Lyn's Thoughts

Believe Me: “I don’t say much, but when I do you better listen.”

Dear Readers,

“I don’t say much, but when I do, you better listen.”

I got my undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, a very progressive and open public university, and there were plenty of protests on campus from the black lives matter movement to high tuition fees. And if I learned one thing from my university education, it’s to use my voice.  I don’t go out there and protest, but I know that words are a powerful weapon when used correctly. So that’s what I’m doing.

This blog isn’t a blog about politics, but I do feel like I should share this story because it has impacted my life in some way.

Back in my undergrad days, while I was walking home from class one day with my male friend, a ragged old white man was spouting nonsense and calling people that were walking by absurd names. I didn’t understand why he was doing that but I assumed it was because of the latest protest on campus, and so this man thought it was okay to say whatever he wants.

My friend and I walked passed him and he yelled at us, “Hey, you girl stopped!”

I wanted to avoid this guy and his nonsense so we pretended that we didn’t hear him and continued walking, but he yelled at us again, “You stopped!”

Reluctantly, my friend and I turned around.

And the old white man pointed specifically at me and said, “YOU’RE A TERRORIST. YOU DON’T BELONG HERE! GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY!”

I just gave the guy a puzzling look and said, “Ok….” I gave him the benefit of the doubt—I mean he could be drunk or completely high—but never in my life have I felt truly scared. If confronted, he looked like the type of guy that would physically attack someone. There were other people around us, but they only looked and stared. They didn’t do anything. In fact, I think they were scared too. Probably because of the crazy guy shouting nonsense, but also from the word, “terrorist” and the target of that word, me.

I wanted to walk away but was too scared to move. It wasn’t until I heard my friend said, “Let’s go,” that I started to move. And we walked away fast, but the guy continued to point at me and yell, “SHE’S A TERRORIST!”

When I got home, I wanted to cry because I was scared. I thought to myself, “I’m not a terrorist. I was born in the U.S. This is my home. Why was he thinking that?”

The only thing I could speculate his accusations on is the color of my skin. I have brown skin, black hair, and brown eyes. It was at that point where I became hyper aware of the word, “terrorist,” and all the stigmas and negativity that it brought to all different groups of innocent people. I was aware of it before, but I never thought people would be bold and ignorant enough to start freely labeling others as “terrorists” based on their race and religion without knowing them as individuals and also to spread fear over Islam to everyone (and yes, to me Islam is a religion and also I WAS TAUGHT TO RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE’S RELIGIOUS BELIEFS even if they aren’t the same as mine). It’s different when you are on the other side: the victim/the one accused. I always believe that a person’s character should be based on his or her personality, skills, and actions as oppose to their physical appearance. But from what I was exposed to, I realized that there are still people out there who think otherwise.

I’m telling you this story because right now people are scared and feel threatened due to the result of this election.  However, just because you can’t control what’s going on outside of your life doesn’t mean you can’t change yourself as an individual. If you believe or want to believe in this ideology that a person’s character shouldn’t be based on their social class, gender, religion, race, and disabilities then put it into practice. If we START LISTENING to other people’s viewpoints and perspectives without this blaming, arguing and illogical nonsense, then CHANGE WILL HAPPEN. It may not happen right now, but it will in the future if we adopt a mindset that’s NOT marginalizing. This could only happen if you have a positive and open-minded perspective and spread it to others. By doing so, we can start resolving some important issues that influence our daily lives.

-Lyn

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23 comments

  1. i agree that discourse is important. it’s why i love to argue. sorry to hear you were accused of being a terrorist, though. i have strong opinions about religious beliefs, but that’s a level of idiocy i hope i never achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Discourse is important when done wisely. And being accused as a “terrorist” is something no one should experience, but we live in a society that tends to do it on a regular basis. Religious beliefs are something I don’t want to discuss either lol

