Most of the time when people talk about discrimination at school it usually involves students harassing another student, which I too have faced, but these incidents don’t just happen to students. When I was asked to tell a story about being pointed out for my religion, Islam, the first thing that came to me was what a teacher on our own campus had done.
Earlier this year one of my teachers agreed with our class that we could bring posters if they were appropriate. I decided to bring in a Malcolm X poster with the quote, “We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”
I hung up the poster with her agreement and everything was fine. The next day I came into class and found the poster was gone. I went to my teacher and asked for the poster back. Instead she wanted me to sit down and said she was going to make an announcement to the class.
So class began and she told us that she had been thinking all night about the poster and the quote. She told us that that quote represents terrorism. That terrorists who kill, rape and shoot everyday stand by that quote and will do anything to see that come to existence.
I was in shock. I was angry. I was even hurt. I couldn’t believe the lack of judgment, poor choice of words and frankly the ignorance.
How could one of our own DHS teachers believe in this? It was not necessary for her to call me out in front of the whole class, and single me out. She was telling us that the poster I brought in represents terrorism.
I am not calling that teacher a bigot or anything, but what I’m saying is that we must watch what we say. We stand by our words. Our words express ourselves and show what we believe and think. So if you go up to an Arab and call him a terrorist, or a black man and call him the N-word, you’re expressing your beliefs even if it’s a joke.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting