Where Are You From?

I worked with smart, clever, educated people. I have been in this country for 50 years, many decades more than in the country of my birth. but till about 18 years ago, I wasn’t a citizen. When I did become one, my colleagues gave me this. 💙💙💙. Till today I have not been scared of street violence in the US, not even after 9/11 when random brown people seemed to be targets of violence and hostility.

I was interviewed by the WSJ for an article on how textbook publishers were going to handle such momentous breaking news in history textbooks and the interviewer asked me if I felt safe as a nonwhite immigrant. I gave a strong response about inclusion, diversity, strength of immigration and how the president ( yup, Shrub) had publicly stated that I belonged.

[I never imagined I’d be quoting “ Shrub” in a personal blog] . . .
on Sept. 17 he said, “ The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.”

He’d go on to reiterate this position several times in the weeks after, saying, “The war against terrorism is not a war against Muslims, nor is it a war against Arabs.” Another time: “The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends.” And: “The Muslim faith is based upon peace and love and compassion. The exact opposite of the teachings of the al-Qaida organization, which is based upon evil and hate and destruction.”

Why did he do this? Because at that moment in history, we weren’t different political parties and ideologies but Americans and he represented the nation.

Not so much today. And hence my fear.