Tag Archives: Ethnic-Bias

The Evolution of my Confidence:

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Author’s-Note:
I’ve arrived at a beautiful realization, today, based upon a much-needed epiphany, decided by Divine-Providence, from Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe.

For every person who has ever told me that I wasn’t good enough for them, there have been thousands who would tell me they want me by their side…

…for every person who has ever said that I’m “too-dark”, there have been thousands who have said your skin is beautiful…

…for every negative comment about my beard, there have been thousands of positive comments about it…

…for every person who has mocked where I come from, there are thousands who wish to hear about how I became the person that I am, despite the challenges of my life-experiences…

…for every person who has discriminated against me for being a Black-Man in America, there are thousands of their children who want to walk, talk, dress, act, be just like me…

…for all of those haters out there who have slandered me, Allah, my Lord has shielded me against their lies, and protected me from their hands being the cause of my demise.

So, for all of you who can’t appreciate me, you’re the minority, and those who do appreciate me, greatly out number you.

Gareth Bryant/2014

A Story of Islamophobia: Bias, Fear, and Injustice

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Author’s note:
This is the story of someone whom I know personally, whom was a victim of malicious, immoral, unethical, and illegal, Islamophobia, just because they were Muslim, had an Arabic name, came from, ancestrally, from a part of the Muslim-World, and, because they were neither a U.S.-citizen, nor a citizen of their respective native-land.

This is what was told to me:

“I was traveling to visit one of my relatives; I really don’t like to take for granted the freedom and the respect I have been enjoying since I came to America. But this weekend, I have felt very humiliated and mistreated by authorities in both the nation in which I was in, as well as the US. When I arrived in the country my relative lives, the authorities denied entry in the country: they said that I did not have a passport. I’ve used American travel-documents, which is issued for refugees without citizenship, on more than one occasion, and had no previous issues, traveling to places outside of the U.S., prior to this incident; likewise, I had went to this particular country, last year, using these same travel-documents, without any problems.

They took seized my travel-documents, and also my green-card, after they denied me entry. I told them that if they are not going to allow me in, then at least just allow me to return to the U.S.. But, these guys weren’t trying to listen to me, at all-they really started treating me like I was nothing but piece of garbage, which disturbed me greatly. They thought I had no government that defends my rights, which is true-I do not have citizenship to any country yet. I am holding neither US passport nor any other national-passport. The authorities had told me that, if I had at least had a passport along with my U.S. travel-documents, then I could’ve been allowed to stay.

So, here I am, on a plane going directly back to where I had came from, heading back to America. However, there’s a lot more this-it does not just end, here. When I had boarded my flight back to the U.S.,  my green-card and travel-documents weren’t even returned to me, they were given, instead, to the airline & I was told that I’ll get everything back once I land in the U.S., and this is where frustration & anger started to really kick-in: I had told them that they had no right to keep my documents & property away from me and that I’m leaving this country. They said no, you can’t have it back. I felt so humiliated and realized how weak and unfortunate I am.

When I arrived back into the U.S., the airline gave me back my documents. When I checked in, a U.S. Customs & Border Protection officer took my fingerprints, and then, forwarded me to another officer who then further inspected me. He started to ask me why I went to the country I had just came from, where did I get travel-money from…he started an argument, with me, about my recent trip. He said, ‘You were re-admitted last January and now, again, you are traveling?’…’Who helps you?’. I told him I that I have jobs to support myself. He then asked how much I am paid an hour…he then took away my wallet and checked everything it, asking me about how I got my credit cards. He asked me to open my suitcase and to take everything I had out of it. He then took away my backpack and opened my iPad, a binder, and some letters in it, this was a blatant invasion of my privacy. When I asked why is this even necessary, he told me I am not a US citizen, so I am subjected inspection.

After that, then in the checking area, two guys took me away to a room, after I was fully checked with an x-ray machine. They did a full pat-down on me, touching every part of my body. Then, another guy took my backpacks and coat for further inspection, itt was so stressful. I just wish that I did not have to undergo all of these troubles simply that I have a name which starts ‘Abu’ or that I am an immigrant, or tourist from a country that’s viewed negatively, by the U.S., and her allies. This year, I had about 4 trips on my schedule, but I am going to call off all of them. I just don’t want to undergo what I have went through this weekend.”