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear that you were subjected to such idiocy Lyn. The man sounds like a rwnj (right winged nut job), it’s interesting that ignorant people like him will say “Islam isn’t a race” but yet proceed to religious stereotype them with brown skinned people. Idiocy and ignorance like that should be ignored.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post. Way more structured than mine haha. I’m sorry to hear that. My home university is subjected to those kinds of things all the time as well. One of the many perks of being a public campus I guess. Things can change but I believe that some people have the wrong mindset and won’t listen to other side of the spectrum. Both leftists and conservatives have things to bring to the table. We need to listen to both sides and come to a consensus. Although, Republicans own everything now so I don’t know how much the left will have a say in anything now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry to hear you had to go through that. It’s disheartening that people are going through such scary situations even more frequently because of the election. Your post was wonderfully written, however, and I think people will feel more reassured if they give it a read. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry to hear about that Lyn. I wish I can hug you in person but I can’t. It’s sad to see people like to exist and point fingers towards others just because of stereotypes. It’s true what you said, we all have a voice and we shouldn’t be keep quite. I haven’t had an experience like yours but I have seen something similar about feminism when I was school. We all have a voice but it takes courage to speak up and wisdom to act like human beings.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, I am truly sorry to read a story like this. I can understand that you feel scared when something like this happens. I have never understood why people make a difference when someone, thinks, looks or feels in another way than you yourself. I have deep respect for anyone, and I could not care less if someone has another belief than me. In fact I’m glad that everyone is different, the world would otherwise become a very boring place.
    Your post shows the sometimes crazy world we live in, and although I am very sad that this has happened to you, I did think that the way that you wrote this it hopefully get’s people thinking. Thank you for sharing this, and I do hope that you are okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m okay. This happened a few years ago, but I think it’s relevant to tell this story right now more than ever.

      And thanks for reading, every person that reads this post means that they will start thinking and spreading a positive perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Being white myself, I’ll never truly understand how terrible it must feel to be subjected to the ignorance of people like the man you mentioned in this post. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognise its stupidity though.

    This is 2016. This is a post-racial society, and whenever I see behaviour like this, I shake my head in disbelief and silently judge their idiocy.

    I will never understand how people can continue to be racist in today’s society. We are all equal and we are all the same. It doesn’t matter what race you are or what religion you choose to believe in.

    I’m not even from America, but I’d be lying if I said Donald Trump doesn’t terrify me. I’m afraid of the atrocities he’s capable of doing to people outside of his racial group, and the fact that so many people living in the States support such a fool is even more terrifying than the man himself.

    My thoughts are with you all. Stay strong, be brave and keep your head held high. You’re better than these ignorant people.

    Never forget that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I fear also what will happen to our international relations too. 😦

      It’s tough living in this world and to be honest there should be only one race. The human race.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know that fear at least. My country was stupid enough to vote for Brexit and our international relations with the EU have gone down the drain as a result. We’re a laughing stock all because of prejudices and racism, which was the motivation behind so many Brexit voters.

        I agree. We are all the same, one human race, and we should be standing together to make a difference, not dividing ourselves and taking steps backwards.

        Hang in there.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so sorry you — and, unfortunately, so many people — have had experiences like this. While I am Hispanic, I don’t know any Spanish and look (usually since I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun) “white”. But all of this makes me wonder if I had been born with slightly different genes, had a father who could speak his mother’s native tongue, how different a lot of my experiences would have been.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I have a friend who is Mexican, but she gets mistaken for white or Russian because of her skin complexion. It’s interesting to think about how skin color can influence people’s views of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Amen, Lyn-sama! I love this post. I’m so sorry that you had to experience that horrible encounter with a narrow-minded racist man. I hope that you don’t experience it again. Indeed, using our voices is very important. The power of the word isn’t something to be taken for granted. But beyond using our voices, I think we should also all learn how to really “listen”, just like what you’re inviting us to do here. Words are useless if nobody listens. Words can only be really powerful if people listen to it. Even if they don’t agree with what they’re hearing, as long as they’re listening, the message will get embedded in their minds and that’s how a seed is planted. Whether it sprouts or not depends on what the person decides to do with it. Anyway, great post as always. Take care always and I hope that you feel better after that horrible encounter. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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