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Be Proud of Who You Are
by Jamal Cadoura
April 15th, 2016 (No comments)
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In today's society, all minorities are scrutinized. Walk into a room, and you'll see a TV displaying a news anchorman disparaging Muslims as terrorists. Turn on a news radio station, and Donald Trump's speech about building a wall to keep immigrants like Mexicans out of our country will be blaring.

We live in a world where diversity is becoming a terror. People distrust what they're unfamiliar with. Fear is the first reaction. Rather than learning and embracing another's culture, they shun it and follow what they're told.

And the news makes it worse. Rather than being dedicated to peace and prosperity, the media chases dollars like a dog does its tail. This isn't anything new, and it's not bound to change anytime soon.

But that's OK. The world's injustices can't change overnight, but we can change ourselves. And it starts with pride. The pride in who we are. Pride in the way we were raised. Pride in how we live our lives.

As a Palestinian American, I listen to fabrications about how Palestinians "never existed," and how we're a "invented" group of people. Lies like these are geared towards belittling our pride to the point where all of our determination is crushed. The worst part isn't that people spread this nonsense. It's that people actually believe it. Some even allow it to blind them from the atrocities inflicted upon Palestinians daily.

Of course, we're not the only group to endure this. Blacks have to witness the news mostly reporting their crimes, rather than focusing on the good and remembering positive contributions by profound leaders like Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And Mexicans? Well, the media won't tell you that they come to our country to work hard and provide for their families due to a terrible economy. But they will tell you how they're supposedly taking your jobs.

It's pretty sad how most are oblivious to the fact that we spend more on wars than on creating jobs and opportunities. But that's besides the point. We can't blame the world for it's cruelties. We have to channel our energy into something different. Something positive. Something that starts with embracing who we are and what we have to offer.

For starters, I'm proud to be Palestinian. I love the way my culture influences me to treat others with respect and love. During a Debka (a traditional middle eastern dance), I stomp my foot into the ground with all of the Palestinian pride I can. Because I think it's beautiful. Diversity in itself is beautiful. No matter how many falsified videos and articles I see disparaging my heritage, my pride remains strong.

And yours should, too. If you're black, don't let the media destroy your sense of belonging. Don't let it cloud your thoughts of heroic people like Mandela and Dr. King. Don't be afraid to go out into the world and be just as great as they were. If you're Mexican, you're not an illegal immigrant. At one point, we were all immigrants to this country. It doesn't diminish the great culture you have. You're more than what they say you are.

And so are all of you, no matter what background you claim. You're special, and your purpose has something to offer this world. Losing sight of who you are happens. But you shouldn't permanently forget your pride. All the greatness America has is founded upon immigrants' sweat and efforts. Each one of us are contributors. The world tries to expunge our heritage from within us, but blood never disappears.

And if we hold our beliefs firm, our legacies won't either.

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* Jamal Cadoura is a Palestinian American residing in Dearborn, Michigan. Improving humanity is what he lives for. In his spare time, he reads and writes as much as he can. Jamal formerly ran a nonprofit organization, Pens For Peace, and is an author of two novels.

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