The United States is home to a very diverse Muslim population. The American Muslim community makes up people from African American decent, Arab decent, south Asian descent, a growing number of Latino Muslims, and others from different areas of the world.
American muslims partake in everyday civil life. From boy scouts to volunteering and involvement in community boards. Adherents to Islam, a religious tradition, are called Muslim. Aside from there religious culture, where American muslims may participate in devotional religious practice in mosques located throughout the U.S., they are involved in and engage in civic actions and duties like the majority of the American population. Example…..vote Republican, Democrat or the such, be doctors, teachers, involved in groups and board.
I write this today because a dear friend, “Bob” of mine has been through some rough times as an American Muslim. He operates a business with my other dear friend Kevin, an Irish American. My friend Bob has experienced a different life, since the tragedy of 911. Bob participates in civil life. He runs a business, pays taxes, coaches a soccer team, volunteers his time, and is good, honest man.
I will recap how he has told me his life has changed. This is because of his ethnicity, but even if he didn’t follow the Islam religion and he was a Catholic, his skin color, or his race, plays a significant role in the negative stereotyping he has had to endure. Please read before you pass judgment or make assumptions.
The terms race and ethnicity are somewhat complex. They often are use interchangeably and not given much thought to where their root origin comes from. Race and Ethnicity are related to biological and sociological factors respectively. Race refers to physical characteristics such as hair, eye, skin color, and bone structure. People are divided into populations based on their “race” or physical attributes. Whereas ethnicity refers to nationality, region culture, cultural background, language, and ancestry. Ethnic populations identify on the basis of common nationality.
An interesting point between race and ethnicity is the ability to self-identify. A person does not have choice of their race. Ethnicity is self-identified. People can somewhat choose their ethnicity. They can study a language, live within cultural influence, and so choose to adapt.
Let me give an example. Many Caucasians migrated to America. Although many were white in color, or termed Caucasian, there are many cultural diversities. French culture and German cultures, Irish and Scottish. All “white” but different. Many people indigenous people throughout the African continent come from a variety of different cultures, although we call them african american, or black.
Differences in color, race, culture and religion exist greatly. Yet we all have one thing in common, and that is that we are humans. Differences, when not set out to harm or hurt others, should be respected, regardless of race or ethnicity. However, many wars have been fought and continue to be fought because of intense cultural, religious and racial beliefs.
Since the beginning of this semester I have noticed that topics I’ve discussed in class have followed me out of the class, and into real life. I feel as though I am much more observant than I was just a few months ago. I have begun to notice more biracial students on campus, at work, and just meandering around town. While on campus I have taken notice and appreciation of the student body population and how integrated the many cultures and races are. Many groups consist of a myriad of people from different backgrounds, and it seems to be of little concern to any of the group members. In fact, during a recent job fair, there was an emergency restoration company that must have had an employee of every ethnicity represented in their company. I believe they do restoration services for people’s homes, when they experience, fire, water damage and so on. They seem like an awesome company to work for so if any of my local readers are interested, their website is phoenixwaterdamage.org. Anyhow they were running a demonstration in front of a large group of students, and it was awesome to see how much fun the employees and students were having and how there was not any sort of acknowledgement of ethnicity, even though most of the employees were predominately foreign with noticeable accents. It’s moments like these where I think how beautiful our multiracial world is when everyone just accepts one another, and sees each other for their similarities and not their differences.
In the past few weeks I have learned a lot about the multiracial community as a whole, and a lot about its components parts. In my classes we have discussed the ways in which the multiracial community sees themselves, as well as the way others view them. We have also looked into where they have come from socially, and where they are heading. It has been a sad story on some accounts, but also an inspiring and powerful one on others. We as people of this generation are watching history unfold right beneath our very eyes, as the multiracial community struggles, but ultimately prospers in the 20th century.
America was not always what it is today; a free country and a country proud of its many cultural differences. Like many are aware, it used to be a country founded on protestant and puritan beliefs that put the white man on a pedi stool. Not that I believe America is perfect at this point in time, for racism still lingers, and is actually very prominent in certain areas of the country today. But we have come tremendously far from our beginnings.
While watching a film in one of my cultural classes earlier this week, we as a class were able to take a first hand look into the lives of a few citizens living multiracial identities. We were introduced to the term Hapa, referring to someone who is half Asian and half Caucasian, and able to take a peak into the trials and tribulations of being a hapa in today’s society. We saw people who struggled to identify to a particular piece of their heritage and completely abandon the other. For in this search of self-identification it seemed far easier to associate with one race rather than two.
The world in which we live in is far from perfect. The streets are littered, the oceans polluted, the banks are corrupt, and our society is out to get one another. All of these topics have initiatives in order to help the cause. We attempt to clean our streets, clean our oceans and receive justice from economic executives, but the one topic we are hesitant to address is that which applies to our society. Which ironically enough, affects us the most. Everyday many Americans are harassed based purely on their skin color, though no real effort is made to aid this epidemic of thought and action. Maybe it’s because it is not profitable or seems unchangeable. This is the backbone of society though, acceptance and unity is key to the success of the whole tribe (humanity). We are strong as a whole, not as individuals, as much as we aspire to achieve individual greatness, it is the success of the whole, which defines us all. Once we come to recognize a common bond between one another we will be able to live in a world without race.
As a white American growing up in the United States I have experienced a lot of privileges, and a lot of luxuries some of my colored brothers and sisters have not. During the course of my life, and in particular my current college experience, I have seen and heard a lot of things I wish I could forget. However, the knowledge of what I have seen and heard has strongly shaped my view of the world, and most importantly my stance. I see the world as one big whole, comprised of many intricate parts. Similarly to ecosystems, our our society is comprised of many different parts, different genders, ethnicities and cultures. They are all part of the same thing, but as individual parts that can appear and act very differently.
The world makes more sense when we look at the fragments that make up the whole. Here is a fragment of a greater whole. With patience you might get a chance to see the bigger picture. But can you understand the bigger picture if you don’t first study the component parts?
We shall see.
– Where I will update you on my work –