What the McKinney incident reminded me of

Today as I was talking to my sister about the incident at a pool party in McKinney Texas something dawned on. Numerous reports have stated an altercation between “adults” and teens took place after the so called adults were hurling racial slurs. As we talked I recalled similar incidents taking place when I was no more than 10 years old. My family had travelled to Ft. Pierce in Florida to a Masjid that was hosting an event. Some of the children walked to a nearby playground and we asked our parents if we could also go. Our parents agreed on the condition that adult accompanied us. 

While we played at the park a group of Caucasian adults and a few kids began taunting us. They called us “niggers” and made jokes about how the adult who accompanied us was dressed. I remember being so angry and at the same time a little scared. I wondered what this would have escalated to had our guardian not been so carefree. I remember her telling us to ignore them. She seemed so “un bothered” by their remarks. I recall her white hijab flowing in the wind as she swung on the playground swings. She was a little older than my mother and I was always certain she had dealt with a great amount of racism in her lifetime but did not allow the negativity to affect her life. I learned a couple of things that day. 1. Racist bigots exist and 2. They do not run my life. I will not allow people to ruin my day because they have chosen to be ignorant and hateful. 

This particular incident was not the first time I’d played at a playground and was called “nigger” and it definitely was not the last. In between incidents I questioned myself if I had responded in the correct way. I wondered if being silent was the right thing to do. 

Each time I would become a little more disgusted and upset because as a child all I wanted to do was play. I began to expect these verbal altercations. In a separate incident I recall becoming so upset as a little Caucasian boy called me a “nigger”. As he attempted to run I kicked him so hard in his behind he fell on his face. He got up and continued running. Until this day I remember feeling like I’d gotten back all of the kids and adults who had ever called me “nigger”. 

I mention these incidents only to give a little background as to what these teens in Mckinney may have been feeling. As stated before, there are reports that there was a fight between the African American guests and the Caucasian neighbors that started because of the racial slurs and verbal attacks. I wondered how many times they’d heard racists remarks. Immediately after hearing more details I began to think of my encounters with racists individuals as a child. Racists people have no boundaries. They don’t seem to care if they are bullying a child or disrespecting their elders who are of a different race. All they see is skin color yet they are usually the first ones saying “I don’t see color”.  

 

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