I went to the mall, and a little girl called me a terrorist.
My name is Ela. I am seventeen years old. I am not Muslim, but my friend told me about her friend being discriminated against for wearing a hijab. So I decided to see the discrimination firsthand to get a better understanding of what Muslim women go through.
My friend and I pinned scarves around our heads, and then we went to the mall. Normally, vendors try to get us to buy things and ask us to sample a snack. Clerks usually ask us if we need help, tell us about sales, and smile at us. Not today. People, including vendors, clerks, and other shoppers, wouldn’t look at us. They didn’t talk to us. They acted like we didn’t exist. They didn’t want to be caught staring at us, so they didn’t look at all.
And then, in one store, a girl (who looked about four years old) asked her mom if my friend and I were terrorists. She wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. I don’t even think she could have grasped the idea of prejudice. However, her mother’s response is one I can never forgive or forget. The mother hushed her child, glared at me, and then took her daughter by the hand and led her out of the store.
All that because I put a scarf on my head. Just like that, a mother taught her little girl that being Muslim was evil. It didn’t matter that I was a nice person. All that mattered was that I looked different. That little girl may grow up and teach her children the same thing.
This experiment gave me a huge wakeup call. It lasted for only a few hours, so I can’t even begin to imagine how much prejudice Muslim girls go through every day. It reminded me of something that many people know but rarely remember: the women in hijabs are people, just like all those women out there who aren’t Muslim.
People of Tumblr, please help me spread this message. Treat Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, Taoists, etc., exactly the way you want to be treated, regardless of what they’re wearing or not wearing, no exceptions. Reblog this. Tell your friends. I don’t know that the world will ever totally wipe out prejudice, but we can try, one blog at a time.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE BOYCOTTING REALITY TV TATTOOINGFrom the first days of Miami Ink, tattooing got a huge boost from mainstream media. But while that may have benefited some, the continued onslaught of tattooing reality shows is doing increased damage to the industry. Here’s how:
- It’s absolutely fake. This one should be pretty obvious. Everyone seems to understand Jersey Shore and the OC are full of shit—but somehow Miami Ink had street cred? All the faux-reality “drama” in their shop is for ratings and has nothing to do with how a real shop operates.
- It has little to do with real talent. I’ve already posted about the quality of Kat Von D’s work here, but it’s pretty bad. How are kids supposed to know anything about tattooing when all they see is shitty line work from a hot girl in California? It lowers the standards for everyone and cheapens the craft.
- It’s not about the tattoos. Have you noticed how, outside of a few sob stories, there’s very little actual tattooing in most of these shows? Mostly it’s interpersonal drama set up so Viacom and Discovery can profit off of their new little celebrities.
- It can be dangerous. Until the fury of every tattoo artist in the country was directed at them, TLC nearly aired a show called “tattoo school” about training tattoo artists en mass and leaving them to “graduate” as tattoo artists after only a few weeks. They were taught almost nothing and allowed to give people free, shitty tattoos on national TV. Um… what!?
- It takes power away from the industry and into the hands of TV execs. Unless you want tattooing to become as elite and bullshit as the gallery art system, we need to continue developing our own means to share and promote good artists. Remember a year ago when David Hale first appeared on FuckYeahTattoos? A few months later he had booked out for over a year. Artists win awards at conventions to prove their worth—not by winning contracts. It should be by our own means that good artists are developed and recognized—not because the Oxygen Network has a contest. (Yeah, even Oxygen is getting in on this. I bet Disney is next.)