My Multi-Ethnic, Middle Eastern Family Is Terrified About Your Trump Vote

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My kids are multi-ethnic like so many children here in America. They're pretty fair skinned with a tinge of olive. They have light eyes and light hair. But they get pretty “brown” in the summer.

Our existence in this country doesn't exactly fit in a box. For the record, we were all born here and so we're American. I feel like I shouldn't have to say that, because it shouldn't matter, but here we are. We're American.

We've got a lot of mixed blood in this family. But the problem seems to be because it's mixed with Middle Eastern blood. 

I know others who are darker than us, more "middle eastern" looking and those who are actually Muslim, probably experience the discriminatory wrath more aggressively and severely than us. I get that. But if we're experiencing rampant bigotry in our mixed family, can you imagine what others are facing?

Photo Credit: Melanie Mercogliano Photography
I don't do pie graphs or percentages of bloodlines because I honestly don't know the exact numbers. If geneology was completely reliable I would probably know more, but I don't. My kids, like many mixed ethnicity kids in America don't identify as one or another. They don't identify as 50 percent this and 25 percent that. They identify with their cultures (yes, plural) by what our family eats, the languages spoken around them, how our family upholds certain values, traditions, and holidays.



They know they're Italian, Polish (and probably a bunch of unconfirmed European ethnicities) from my side of the family. And they're aware that they're part Iranian from their father's side. Their father's family is from the Middle East. They speak Farsi, so does my husband, and many are Muslim. OMG. I said Muslim. Don't freak out!!! But, yes I'm gonna go there with the Muslim thing.

Here's the thing - Americans see radical so-called Islamic leaders and terrorist groups spouting off hate against America. The bombings and killings in the name of Islam. They see people, including leaders, manipulating Koranic scripture and misrepresenting the faith. But that's all they see.

People hear Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump calling for a ban on all Muslims and they think of those people over there.  The people not in their communities. The ones with the hijabs. The ones with the "towels" on their heads. The ones wearing burqas. The ones with more brown skin than my kids' skin and my husband's skin. They don't think about our family. Our paler-skinned, lighter-eyed, "American looking" family.

The Trump voter is not thinking about the Muslim aunts, uncles, and great grandmother that my kids have in their lives. And how devastated and terrified my kids would be if anyone in a powerful leadership position hated their family and wanted them out of this country.

Our family unit is a family unit just like everyone else's across this country.

The Trump voter doesn't think about the aunts, uncles and cousins that come to the US to visit to shower my kids with love and gifts, just like any long-distance family members would. They don't think about those priceless and precious moments we share with them.

They don't think about how those wonderful, loving family members that we've made great memories with, might not be allowed to come to this country to see my kids again if a narrow-minded, person like Trump is elected.

They don't think about it because either they don't actually give two shits about us and other families like ours. Or they erroneously mistake our Americaness for full blown identification with white culture. The truth is, we can't identify with white culture because that would mean we aren't oppressed. That we aren't hated. That we don't care continuously about our safety on a very real level. Every. Single. Day. If I'm being honest, after what I've seen and endured recently I'd like to separate myself as much as possible from white culture, even if my skin is in fact, white.

It's absurd and ridiculous that in 2016, the millennial, where we are supposedly post-class, post-race, post-non-binary people that we're still seeing intolerance and hate. I shouldn't have to make my family palatable to you, for you to understand and accept our blood, background, and culture. For you to understand that we have family members that would be possibly horribly impacted by a Trump presidency.

We have family moments and memories that could possibly be altered.

We all want the same things in our families - to be loved, to give love, and to spend time with loved ones. We're fearful of losing the very things every single person in this country holds dear. Kin. Family. A home for and among our loved ones.



As parents of two daughters with middle eastern names and blood, we don't just care about our kid's future in terms of are they going to college? Are they going to have jobs? Social security? No, we wonder if they're going to actually make it to the future- physically. Without being ferociously attacked verbally, assaulted, harassed, and physically abused on the basis of their blood and their names. THAT'S what my family is worried about. That's what countless American families who are discriminated against in this country ARE  WORRIED ABOUT.

Just like first grader Abdul Aziz in North Carolina that I wrote about in Scary Mommy recently. The seven-year old boy (YES, SEVEN) was made fun of by his classmates for refusing to eat food that wasn't halal, then beaten by his classmates for being Muslim. His mom greeted him at the bus stop that day to find him bruised and battered. The family decided to move out of this country.
This is not OK. If you are not actively denouncing this disgusting behavior you are guilty. If you aren't separating yourself from people that think this way, raise their kids to think this way, and people that act this way, you are doing nothing to help your fellow Americans.

With the presidential election less than a week away, yes, I'm admitting that I'm scared for my middle eastern, multi-ethnic family...and my daughters ...  should Trump be elected.

To be clear, Trump has attacked and insulted several groups of people including women and minorities. And his proclamation of hate, discrimination and bigotry has given other people who have hidden their disgusting behaviors and divisive thinking a platform. His "effect" on this country by simply spewing his disgusting rhetoric has turned up the volume on the dangers we face. The dangers that everyone who isn't completely white or male faces. The threats I've received online and in social media is baffling, hurtful, and yes, scary. His perpetuation of Islamaphobia and discrimination has created a tense environment in my own neighborhood. People screaming hateful things and mocking us as we simply walk down the street. I live in a cookie cutter, suburban neighborhood with manicured lawns. THIS is where hate is brewing. I'm fearful and I'm weary.

I’m just so fucking tired of defending my kids, my husband and myself to white America. And even though I mostly view race as a flawed construct, we are technically all considered white in this family within the confines of the definition. Except clearly, not enough white, right? Because of the tan skin, foreign language, the blood line to the Middle East, and cultural practices of Islam. It doesn't even matter that we don't personally identify as Muslim. White America just wants to paint a broad stroke over all of us. A very dark one.

I'm tired of defending our mixed-ethnicity and our names. I’m tired of defending our marriage. And tired of defending what we teach our kids in culture and in religion.

I may be really tired of defending the dignity, rights, and inherent respect we should be given, but I won’t stop talking about it. I may even be downright terrified right now, but I will take every opportunity and pause when I can to call out the subtle and the overt. I will no longer be complicit (not that I was much in the first place, let's be honest here folks;)). I will no longer politely smile when a friend says something even remotely racist or bigot. I will not politely continue to be your "friend" or "follow you" on social media. I'll separate myself. I'll protect myself and my family. I’ll keep defending. I’ll keep talking. I’ll keep teaching.

Islam is not a hateful religion. Middle Eastern people aren’t violent people. Not ALL Middle Eastern people practice Islam. And not ALL Muslims are extremist freaks.

But frankly, I should not have to say that. Because you, as a person living in a global world, should know that. I shouldn’t have to go into every reason. I shouldn’t have to debunk every myth and lie you’ve ever heard. C’mon people—you should know. Go to Middle Eastern communities. Mingle with people who don’t look like you, live like you, or talk like you. Visit these countries. Ask the people about their culture.

There are Muslims that were BORN IN AMERICA. There are people with Middle Eastern blood that were born in America and so are therefore, American. WE ARE AMERICAN. And yet we, as Americans are being hated. Americans are being hated. Donald Trump and his gross set of supporters are in fact DEPLORABLE. Unlike Hillary, I make no apologies for saying that.

Those who vote for him, are basically voting for us and many other American families to be hated. Those who vote for a third party are giving Trump a chance. There isn't anything more UN-American I can think of than that.





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