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Race Has Nothing to Do With Relationships

Have you ever noticed how racial profiling and discrimination discussions have seemed to reach a peak this year because of the presidential elections? Somehow the media seems to want us to believe that the race of a person is a big deal. That the color of skin or a particular belief of a person has a lot to do with the way he relates to the world and how the world will get along with him. Although this discussion has become a hotly debated topic recently, the truth is that this discussion came onto the burner during the events of 9/11, when a group of radical Muslims changed the way most of the world viewed us.

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Instead of seeing us as an active participants in the developing world stage, people hear the word Muslim and either of two things happens: we get shunned or viewed with fear in their eyes. Why does this happen? What is the relationship of being Muslim to the way we are viewed and treated in the world? Is it possible to have a friendly relationship with people who are of a different belief? Or has racial profiling succeeded in alienating the Muslim race from the rest of the world?

Muslims are now in the position that the Germans used to be in. It did not matter that you were not a Nazi supporter, there was a point in our history when all Germans were viewed as Nazi supporters and murderers of the Jewish race. But over time, this view changed and now, Germany has returned to the world stage as a prolific participant in various areas of world development. It took a long time for the image of the Germans to change, and even today, some people carry over that belief, but, it is sufficient to say that the relationship of Germans with the other people in the world is no longer affected by it.

That is my dream for the Muslim race. To one day wake up and find that Muslims as no longer lumped together with the radicals who sow fear and hatred in our world. That the time will come when the misunderstood religious beliefs of my homeland will finally be understood and accepted by the world.

When I first came to this land, I was gripped by the fear that I would not be treated nicely because I am a Muslim. Before I left my country, I would often hear horror stories from students who had gone to the USA and come back. They would spend the nights telling stories to the younger ones who had dreams of coming to the USA to study with stories of hazings and maltreatments while they were here. They often said that the people of the United States were closed-minded and thought of no one but themselves. As a young dreamer, I would often sit for hours listening to the stories, and oftentimes, I would believe what I was told. But as I grew older and I heard more and more stories, I began to question such stories. I started asking them “What did you do to change that perception about the Muslims while you were there?”.

The answers I got ranged from “I stayed with my kind.”, or “I kept to myself.”, and more commonly, “I tried to explain to them but I don’t think they believed me.” Needless to say, I did not believe any of the answers I got because I knew that if somebody tried hard enough, there was no such thing as an unacceptable explanation. I kept thinking to myself even back then that there must be a relationship between the way Muslims acted in America and the kind of treatment that they got from their peers and “friends”.

Keeping those stories and opinions in mind, I set out to come to America with dual purposes in mind. Firstly, I came here to study and experience what it is like to live as an American for a few years of my student life. Secondly, I wanted to prove to myself that all the stories I had heard during my younger days were merely a product of misunderstanding and miscommunication. After all, America is the land of possibilities so, it should be possible to seek out and find out the truth about the relationship between Muslims and Americans as it exists on American soil.

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The first thing I noticed upon mingling with the Americans is that not all are afraid nor angry at the Muslims for what happened during 9/11. The majority of the people I spoke to knew how to tell the difference between the radicals and the peace-loving Muslims such as myself. I was not once made to feel like I was to be personally blamed for the events that changed modern history as we know it. Instead, I came across many people who wanted to understand where Muslims came from.

What did we believe in? Does the Koran teach violence like Bin Laden advocates? We often had highly intelligent discussions and I found myself with a social circle of people who truly wants to understand what goes on beyond the shores of America. Maybe it was because they wanted to understand why 9/11 happened. Or maybe they just needed to understand the difference between the radicals and the normal Muslims. Either way, I found that for every aspect of the Muslim society they did not understand, there was an aspect of American society that I needed to be clarified as well. In the process, we all learned from each other and came to understand where each of us was coming from.

Without knowing it, I was slowly making friends and getting assimilated into the American culture that I feared for so long a period. During this period, I could have easily turned my back on who I was born as, a Muslim, and become more American than my American friends. Instead, I had my friends telling me that it was nice to have a Muslim friend and that all I had to be to make friends was myself.

Being myself meant that they would respect my culture, traditions, and beliefs. They had an open acceptance and respect for this part of my life. In exchange, I learned about the American way of life and in the process began to understand that no matter how different our beliefs are, somehow, there was still a relationship that existed between the two cultures. Why? The only logical explanation I can think of is that in the end, everybody has the same core beliefs, rules, and demands for respect. It is just a matter of recognizing that relationship and creating a harmonious relationship between the two.

By imbibing the American culture and finding a way to merge the two cultures within me, I have managed to bridge the gap between American and Muslim cultures so that I am no longer just a Muslim but, I am not totally an American either. Instead, I have learned to become blind to the fact that there will always be people out there who will want to sow discord between the two races because I now know that everything can be explained as a misunderstanding on the part of both races. Nobody is right, but neither can be wrong either.

These days, I spend most of my time with my new American friends who, just like me, would like to see the end of the Muslim – American misunderstanding. We have all come to realize that it is our very differences that have served to create this unique relationship between all of us. When we are together in class or even outside, nobody is Muslim or American, we are all students who are here to learn. During the times we socialize and party with others, we all enjoy each other’s company regardless of our beliefs in life. There is an unspoken respect for each other’s space and nobody will knowingly violate that respected area.

Indeed, my friends and I have managed to create a unique relationship because we all understand each other to the best of our abilities. Although instances of friction between friends cannot be avoided, it is never about who is Muslim and who is American. At the end of the day, we all come together and talk about the friction and the differences that caused it. We work it out and find that we have built our social foundation on some pretty sturdy life experiences. These kinds of relationships cannot be sought out nor manipulated, it just happens. For the record, I am very glad that my friends and I have been able to create such a different and learning kind of relationship over the years. Ours is the kind of relationship that will last a lifetime for sure.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 19). Race Has Nothing to Do With Relationships. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/race-has-nothing-to-do-with-relationships/

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