how bad can it be?
We do know that there's a gap between perceived discrimination and actual discrimination for all of us. We may perceive that we're the recipient of discrimination, even if those around us don't see it or get it. (In the next two posts we look at Jews and Christians and their version of Minority Life).
so how much of discrimination is perception,
how much reality?
It's like hearing a recording of your own voice for the first time and finding it unfamiliar. Or, seeing a photo and thinking to yourself, "do I really look like that?" Even though we hear our own voice and see ourselves in a mirror, our perceptions of our self are edited by our memories and emotions. Thin people who gain weight may still see themselves as thin (and vise-versa).
The stronger the memory, the more strongly coded that memory will be in the brain. The brain's hippocampus files significant emotional events, and if the amygdala senses that a new event may be a match - BOOM!
The amygdala springs into action in milliseconds, before the thoughtful (slower) parts of our brain even kick in. If you were beaten within an inch of your life by someone in a red sweatshirt, the next time you see a red sweatshirt your brain would be engaged for battle whether or not it was warranted. The amygdala can create self-perceptions and other-perceptions that don't always align with reality.
at least one form of religion-based bullying in the past year. Half had been verbally harassed about their religion at school, while 1 in 3 girls wearing the hijab (Islamic headscarf) told CAIR that they had been exposed to "offensive touching" or had their hijab pulled by a classmate; half of those who asked for help felt their school was unresponsive.
When Sarah Ali found her picture posted by a fellow student on the internet, in hijab, with the subtitle "ISIS" implying she was a terrorist, she sought help from leaders in her Woodbridge Township School District. When they declined to take action, Sarah took her story to social media, where it's gone viral.
"Are you part of 9/11 or are you ISIS?"
"Did you ever kill anyone?" "Are you going to bomb this place?" 12-year-old Abdu Rrahman Mohamed says these questions are the norm in his school (VoiceWaves.org).
In Florida, a high school teacher allegedly called a Muslim teen a "rag-head Taliban." The student's father, Youssef Wardani, an engineer from Lebanon, said his son who was an honor roll student, now hates going to school.
Research shows that students who are bullied do worse academically, and are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Amygdala-hijack is experienced by those who bully and have (through news more often than personal experience) logged it in their brains that Arabs and/or Muslims are dangerous.
Amygdala-hijack is also experienced by those who are bullied and who may come to see the world as a dangerous place and thus react in unwarranted ways.
Our behaviors toward those around either serve to confirm or disprove their unwarranted fears. Almost every Muslim in America has a story to tell of harassing rhetoric and subtle discrimination. Many first generation or immigrant families who are trying to make their way in this nation, in this world, do so amidst an amygdala-hijacked society that presumes they are one with those who steal the headlines.
many americans are really worried about muslims
and the teachings of islam
Checkout Bea Haruna's blog on being Muslim in America; Bea is the source of the stunning photo at the top of this article.
I have an editorial comment or found a mistake.