#illridewithyou

This Friday I had a conversation with a student I’ve been working with this semester.  She is a wonderful unique young women who came to UW from Milwaukee.  She’s hard working and generous with her time.  She also comes from a faith background that means she wears a headscarf.  In the recent past there have been so many repulsive hate acts towards people of Islamic faith, including the recent shooting deaths in Chapel Hill.   I understand that these acts are relatively rare, I know they come from people who are ignorant and terrible and would likely choose to hate some other person if no convenient person with a hijab was nearby to focus on. These types of events also seem so distant sometimes, especially to someone like me, who likely would never have to face this personally. However, my student mentioned two recent incidents in Madison: some random man followed a friend home (a Muslim woman) while yelling bigoted slurs and threats. In another disturbing incident, a college student was yelled at continuously on a full bus heading to Edgewood College. She was told she should die, told everyone like her should die. No one on the bus said a thing.

Madison Wisconsin, I expect better of you.

The vast majority of us in this town are privileged enough to have never encountered that particularly disgusting form of bias, but to ignore it when it happens right in front of you?  That is unconscionable.  Not doing anything to help that girl on the bus is almost as bad as the person actually doing the yelling.  At least that guy had the excuse of being a terrible human being.

I don’t feel like its productive to yell back at dudes like that, and I know there isn’t a whole hell of a lot a person can do in that situation, but I can take a page out of Australia’s book (http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-30479306). If you ever feel threatened or unsafe, or are being treated terribly by bigoted terrible people, I promise you I’ll ride with you and I’ll do my best to make you feel a little safer.

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~ by Meghan on February 16, 2015.

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