We go by many names, whether those names are wanted by us or not. My name is Ahmed Akl,but I have also gone by the names: Damien, Melo, Akal 34, the tall scary dude who looks and sounds like he’s twenty. People have also assigned my the name sand n****r, terrorist, dumb jock and stupid Egyptian. I have been named “go back to your country”, “you know how to speak English?!”, and “Islam hates us and we hate you!” Ignorance has been a disease that has riddled this earth since its existence. Ignorance can be harmless, and it can be bliss, but when ignorance is allowed to take the wheel and is allowed to judge, speak and act among us, it always goes to s**t. Imagine a little boy, moving to a new country, removed from all his friends and family, scared and hopeful of what lays ahead of him.
Now, on the first encounters that little boy has with his peers, they do not ask for his name. They do not ask for his story, they do not ask for his beliefs. Instead, they assign him names such as ” jihadi” and “watch out, he has a bomb!” The little boy gets eaten up with hate and resentment, not wanting to stay in that country, hating everything they stand for! The others let ignorance take the wheel, thinking through stereotypes and misinformation. Leading to the little boy hating who he is, and hating what he was born into. Martin Luther King died over fifty years ago fighting for equality, fighting for people to not perceive others through the color of their skin or their beliefs, but rather through who they really are.
That was over fifty years ago, yet we still face the same issues in our society today. Every society and culture has evil in it, we are all human and individuals, carrying different viewpoints, thoughts, and achievements. But just because a few idiots want to go around being a**holes, does NOT mean people have the right to generalize. Just because the KKK claim to be of Christian faith, does NOT mean all Christians hate black people. Just because ISIS are terrorists, does NOT mean that your neighbor Mohamed who goes to raves on the weekend is going to bomb your house while you’re at work. When we go on the news, we fail to individualize each story we hear.
For example, on February tenth, two thousand and fifteen, Craig Hicks shot and killed twenty-three-year-old Deah Barakat, his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her nineteen-year-old sister, Razan Abu-Talha. He did this execution style, right with a bullet to their heads. The local police chief claims that this is merely over “dispute over parking” . However, I beg to differ. These three people were all Muslims. He shot them because he had already given them a name, and that name was “threat”. Deah and Yusor were newlyweds. Deah was a second-year University of North Carolina student, Yusor was on her way to becoming a dentist, and Razan was majoring in environmental design.
Hicks had ended three young, intelligent and prosperous lives all because of one stupid misconception. How many more hate crimes like this will it take for us to see each other as one? How many more young, potential-filled youth need to be taken away from this world because of the book that they choose to follow, or the scarf that she decides to wear on her head, or the turban that he decides to honor his religion with, OR THE MELANIN IN THEIR SKIN THAT SHOWS BLACK OR WHITE?!