Anonymous

So, upon learning of this, I had immediately, told the person who told me their story, to inform CAIR/Council on American Islamic Relations, and I specifically gave them the contact-info. of the CAIR-NY Director, Muneer Awad. Sadly, this person was just too afraid to come forward & share their story. I even assured this person that the details of their story would be honored as anonymous, that they wouldn’t be required to give their name, rather, just their statement. But, alas, they even refused that, because they were so shaken-up & fearful that if they were to say anything that they wouldn’t be able to stay/live here (in the U.S.), any longer, that they’d lose their financial-aid status & may even get kicked-out of school, get deported to their respective land of origin (even though they either never grew-up there, never been there & were only born there), detained, tortured, killed, etc.

All of this is so deeply disturbing, how our government, as well as governments like ours deems it okay to intimidate persons, just because they’re Muslims, immigrants, residents/illegals, as opposed to full-fledged citizens, etc. But, at the end of the day, these are still the lives of Human beings, and as such we all, regardless of subjective national, state, or local, religious or secular, laws, are entitled to basic Human-Rights of the following: life, dignity, property. And, unfortunately, at least two out of these three were severely violated, to the extent that this person was made to feel as though their status as a Human being had absolutely no value.

This is not how things are supposed to be: I should never have to walk the streets in fear (of being detained, deported, arrested, beaten-up/having to beat someone up, being killed/having to kill someone, etc.), just because I’m a Muslim, or an undocumented-immigrant, a resident, a Non-English speaker, Non-European/White person. This story really affected my heart, mainly because I know how it feels to be harassed by authorities; but, also because at least with me (someone who was born here/a U.S.-citizen), I know certain important elements of the law, which can protect me from most things, pretty much; but, with people like this person, by virtue of the fact that they are not at least citizens, they’re made to be “easy-pickin’s”, or “fair-game”, of predatorial Islamophobes & Xenophobes, whether they’re as micro as a Dunkin’ Donuts employee/Manager, refusing to serve you, or as macro as the President of the United States of America, who orders/co-signs drone-strikes, or religious/ethnic round-ups against its own citizenry.

Gareth Bryant/2013

Start looking past the Surface:

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Don’t assume that I’m a Rapper, just because I wear Jeans & a T-Shirt.
Don’t just look at the length of my beard and just think I’m out of work.

Please…do not assume that, because the country I am from sounds exotic, I can fly a magic-carpet.
Why do you judge people you do not know? Let me explain to you why I wear my native garment.

Even though I grew up in an urban environment, I’m not a drug-dealer.
You would never know that I could be your child’s mentor or teacher.

Even though I’ve got some tattoos, I don’t have to be a gang-member.
We all have skeletons in our closets; so, be kind to me, be a lil’ tender.

Me speaking a different language does not mean that I had hopped over a border.
We don’t all just work at fast-food joints & restaurants, ready to take your order.

Just because I don’t work on Wall Street doesn’t mean that I am on Welfare.
Just because my mother raised me does not mean that my father did not care.

Don’t presume that because I’ve got slanted-eyes that I can cook fried-rice.
Don’t just think that, because I grew up in the hood, I’m not able to be nice.

Think not that just because I’m from a different place that I’m into building-bombing.
Think not that, because my skin-color isn’t like yours, I’m into shooting and robbing.

We all must take the time to look beyond the physical, the superficial.
We need to realize that our variations are what make all of us special.

It is only the internal, and not the external, that defines the quality of any Human being.
When you look skin-deep, we are the same, created by Allah, the Lord of everything.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Myanmar (formerly known as Burma)

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Author’s note:
The following poem is about the recent string of violent religious & ethnic-cleansing episodes, in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), which have barely been reported, on any major news circuits, to the extent that it needs to be.

Myanmar has lost its way:

My homeland, once peaceful, has become a breeding-ground for religious fighting.
Yesterday, it was in Bosnia & today, it’s here-the battleground of ethnic-cleansing.
All around the world, people know of the plight of my country; yet, no one has intervened.
News reports are scarce, as to what’s really goin’ on, and, it’s more tragic than perceived.
Murder is the malice of the day; there’s so much bloodshed that it hurts.
Angry mobs, of people, from all sides, rioting, makes things a lot worse.
Rampant, countless, raping of women, this shameful act, is commonplace.

Hatred has fueled this conflict; for those suffering, this isn’t fair.
Apathy is what people have decided to use, to no longer care.
Sorrow, and despair, has overcast this land, like clouds of air.

Love, as well as respect, is just gone, it has no place here.
Oppression took over, while justice lives in a state of fear.
Systematic terror, used to keep people down has not been thwarted.
The need to deliver the people out of darkness isn’t so much desired.

It’s truly a shame, how a place with such beauty is leaving a legacy that’s so ugly.
The time to act is now, to rescue those tied-down, by tyranny, swiftly & urgently.
Sadness deepens in my heart, those who can change the world, do so only rarely.

Why is it so much easier to support wrong & so much more difficult to stand and do right?
Anyone can bully; but, it takes a special person to relieve the downtrodden, of their plight.
You & I must learn, from the tragedies of others-never must we use hate to enforce might.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Hate-Crimes!!!

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When are we as a people going to stop hurting & killing one another, for things that we’ve not done wrong?!!! When are we going to stop hurting one another, over things which we have no control over?!!! Why must a person be oppressed, just because of the color of their skin, the family they born into, what ethnic group they belong to, or the part of the world that they come from? Have we really become that savage & barbaric, that we have to treat one another like we’re predator & prey, in the animal-kingdom? Have we really devalued the preciousness of the Humanity of others, to this great extent, that they don’t even have the right to live, because of genetic features that Allah has chosen to create them with, without their consent?!!!

These are all questions that I’ve been thinking about, during the past two weeks, concerning the recent deaths, more accurately, the murders, of Trayvon Martin, of Orlando, Fl & Shaima Alawadi, of El Cajon, Ca. These people were the obvious victims of blatant xenophobic bias & discrimination. Yet, little to nothing is being substantially done about either case. I mean, take Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, for example: His killer hasn’t even been arrested, or even brought in for questioning yet-He’s allowed to walk around, as free as a bird, while he’s directly responsible for the death of a Human being, without any valid cause. And, in the case of Shaima Alawadi, there was a note left near her body, which stated “Go back home”, indicating that not only was she brutally murdered by someone that she knew personally, or was familiar with, but, this person had targeted her, exclusively because she was not an American citizen at birth.

We have truly sunk so low as a society: Human-life, like all life, is priceless; however, we’ve wrongly placed a price-tag on it, and whoever we deem as not as Humanly valuable as others are labelled as expendable. But, who in the hell gave us the right, or justification, to decide whose life is more or most valuable? We must, as a Human family, as a global society, as a people, really reevaluate what our core-values are. And, honestly, values without morals, are like flames without heat. And, morals without divine-direction are like a volcanoes which are dormant.

Sometimes, I wonder what type of world am I going to leave behind for any children that I may have. More accurately, I don’t even want to raise children, in a world, where they can be hunted down like they’re in-season, like they’re a duck or whale, just because they are Muslim, or Black, or from a major-city, from an urbanized neighborhood. It’s truly depressing that we have our following generations, whom will succeed us in this Mundane-Life, have to inherit this. This world, that we’re leaving behind to them, is full of our innumerable fuck-ups & errors. We’ve destroyed whole civilizations of people, national-infrastructures, indigenous ways of life, the air-quality, the environment generally, the natural habitats of wild-life, etc.

What we have evolved into, spiritually, mentally, and socially, are monsters, and this is not what Allah, our Creator, has placed us into existence for. He didn’t make us to inhabit the Earth to destroy it, and consequently destroy ourselves in the process. He didn’t make us to wage war upon one another, just because of skin color, ethnicity, social, or political status. He didn’t make us to be of those whom are strong to prey upon the weak, just as the wolf preys upon the lamb. It’s like all of us have turned into the real-life versions of Anakin Skywalker, in Episode 3, when he officially turned to the Darkside, and began to manifest his insatiable thirst for bloodshed & destruction. But, instead of the title being “Revenge of the Sith”, it’s “Revenge of Savagery”. When is our real-life Episode 6 going to come out? Instead of “Return of the Jedi”, we need our episode to be named “Return of Humanity”.