Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Son's Friends Are Afraid They'd Be Deported

He said it happened during Social Studies. They were discussing concepts such as democracy and voting when one of his female classmates said

"If _____ (supply presidential candidate's name) wins, 'Ahmed' (another classmate and not the boy's real name) and I would have to move out". 

This was spoken by one of my son's third grade classmates as she spoke about her and another classmate who's also Muslim. I could console myself by saying that it's still fortunate that these two children are not discriminated upon by the other children in their class, but it makes it no less painful that these two feel this way because of the type of discourse our current politics has brought out. 

My heart sank. I felt it to be completely unjust for a nine-year-old to even feel that one person can hold that much power to drive them out of what they consider home; that their lives can drastically change all because of people's ignorance. I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of these young children getting exposed to sentiments of hate and blatant racism, feeling singled out not because of anything they have done wrong but simply for being who they are and practicing a culture they were born into. 

I felt angry that these children have to be robbed of their innocencethe belief that differences are okay, religion shouldn't divide us, and that skin color is not what defines any of us. 

I will never understand why those particular political candidates are peddling such beliefs to the masses, or the reasons why anyone in their right mind would even support that sort of candidate. For me, nothing can ever justify my choice to support a bigot. I don't care how educated, wealthy or popular you are, if you're a bigot I cannot support you. It's a line I choose to clearly draw and recognize, among others. 

I find it both hilarious and frustrating that a common response to the question of why someone chooses to support such a candidate is this: "He speaks his mind and he's straightforward!" Here's the thing. I think it's fun to get drunk with someone who speaks his mind. There's still a high probability that I would consider you an ass but at least I might consider you entertaining. However, an entertaining ass who speaks his mind is not someone I would trust leading a nation. More importantly, such a person who seems to always have the cunning ability to speak straight out of his ass is certainly not a role model I would ever want for my child. 

In our home, my husband and I are very vocal with our son about our political and moral beliefs. We tell him about our leanings and explain to him why, always going back to our values and ideas of how we want our world to be. We try to teach him about the importance of respecting differences whether it be about religion, race, sexual orientation, or social class. I know my son felt sad about the idea of his classmates being forced to move out. I sense that he doesn't fully understand why this is so and probably feels it doesn't make sense. Well he's right about that, isn't he? IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE

It doesn't make sense for any child to be made to feel this way, that they can just be kicked out because of their color or religion.

It doesn't make sense for any child to lose friends just because they look different or practice a different culture.

It doesn't make sense for any child to be made to feel less. PERIOD.

As parents, we are very passionate about fighting parenting practices that make children feel inferior. We don't like it when adults make kids feel stupid. We don't like it when adults discriminate against children with disabilities. We don't like it when adults undermine a child's sense of self worth. 

How are those things any different from having political figures promoting ideas that discriminate against children of color or children from other cultures? These are children who are being made to feel less. PERIOD. 

It's not right. 

It is disgusting, and NONE of us should stand for it. 


  1. You know what I find interesting? The fact that a group of people were forced to leave their homes because of religious persecution over four hundred years ago. And they came here.
    And founded this country.
    The irony is just sickening.

    1. It really is sickening, Diane. The level of hate is something I just can't fathom. Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. Did anyone ask the children where they heard this? Because I'll bet they heard it from someone who dislikes the candidate and has an ax to grind. Or a rumor on the playground.

    As a retired teacher I can tell you that children LOVE it when something they say gets a dramatic response.

    Could they be truly fearful? Possibly, But I'll bet it's being fed Big Time.

    This could be a good teaching moment, though. A unit on fairness and tolerance, without focusing on those particular children and their statement, could be in order.

    Am I a curmudgeon? Maybe. But I've learned that children do like to test other people's responses, especially if they know that certain buttons are sure to create a ruckus.

    There are terribly serious issues here, of course. But take children's comments with a grain of salt.

    1. I believe the children heard in from the news, through discussions at home, with their families. It is sad that these children must endure the realities of intolerance so early. It's now part of their reality and though it may be good for them to be aware, I believe it's no less unjust. Whatever motivations these children have or whether or not they may be exaggerating, it's still our responsibility as adults to listen to how they feel and show them that there is still much tolerance and rationality from the rest of the world...I hope I'm right. Thank you for your thoughts, Ashe! Have a good week ahead!

  3. Whether or not kids might exaggerate a situation doesn't lesson the absolute horror of this.

    And yeah, the whole "he speaks his mind" thing. I think a person needs at the very least a SOUND mind before we should be impressed with him speaking his him.

    1. I completely agree with you, Michelle! Clearly, there is no soundness to speak of when it comes to DT's mind. I don't understand any of this nonsense.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!

  4. I hope it doesn't happen. I really do. Intolerance and ignorance are so scary.

    1. They are horrible and truly harmful. All this hate and anger that is so divisive are things we really don't need more of in this world to be passed on to our children. But we continue to hope for the best. Thank you for your thoughts, Mimi!

  5. And we all laughed off Trump in the beginning when he announced he'd be running. How did he get from being a running joke I'll never know.


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