It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was waiting for the elevator to get to my class when I saw a Muslim woman prostrating on a mat by the wall. She was performing the Islamic act of worship known as “Salat”, which was the formal act of praying during five specified times in a day.
I didn’t mind this action at all; in fact, I found it rather powerful. I’m not exactly the most dutiful religious model out there, so the action of prostration itself was an eye-opener. As she continued to do it, you could notice that her full, unrequited attention was towards her prayer, even if the building was filled with noisy students. This focus and determination is what lured me into watching her.
However, after a few moments of fascination, my attention was shifted to the few muscular, frat boys laughing and taking a video or picture of the woman prostrating. I heard whispers and murmurs, and even caught one of them say to the other, “What is she doing here? It’s a public place, go to a mosque or some sh*t. It’s disturbing.”
From the moment they started laughing and snickering, I already knew that these people are the kind that do not appreciate Muslims. After that snide comment, I wanted to punch him in the face, but it would be him and his friends against me, and who wants to get written up by security? So, instead of standing up for her, I cowardly went inside the elevator and into my class. To this day, I still regret not standing up for her, even though she did not hear them.
This is not the first prejudicial event that I encountered in college. In fact, it is the second time. I know that may not be a lot, but in a place where you expect acceptance of diversity and a place filled with scholars, you would think this may not occur. However,
it still does.
According to The Morning Call, students tend to be more racially active on social media sites, where they can make racial slurs anonymously. And CBS stated that according to the Department of Education in America, racial complaints on college campuses have increased tremendously from 555 in 2009, to 939 in the 2 last years. It was also polled that 48% of White students admitted to have at least one friend of another race, meanwhile 74% of Blacks, 92% of Latinos, and 84% of Asians do.
This statistic changes my viewpoint about my fellow college peers. I mean, we are old enough to understand diversity and to accept others. We have learned about the unjust events that have happened and are still happening to other people, and we get angry with these injustices. So why the hell is there still prejudice in colleges? It’s the place where we learn these things, and it’s still occurring? Maybe the course loads we accept aren’t complicated enough or people are just too close-minded. If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t be in college. Whatever the case may be, it needs to stop.
Featured image via Kristen Curette.