Anything But That

Late last night I was watching Netflix or catching up on Post Secret or something or nothing…I forget. It doesn’t matter. A lot of people are talking about what happened in the city near where I lived for five years in the middle of Minnesota.
Stabbing in St. Cloud

The off-duty officer featured in this news story is from the neighboring town where my mom has had her business for the past 21 years, its population is 1,000 on a good day if you include dogs on that count. I dreaded reading the news as it was unfolding. I was saying to myself, “Please don’t let the attacker be a Muslim Somalian, please let it be some dumb redneck asshole.” After moving back to Minnesota I had heard some dumb redneck assholes complaining about how the Somalians were making trouble in St. Cloud. I had even unfriended some former classmates on Facebook because that person was posting faux “articles” about how gangs of Somalian teenage boys/men were running around and attacking women and beating up men and planning on blowing up “good, hardworking farmers” in the area, but that the newspapers weren’t telling anyone – all very inflammatory and untrue.

I hate that the young man who carried out this violent act was a Muslim and a Somalian and his family relocated to Minnesota as part of a refugee program, because it’s exactly what every paranoid and prejudiced person in the area needed to see in order to get worked up into a frenzy. My heart sank as the details became public knowledge. Already I’m seeing these posts saying “Fuck Muslims, they all want to kill us, so we have to kill them first” and “That’s why we all need to carry guns” and “They need to go back home” and “See???? They’re no good!” One person suddenly represents a billion – at least, that’s true according to one former classmate who first said she had never seen any violence from any other religion, then said she never saw violence like that from any present-day religion, then said she didn’t see it from any present-day religion in the United States, then said she didn’t see it in any present-day religion in Minnesota after I kept challenging her with examples every time she changed her answer. Finally she deleted the post altogether; I imagine I’ll be booted from her friend list soon since this is not the first time I’ve called her out on her prejudices.

One of my high school classmates is now a school administrator in that city; she posted on Facebook that she is concerned for her students, because of course she has Somalian children in her school. Her concern is two-fold. First, the children will feel pressure from the other children, because the other children will be influenced by their parents. But then the Somalian children will also have prejudice directed at them specifically by adults who are completely shameless.

My thoughts on this situation: It has to be incredibly difficult to move halfway across the world to a small, isolated city where work is sparse, and you are pretty much universally hated. There isn’t much for a young man to do and if he is approached to join something that gives him purpose and he is promised eternal glory, well, that sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? He’s an easy target for recruiting. It’s complicated. I’m not surprised, but I’m incredibly disappointed and worried that this event will send that region into pre-civil rights era discrimination.

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6 thoughts on “Anything But That

  1. you summed it up very well in your last paragraph.
    I wish I had the knowledge and the quick thinking to be able to intelligently argue with people who make stupid remarks.
    my brain is mush. I think of things later but at the time I feel so dumbfounded. I want to let these people on Facebook know how stupid they are but I can’t intelligently voice my opinions with facts. I’m in aw of you for that reason. Maybe I should let you pretend to be me on my Facebook page for a while and argue with some of my “friends”. I really worry about some of the things I hear.
    Some people I used to respect are now saying things that scare me. How do we stop this craziness?
    I have to stand up for what I believe in. I just want to do it in a more intelligent way instead of telling people it’s wrong…period.
    but frankly, it’s wrong. period.

    (every time I hear about a crime now my first thoughts are, please don’t let it be a Muslim or a white on black crime. The prejudice in this country now is stifling).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Personally I think it’s better to take your time to make a thoughtful opinion on any given topic rather than flying off the handle, so don’t be so hard on yourself. Maybe what you think of later is what is most important – and I have complete faith in you that you will always choose the higher path because you have a big heart. You can always practice your point-making skills and speed here first if you’d like. πŸ™‚ But at the risk of alienating a few acquaintances, I feel it’s important to speak up rather than be complacent in their discriminatory behavior. I don’t ever want to go backwards.

      Like

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