Socially acceptable racism?

Several hundred Muslims demonstrated across the street from the United Nations Feb. 5, 2006 to protest cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad that were published in newspapers across Europe.

Derek Rose

Several hundred Muslims demonstrated across the street from the United Nations Feb. 5, 2006 to protest cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad that were published in newspapers across Europe.

Karis Konkler, Reporter

In the last hundred years, mankind has made unprecedented advances in civil rights ranging  from the desegregation of schools in the 1950’s to the recent legalization of same sex marriage in the last year; but we are facing what could be a major setback in the world of civil rights.

Ever since the war on terrorism began, the term muslim has gained a negative connotation. It has become socially acceptable to express hatred for this religious group. Say you were to walk into a bar and the debate was on the overhead TV. The mediator has just asked a question about how these candidates would deal with ISIS. That’s when you overhear a guy and his buddies discussing their hatred for muslims. They are saying things like “we just need to bomb them” or “this is why we need a screening process for all muslims entering the United States”. And then you tune them out and go about your business. Why? Why does society turn a blind eye to these kinds of discussions? Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when a women walks into a store and is spit on because she is wearing a hijab and no one does anything in her defense- that is where the line must be drawn. In the 2016 presidential election, one man stands above the others in his public discontent for this group. That man is Donald Trump.

I’m not saying that before this election social discontent towards Muslims was uncommon,  but an interview of a young muslim woman who was arguing in response to one of Trump’s recent campaign rallies is what sparked my curiosity. In the interview, her wish was that Trump “would look [her] in the eye and tell [her] that she didn’t belong here”. She wanted him to look at her and tell her that her brother and his wife, who were killed a year prior to this interview, “deserved to be killed because of their religion”. She referred to this as “the socially acceptable racism of our time”. 

Now I know that each and everyone has sat through the history class outlining the civil rights era and were absolutely dumbfounded and appalled at the amount of hate and turmoil that went along with the time. How could people be so ignorant as to write off a whole community of people because of the color of their skin? Well, who are we to write off a whole religion based on a few pockets of extremists?

In another hundred years, will there be kids sitting in their history classes feeling ashamed that people could have ever been so benighted as to have so much hate in their souls because of a single religion? Will they be confused when the teacher says that they only hated this whole group because of a few people?  Jesse Byrnes stated that “ [John] Kasich [Ohio Governor] noted that a ‘tiny percentage’ of Muslims in the world are part of a radicalized ‘group of lunatics and murderers’”. It just baffles the mind. We are really in a bit of a bind at this point. I mean think about it, a man who is running his campaign based on hate, and promotes himself through the mutual abhorrence of certain ethnic groups, got 37% of the votes in the primaries and is now the republican party nominee. That is scary. That could be the start of history repeating itself. Repeating the strife and hate of the 50’s (civil rights era), the general ignorance of the 1800’s (slave era) and the discontent of the 2000’s (gay marriage).

It’s up to the people who recognize that there is in fact a social issue, to turn this around. I don’t want to be the generation that repeats history. I want to be the one that changes the way people think. The one that changes the way that people react to violence. Then maybe, in a hundred years when the kids are in their classrooms learning about the early 2000’s, they won’t feel so ashamed because the previous generation figured out how to learn from past mistakes. If they can see that, maybe they will realize that peace isn’t as far off as it seems.