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I am a multimedia designer and aspiring writer from Central Illinois who dreams of bigger things. You are entering the hub of my online world. Welcome. Make yourself at home, read some stuff, click a few things, maybe check out my online portfolio. And of course, if you enjoy your stay, please subscribe.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Don't hate on me... Middle-Eastern is the new Black

Okay, don't blame me. I'm just stating a fact. Since 9/11, we have been inundated in this country with the idea that people of Middle-Eastern descent are to be considered suspicious. Every day we hear something about "terrorism." Today I realized that all this prejudicial exposure has made an impact on me.

I claim to not be racist, but to judge people rather based on their deeds and attitudes. YES, I JUDGE PEOPLE! YES, I ADMIT TO IT! But I believe that I do so fairly, not based on their skin color, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, etc. However, as a white guy who led a pretty sheltered life, growing up in a small Midwestern town with very little ethnic diversity, I used to get nervous around blacks. Not around one or two, but if the black-to-white ratio in the room or area was too great, I'd be one nervous guy.

It wasn't my fault. It was the intolerant culture in which I was raised. Now I have grown up, forged relationships, had experiences outside my redneck hometown. I don't judge based on skin color alone. I can stop in East St. Louis and ask someone for directions without (too much) fear. I see that people are people. At least I thought so until today.

I ride public transportation. Just doing my part to conserve, both for the environment and for my wallet. So I'm on the city bus this morning and there are probably eight people on the bus at the time. It's about 6:00 am. At one stop, a Middle-Eastern man gets on. He has the lower half of his face covered with a wraparound scarf. He has a hood pulled over his head.

For a split second after I first see him, I get a flash image of one of those infamous beheading videos. I feel uncomfortable for a good minute, even though I know there's no logical reason to. First of all, I'm on a freaking BUS in Peoria, not an international flight to Afghanistan. Second, it's not even a CROWDED bus. If someone were going to hijack or blow up a bus, it wouldn't be one with nine passengers. Third, it's FREAKING COLD! Of course he has his face covered up! He's been waiting outside in the 30-degree darkness waiting for a bus! I know I'm an idiot for being uncomfortable, but I can't help it. I've been conditioned to by my newsmedia and my government, especially over the last six years.

Black men, rejoice! You are no longer public enemy number one. As long as there are tan-skinned people blowing shit up & killing innocent people, you should be pretty safe from public scrutiny. Even if you're a gangbanging punk who plugs a rival gang member every now & then, at least you love your momma and you're not a terrorist.