On October 8th, 2016, Dr. Zeeshan ul-hassan Usmani published a photo on Facebook of his son who is a first grader with the following caption:
“Welcome to the United States of America of Donald Trump. Meet my son Abdul Aziz. He is in grade 1, bullied and beaten by his own classmates in school bus for being a Muslim :/”
Usmani and his wife described the beating as being initiated by five students on the school bus.
Unmani said, “There are six and seven year old kids calling him names, with one kid punching him in the face, while two other kids attacked him, kicked him, and held his arms back.”
The beating happened in Cary, North Carolina, which is only about thirty minutes from where the Chapel Hill Shooting occurred in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Having your six year old son beaten on the school bus by other six year olds with racial and Islamophobic slurs thrown at them is not any parent’s ideal life.
Usmani says that this isn’t the first time that his family is targeted because of their Pakistani heritage or religion. Usmani blames this particular incident and previous incidents on the current rhetoric occurring in the Presidential election, as he implied in his Facebook post.
The rhetoric that Donald Trump is known for has created an anti-Muslim environment that clearly not even children are free from.
This is a perfect conversation to discuss how no one is born to be racist or discriminatory; racism and discrimination are taught.
Parents have a huge influence on how a child grows to view the world, and other people, particularly those different from them.
We live in the 21st century and we all need to learn to accept difference. We’re not going backwards, we’re only going forwards and our world becomes more pluralistic. No one comes into this world having a negative perspective towards a particular group of people; most of the beliefs and values we hold today are because of our parents. We hear our parents say specific things, act certain ways, etc. and this affects us as children and well into our adulthood because we carry these beliefs and values throughout the entirety of our lives.
The world we live in is so remarkably diverse and it isn’t a bad thing, but when we aren’t teaching our children the right way to approach diversity, it ends badly. As cliché as it sounds, children are our future; by teaching children the right way to approach diversity, we move from tolerance to acceptance and we begin seeing change in our world.
Teach your kids, your younger siblings, your nieces and nephews. Teach them to be accepting.