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This is America

WITH EVERY PASSING DAY and with every passing problem I encounter with

the president and the brutality of the police, my longing to visit Somalia

grows stronger. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to move there forever. I

just feel like I need a break from America and that I need to visit my homeland.

There are no racist presidents, brutal law enforcers, or racism. We

are all one and unified in our efforts to return our country to its former

glory. I’ve experienced countless attacks due to my religion, skin color, and

culture. Growing up how I did, I could easily say all whites are racist and

back it up with my experiences, but I don’t let the poor choices of some

folks affect how I treat innocents. If I did, how would I be any different

from them?

I’ve run into my fair share of racists. Considering I balance work and

school, I meet a lot of different people every day. My worst experience was

when I was 11 years old. I was called a terrorist for wearing my khamiis in

public. As I walked past a large group of people with my khamiis on, heads

turned rapidly. The deadly glares that I received felt like they were from

the grim reaper himself. One guy shouted “TERRORIST!” at the top of his

lungs and tried to cover it up with a cough. I don’t know what type of cough

sounds like that, but he must’ve needed a specialist doctor for that. All for

a piece of clothing that symbolizes my culture and my religion.

My initial reaction was to say something back, but I thought deeply

about it. Even though he was in the wrong, I was in his country, walking

down his sidewalk, and I have the audacity to speak back to him? He

was wrong, it was obvious, but why was I unable to do anything? Why

was I standing still as I received threats from a large sum of Americans?

“Nigger!” another shouted. Why was nobody doing anything? The thought

sent a chill down my spine. I felt as though I had wronged them. What did I

do to make people I’ve never seen before hate me?

This is the sad reality that we minorities experience and will till the day

we’re six feet under. Somebody in the crowd threw a half-eaten apple at

me. I was torn between hating them and hating myself. Brainwashed. I ran

home that day and cried all night. I was looking for somebody to blame.

I blamed my parents for my skin color, I blamed god for my religion, and

worst of all I blamed myself for being a Somali American Muslim. For weeks I hated everybody and everything. I barely ate, and I spoke only when spoken

to. I was at rock bottom.

Slowly, over time, I opened up again. I met wonderful white and black

people. I realized that I shouldn’t let the poor choices of a couple people

spoil how I feel about all people. Even though I still long for my homeland,

I’ve gotten used to my new home and, with that feeling, I can finally say this is America.

Story: ABDULBARI HASSAN: professional gamer, professional student.



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