it is really nice that people started this thread to observe a different side to it all, being aware of prejudice is probably the first step to eliminating it right?


    it's nice to read before bed that people are AWARE.


    ac
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    Sep 12, 2008 8:52 AM GMT
    I get nervous everytime I see a pengiun.
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    Sep 12, 2008 4:17 PM GMT
    Hey HK....thank you for being honest about your feelings and telling your story. I think it was a normal human reaction on your part....the fear.....and it was brilliant that afterwards you were introspective enough to challenge yourself .

    I think that is part of the problem nowdays.....in government, families, society in general. People are afraid to reveal how they truly feel since other people will be quick to pounce on them for not being "correct". So they bury their true feelings and adopt an accepted way of appearing "nice" and "aware"...

    But humans are not perfect. The only way to get rid of discrimination is to TALK about it....say how you feel......and then listen to what other people say....(if that other person is calm).

    That's what you did. I'm proud to be communicating with you.

    As for the driver, and how he may have felt.....well.....I can only imagine. This is a good lesson for anybody to learn.......how we all categorize and label different groups.....gays, straight, hot guys, fat people, white people, dark people.....and the characterizations we stick on them.

    I've travelled extentsivley in Arab/Muslim countries. beautiful people....inside and out.
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    Sep 12, 2008 4:31 PM GMT
    I'm a native new yorker of Italian decent. At the time, my hair was longer. On top of everything else i went through the days and weeks after 9/11, I had to deal with the police and national guards.

    I was stopped EVERYWHERE. Questioned. Sometimes frisked and patted down and searched. Looked at suspiciously by every person in authority.

    It was distressing. But i didn't get all high and mighty about being discriminated against. The city was in a state of panic....WAR. It was understandable...the reaction.....and overeaction.

    And then the icing on the cake was that I was placed on the government watch list at airports. I have no idea why. Every single friggin time I arrived into USA airports...there they were....officials....wating for me....papers in hand....to escort me to another room....questioned...searched.

    After a few years, the nonsense stopped.

    I think it was the fact that I always travel alone....I never check luggage...and I have many entry visas in my passport from arab/muslim countries I visited.
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    Sep 18, 2008 1:19 AM GMT

    chitown_mofo> Or he had a bomb under his turban.

    Doesn't that cause baldness?!


    oceanboy11> being aware of prejudice is probably the first step to eliminating it right?

    Exactly. We all have our moments. The important part is to catch ourselves (as HK did) rather than to succumb.


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    Sep 18, 2008 2:11 AM GMT
    Hunter9 saidi have no problem with arabs/persians/middle-easterners... but i do fear Muslims who blindly follow their faith, just like I fear Christians and Jews who do the same. These are the people causing the problems, folks. The world is on the brink because of them.


    I know what you're saying, but I feel compelled to kind of put what you say above into the context of a globalizing economy and the simultaneous spread of a dominant and monopolizing culture as being overlaid on others by those who have more resources and power. It's not just religion as creating conflict, but the pressures/benefits of holding to traditions in order to create a sense of orientation, control, and predictability in a rapidly changing, interconnected, and rather unbalanced world. And what is known and traditional becomes rigidly adhered to, leading to an increase in fundamentalist values. So it also has to do w/ unfettered markets, economic policies that perpetuate specific countries' debts and beholdeness to others, shame and anger leading to seeking resources for community, strength, and power. And certain cultural values are privileged because they are backed by more money and power, thus creating a reaction from others who are subjected to them.

    So, in a f'd up economically hierarchical world, religion, on all sides, becomes a tool to validate the more radical methods to attain or maintain power and voice, if not simply equilibrium.

    The book Jihad vs McWorld http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/199203/barber I've heard speaks to this pretty well.
    Plus, a great documentary: BBC's The Power of NIghtmares. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Power_of_Nightmares

    That is all. icon_smile.gif